Subscription fees are nothing new to MMO gamers. But times are changing, and more and more people are losing interest in having to constantly invest money into the games that they play. That’s not stopping the folks over at ZeniMax Online Studios, however, who have announced that they will have a monthly fee to play The Elder Scrolls Online.
Once you purchase the game, which will likely cost the usual $60 or so, you’ll have 30 days to play as much as you like. After that you’ll pay a $14.99/€12.99/£8.99 fee per month to continue playing.
Here’s some of the things that Matt Firor, General Manager at ZeniMax Online Studios, had to say about the announcement and why they’ll charge a fee:
“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.
The Elder Scrolls Online offers unlimited play for the first 30 days with the purchase of the game. The choice is yours to play as much as you want; hundreds of hours of content, PvP, etc – is all there for you to experience with the base purchase of the game. If you want to continue playing for hundreds of hours more after that first month you’ll pay a flat fee for continued, unlimited access to the game.”
“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.”
“We are already working on content that will roll out to players after ESO’s launch. New quest lines, skills, zones, dungeons -are already in the pipeline. These things, in addition to our end-game content, PvP, and extraordinary customer service, are all part of making sure we’re delivering on that premium service – and that the player feels like they are getting their money’s worth. We won’t know the exact schedule until after ESO launches, but our target right now is to have new content available every four to six weeks.”
One of the biggest reasons I’ve never gotten into MMOs is the monthly fees, microtransactions, and all of those things which most require to play and enjoy. The first time I’ve ever been excited by an MMO was, in fact, The Elder Scrolls Online. An Elder Scrolls game that looks like an Elder Scrolls game AND I can play with friends? Brilliant!
But unfortunately, there’s not much they can do to justify having to spend $15 a month to play for me personally. Maybe it’s just because of my prior distaste for MMOs. That’s $180 each year to play a game, equal to three Xbox Live Gold 12-month subscriptions. And speaking of, with The Elder Scrolls Online coming to both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, it’s assumed that in addition to the purchase cost and monthly fee, those who play on consoles will have the Gold and PlayStation Plus fees to worry about as well. All too rich for my blood.
Will you still play The Elder Scrolls Online with a monthly fee?