Elder Scrolls Online will have subscription fee

Bethesda confirms business model for upcoming fantasy MMO game; monthly subscription will cost $14.99/€12.99/£8.99.

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The Elder Scrolls Online will be a "premium" subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, carrying a monthly fee of $14.99/€12.99/£8.99 after the first free month.

Zenimax Online Studios president Matt Firor revealed the news in an interview with Gamestar. He said a business model where players pay once per month for access to the entire game is better suited for the MMO game than a free-to-play scheme.

"We feel that putting pay gates between the player and content at any point in game ruins that feeling of freedom, and just having one small monthly fee for 100 percent access to the game fits the IP and the game much better than a system where you have to pay for features and access as you play," Firor said.

"The Elder Scrolls Online was designed and developed to be a premium experience: hundreds of hours of gameplay, tons of depth and features, professional customer support--and a commitment to have ongoing content at regular intervals after launch," he added. "This type of experience is best paired with a one-time fee per month, as opposed to many smaller payments that would probably add up to more than $14.99/month anyway."

Firor pointed out that Bethesda's decision to go with subscriptions for The Elder Scrolls online is "not a referendum on online game revenue models" like free-to-play, which he said can be "valid."

"But subscription is the one that fits ESO the best, given our commitment to freedom of gameplay, quality and long-term content delivery," Firor said. "Plus, players will appreciate not having to worry about being 'monetized' in the middle of playing the game, which is definitely a problem that is cropping up more and more in online gaming these days."

"The fact that the word "monetized" exists points to the heart of the issue for us," Firor added. "We don't want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for--with our system, they get it all."

Bethesda recently said that The Elder Scrolls Online will see a "high frequency" of post-release support.

The Elder Scrolls Online is aiming for release on the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 in spring 2014, though official release dates have not been announced. For more on the MMO game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Discussion

1627 comments
ChunkyDrawers
ChunkyDrawers

The best mmos and best time to play an mmo is when it's p2p.

CBTDesigner
CBTDesigner

I doubt I will buy this game, since we'll have to pay a subscription fee.  As a mostly solitary player there won't be enough incentive to shell out the extra money...

lutarian
lutarian

Those that complain about a measly $14.99 monthly fee are not thinking logically. Sit back and think about how much money people spend each month on cigs, alcohol, going to the movies and going out to eat. They don't gripe about that, yet MUCH MORE money each month is spent on those items than $14.99 per month when it comes to most people.

lion9889
lion9889

There are alot of Adult players whom buy the Xbox One and Playstation 4. We can afford it, but what we dislike is a monthly continuous fees. So tired of them. I actually fear that if i enjoyed the game i would be stuck paying this fee.. Why... well one TIME, Family and Work is priority. I would feel at a loss if i didn't get some hours in with play. Second contiunous fee.... I would hope I did not have to pay that fee for over a year, it just would seem like maybe a better Investment of Money could have existed. 


The Generation behind us would need a parent willing to dish out money for the fee. And sure maybe a month but to sell that monthly fee to a parent especially after their cell phone bill, expensive clothes, Ipod's and what not. Could they have just waited a year and priced the game at $150.00.  I would have bought it seriously because i Know the final cost and total investment.

yzfrider16
yzfrider16

I can't believe for a second that any of you would rather pay a monthly $15 fee than pay 50 - 60 dollars up front.   Sure WoW does it....but not all do.  Look at Diablo III.  There was talk of that game having a monthly subscription and then they made a smart move and decided against it.   You do realize you will pay a minimum of $180 a year to play this game right? At most you'll get 4 months of game play out of the game before you start paying more than you would have by just paying more up front....and sounds like the initial buy won't be free so its even less time.  Just imagine the hundreds of dollars you will have spent on this game If you are subscribed for 2 or 3 years.   ON ONE GAME!!????   Anyone of you who feel that's a solid idea have no idea the value of money.  Unless your going to play the game hours on end for the next 2 or 3 years...OK then you've got your money's worth.  Other than that....nope.


Ridiculous.  I'm an adult, with a professional career, now married.  Years ago when Elder Scrolls Oblivion came out I put hours and hours into that game...it was a fantastic game world.  I don't have that kind of time any longer.  I so wanted to play this game when it came out, but it doesn't make sense for me to pay for a game that I may only play a few hours at most each week when I have the time.  But that's OK since I thought I could just slowly work my way around in the game and get enjoyment out of it.   Now I think I'll have to pass up on that purchase.


Those of you arguing that the monthly fee pays for updates, and patches and what not....ummm...what do you think every other game maker out there does with their games which had a one time purchase.  They update them, they patch them.


The moral of the story is this...I don't give one flying rats a$$ at what excuses the publisher says about how a fee is better than paying a larger amount up front.   Its all about money, and they know most of us will continue to pay that fee each month, if even for a little while even after we've stopped playing.    In that respect its no different than how we no longer "own" our games....rather we pay for a "license" to use the game.  In return the game is ours forever, and we can't resell it.  Its utter BS and so is this.  Period.

meatshot107
meatshot107

I don't understand why this is such a big deal.  It's almost as if no one has ever heard of World of Warcraft or any other hugely successful subscription based MMORPG.  This game will garner a huge player base regardless of a subscription fee or not.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

Too much piracy so now if you want to play Elder Scroll you'll have to put your hand in your pocket and take $15 out every month. Sort of a good thing for those who brag about having money for the fastest computer, fastest video card, largest and fastest memory pool but, strangely, no money to spend on games...

scotstil
scotstil

You guys have to understand, not everyone is a huge gamer.  Ill most likely put about 60 hours into this game over 2 or 3 years.  That's 360-540 dollars for 60 hours of gameplay.. Not a good deal.  And i would never drop $60 into a game that i will be spending 20 or less hours on.  I tend to sift through the used games racks and steam sales for good deals.  I have most likely spent about 200-300 dollars on video games tops, so for me to want to pump twice that into a game seems absurd.

superveka
superveka

well 15$ a month is not a big deal on pc but on consoles it is a different story  because you have to pay 60$ per year on xbox live / and play store i think on ps plus a game 60$ and 15$ a subscription fee per month  is too much in my opinion 

BLaverock
BLaverock

And seriously, gamers will drop 60 bucks on a game that provides between 8-20 hours gameplay, but complain about 15 bucks a month when they have access to literally THOUSANDS of hours? Pathetic whiners.

BLaverock
BLaverock

All you complainers: Just don't buy the game on release. Wait for the reviews. If you like it, buy it and pay the subscription fee. Unlike traditional games, MMOs need constant patches, updates, fixes, and expansions. You think your initial $60 bucks for the game is going to pay for the next 5-10 years worth of patches, updates, fixes, and expansions? Why do you expect to pay so little for a game so huge?!?! Literally, you'll be able to play 24/7 AND NEVER RUN OUT OF THINGS TO DO. Gawd, you can't expect developers to work for free, so shut the f**k up. Elder Scrolls is going to be AWESOME

csatt10
csatt10

Sounds like a lot of people were upset about this...... zenimax you better do something or you are going to lose a lot of business...(rip) ESO before even launched.

Covingsworth
Covingsworth

15$ Monthly! Wow that put a big desicion change on buying that.....

Covingsworth
Covingsworth

Wow 15$ a month...that just put a big desicion change on buying that for me..

Void_Kross
Void_Kross

I think a subscription is the best path for this game. A B2P path would be best after maybe half a year or a full year and a half. And if it was a B2P from the start, it would be filled with a bunch of kids who's parents don't care what they buy for their kids. Put a subscription fee on it, and it's not as likely to happen. That's just my opinion.

mrs_table_lamp
mrs_table_lamp

So $180 to play ESO and $50 for PS+ to be able play online in the first place (or $60 for Gold), a minimum of $230-$240 a year to play this game,. Yeah, no thanks.

vishisluv7
vishisluv7

People never learn, never look to the past as a guide.

Obviously, Beth is going to charge a sub and box and likely item mall too. They have already built the game for the micro-transaction model, and will charge a sub and box as well for as long as sales hold.

Then, "Based on your feedback!"™ they will drop the sub once the churn becomes negative and go B2P with expanded item mall.

We see this pattern again and again. Wait six months and it will be B2P.

N3C70V01D
N3C70V01D

Bethesda what are you doing?

GGRush
GGRush

OK, this is my bottom line:

I'm fine with game having only sub fee.
I'm fine with game having only an upfront purchase fee.

I am only fine with a game having both, if the game has an at least two month long OPEN BETA.

Both upfront purchase fee and sub fee, and no open beta ... this puts too much pressure on the players. Players who are unsure whether their $60 would just get them a useless box. That's why I said if there is an open beta, then charging for both is acceptable because we are allowed to try it out.

mlavinder
mlavinder

So they're are going to charge me for the game to try it out and then make me pay $15/month to play? That is INSANE. Their website FAQ makes it clear there will be an upfront cost of the game. What this charge will be is unclear.

You should be able to downloaded and try this for free for X days. No question. To make you BUY the game to try it is a disgrace when a monthly fee is also attached. Even WOW and EverQuest figured out how big a scam that was. Both can be downloaded and tried for completely free. It's been that way for YEARS. I could even live with a 7 day trial, but DO NOT charge me for the privilege to try your game.

If they do charge it had better be only for the disc copies of the game and it had better be just enough to cover the disk, packaging, and shipping of each disc, plus any fees they might have to pay Sony/Microsoft for the console editions . The MOST they should charge upfront is $20. Period. A penny more and they're ripping people off.

Charge for the add-on and expansions later because then people know what they are into and if they want to continue. If they make the cost of entry so high and no one joins, they can't blame Microsoft or Sony. They can only blame themselves and their predatory pricing.

They'd better start answering questions soon.

UmaSama
UmaSama

I'm fine with paying 15 bucks a month (I played WoW for years untill a couple months ago), however in that case don't make me also pay $60 for the game. Just make it like CCP does with EVE online.

Also AFAIK TESO will have microtransactions.

I'm ok with paying a monthly fee, I'm okay with paying full price for a game that doesn't have a monthly fee (GW2 for example), and I'm fine with microtransactions on F2P games. What I'm NOT fine is with companies wanting to charge me all of them at the same time a la blizzard.

Algearond
Algearond

This is VERY welcome news. I will be there on day one, with that fewer derps mucking things up. Good call Bethseda!

Nautilan
Nautilan

I'd like someone to clarify some things for me. How does starting the game work? Do you pay $60 at the start, then you get a "free" month to play, or do you pay the $60 after the trial period. Also, I heard a rumour that when you stop paying the monthly fee your account is terminated. Can anyone verify or refute this?


If you have to pay $60 at the start, I think that Zenimax has no business calling the first month free, when you are already paying 4 times the monthly fee for it. If not, this feels like the way to go seeing as it allows players to judge the game before committing themselves.


As well as this, according to the fifth line of this http://www.ubergizmo.com/2013/08/elder-scrolls-online-xbox-and-ps-gamers-might-have-to-pay-for-two-subscriptions/ , there will be microtransactions which really goes against 

"Plus, players will appreciate not having to worry about being 'monetized' in the middle of playing the game, which is definitely a problem that is cropping up more and more in online gaming these days.".

As well as the account termination rumour, lacking any (known) verification by Bethesda I can't say for sure if this is true or not but I would appreciate a clarification.

mattv180
mattv180

In all honesty I don't mind paying a subscription fee "IF" the game has regular good content updates that keep the game evolving constantly. I payed to play world of warcraft for many years and was fine with it because blizzard did such a great job at evolving the game every few months but can Zenimax do as good as a job as blizzard? time will tell. I think the one thing that I don't like about a subscription fee is that sometimes you don't get to play enough to make the $15/month worth it. I think it would be great if there were different levels of subscription fees for example: $15/month gets you unlimited hours, or you can pay a $5/month subscription fee but you only get x-amount of hours per month.


Jacobgame2
Jacobgame2

£108 / $180 a year silly prices it like guild wars 1 and 2

omar_q
omar_q

Well at least I'll get to play one free month. 

But after that, pcelate.

Captcrappypants
Captcrappypants

I tried :( 

(Long winded email to ESOT to drop the sub cost to more affordable price)

_______________________________________________________________

Their reply....


Greetings!


Thank you for contacting The Elder Scrolls Online Team.

I do understand your feelings about our business model. Our General Manager, Matt Firor, has explained the reasons for going with a subscription model in this interview (http://www.gamestar.de/spiele/the-elder-scrolls-online/artikel/www.gamestar.de/spiele/the-elder-scrolls-online/artikel/the_elder_scrolls_online%2c44578%2c3026853.html). I hope you will read the full interview to gain a better understanding of this decision. I appreciate your feedback and hope that you will reconsider playing Elder Scrolls Online once the game is released.



Thank you for your continued interest and support!

Warm Regards,
The Elder Scrolls Online Team




elblanco1
elblanco1

You have just lost my business, and the business of millions.

I'll gladly pay $100(AUD) to buy the game but i won't pay a monthly fee ever.

Please listen to the backlash - and maybe save what could be the best game ever.

Agent-M
Agent-M

There goes the last nail on the coffin.

cyndaquil82028
cyndaquil82028

@lutarian  yes but kids want to play this game to and they dont have the money and I doubt that a parent will agree when the kid goes " Hey mom can I get this game its only 168 dollars a year

yzfrider16
yzfrider16

@meatshot107 and you think that makes this OK.   Fantastic.   Go on being lemming in life.

yzfrider16
yzfrider16

@scotstil

  Exactly....there are many people that would like to play this game, that have a life and responsibilities outside of just playing video games.  I wanted to play this game, but now its looking like that may never happen.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@BLaverock 

For the simple reason you can easily put piracy and PC gamers in the same sentence without problems. Those with powerful rigs but no money to spend on games won't have any choice of spending some, whether they like it or not, or play previous games for years to come.

zachv1
zachv1

@BLaverockYes am a whiner cause I don't want to pay an extra $15 a month after my initial $60 dollar purchase for a game I might stop playing after a month just cause the company feels like they opened a money maker for themselves! Maybe if they offered a few months free other than that as a guy who likes the other elder scrolls I think I cancelled my pre-order for good reason.

elblanco1
elblanco1

It would have been awesome, but the masses have spoken - and it's too expensive. Sadly the fees are ruining it for everyone, inluding the minority who will pay. Mmos are about playing with people, but when no one is buying in, the world is empty. ouch. Gw2 got it right, imitate there model and we all win.

UmaSama
UmaSama

@Algearond You don't need a monthly fee for that, just charge $60 upfront like Guild Wars NCSoft does.

BLaverock
BLaverock

@Nautilan You'll have to buy the game initially for 60 bucks, then set up a monthly subscription to play. The longer you subscribe, the cheaper it will be. Later, this may change. For example, Bethesda may implement a 7 day free trial, or like WoW does with play for free up to level 20, or something else. 

When you stop paying and cancel your subscription, Bethesda will not terminate/delete your account. It's more like a freeze -- your account will be frozen, and Bethesda will probably keep your account backed up for years, just like WoW does. So years later, you can come back if you want. 

Microtransactions don't have to be pain. However, there is a fine balance. If you want exclusive in-game mounts, collector's gear, or stupid stuff like useless pets and whatnot, then microtransactions are fine. But if it becomes pay to win, where success in the game depends on microtransactions, then yeah, that's b*llshit.

And consider this a problem as well: players want everything for free, but developers have to live. If you like a game, buy it and support it. 15 bucks a month for a game that's practically limitless isn't a bad deal. After all, people pay 60 bucks for a game worth 8-20 hours game play... whereas, you expect thousands of hours with TESO 

Algearond
Algearond

@mattv180 Do you have a cable subscription? If so, do you feel the need to watch it X amount of hours a month? If not then your argument is irrelevant.

Ironmike62
Ironmike62

@Captcrappypants I sent them a similar email asking for multiple options for the variety of gamers out there...and they sent me back that same exact email verbatum. 

Algearond
Algearond

@elblanco1 And they gained my business, my brothers, my wife's, two co-workers, and millions of others who DON'T want the derps who infest F2P's in this game. If your not playing because you can't afford it, the game is better off without you.

Raynaldinio
Raynaldinio

@zachv1 They do give one free month. No one is forcing you to pay the monthly subscription after that. Also, "money maker"? I don't think you're aware of the costs associated with maintaining game servers and constantly producing new content. You are asking to get a costly service for free. You know what happens to most mmos? They go bankrupt and shut down, that's what.

lutarian
lutarian

@elblanco1Yet people still pay a monthly fee for the mind numbing, simplistic game called World Of Warcraft.

ragnarockw
ragnarockw

@elblanco1 GW2 did one thing wrong no port for console so now I am stuck not being able to play it as my laptop isn't any good now after the updates. Dam I hope they think about ps4 or Xbox one.

cyndaquil82028
cyndaquil82028

@BLaverock @Nautilan  yes but kids want to play this game to and they dont have the money and I doubt that a parent will agree when the kid goes " Hey mom can I get this game its only 168 dollars a year

Nautilan
Nautilan

@BLaverock @Nautilan I'm honestly fine with the $15 a month, but it's just the upfront $60 that really gets me. If the $15 a month is for access to the game, what's the $60 for? Purchasing an account?

 Thank you for clarifying my earlier questions. It's a relief to hear that you can take a break without fear of your account being removed.

elblanco1
elblanco1

Good for you and your posse! You should all drink mountain dew and touch each other. As a business model it's already failed. The end user influences the result, and the masses have spoken. Nothing's free, myself, millions would happily pay an upfront cost. But a monthly subscription does not sit well with the majority. At least you have a small group to adventure with, I hear mmorpgs are not much fun without people online.