The Elder Scrolls Online Taking the Pay to Play Route

Can The Elder Scrolls Online survive as a P2P title? If ZeniMax make the experience truly 'premium', just maybe.

Were you hoping to play The Elder Scrolls Online for free? You are out of luck, my friend. ZeniMax General Manager Matt Firor revealed that the game will be pay to play in an interview with GameStar, and even gave subscription price points for North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom.

Firor stated that charging a subscription fee means the studio will be able to give players the type of long-term experience they would want from an Elder Scrolls game, and that they would be given the freedom to develop the game the way they want to. From the GameStar interview:

We're building a game with the freedom to play - alone or with your friends - as much as you want. A game with meaningful and consistent content - one packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay that can be experienced right away and one that will be supported with premium customer support. Charging a flat monthly (or subscription) fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play. Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren't willing to make.

He also states that ZeniMax intends to bring new content to The Elder Scrolls Online every four to six weeks after launch, hoping that players will feel they are getting their money's worth.

Sub Fee Bonanza

A pay to play game in today's MMO climate? It's more likely than you think, and the subscription fees are at the same point eligible territories have gotten used to over the past 15 years:

  • North American pricing - $14.99 a month
  • European pricing - €12.99
  • United Kingdom pricing - £8.99 a month

Players will also have to purchase the game client, which has not yet been given a price point.

It's odd to see any developer choose to go with a subscription model these days, but we have had three games decide to go this route just recently: WildStar, Final Fantasy XIV, and (as we see here) The Elder Scrolls Online. Normally free to play MMO Allods Online is adding a subscription-only server as well. Are we seeing some sort of resurgence of the pay to play model? It certainly looks that way, but how long will it last?

Published Aug. 21st 2013
  • Chris Richardson
    I am completely on-board with the Subscription based system as long as the gameplay and content are making me feel like my money is well spent. The moment that stops, so does my subscription. He has promised new content every 4-6 weeks after release, but how long can they keep that up?

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