ZeniMax Online general director, Matt Firor, has confirmed that a monthly rate will need to be paid in order to play The Elder Scrolls Online. It had previously been speculated that the studio’s upcoming MMO would be F2P.
Subs will run $14.99/€12.99/£8.99 a month (the MMO average), each copy of the game bundled with 30 days of play-time.
When asked about adopting the traditional business model, Firor, replied with the following:
The Elder Scrolls games are all about allowing the player to go where they want, be who they want, and do what they want. 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% 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. 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. 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 any way.
And it’s important to state that our decision to go with subscriptions is not a referendum on online game revenue models. F2P, B2P, etc. are valid, proven business models – but subscription is the one that fits ESO the best, given our commitment to freedom of gameplay, quality and long-term content delivery. 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: We don’t want the player to worry about which parts of the game to pay for – with our system, they get it all.
With most MMORPGs opting for free-to-play models, it’s a bold move by Zenimax. The last big-name MMO to chase premium subs was Star Wars: The Old Republic. However -like Funcom’s The Secret World- player numbers began to decline within months, forcing EA to switch to F2P before the game had even celebrated its first anniversary.