Today Zenimax has announced their subscription model for their upcoming MMO The Elder Scrolls Online. In an exclusive interview with German website Gamestar, Matt Firor laid out the plan for their subscription, and the reasoning behind it.
We’re thrilled that gamers are looking forward to diving into The Elder Scrolls Online and we’ve been working hard to deliver the game that fans want – one that’s worthy of the Elder Scrolls name. Choosing the right business model is part of that. We are going with the subscription model for ESO.
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.
ESO will feature 30 days of unlimited play when you first activate the game, much like the MMOs of the past, and then you will need to pay a sub fee of $14.99 to continue to access the content.
Gamestar followed up by asking Matt whether or not Zenimax is afraid to follow this path, given recent unsuccessful launches of games with a similar model.
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.
Matt Firor also mentioned that there might be discounts for purchasing multiple months at a time, but more will be detailed about this later. ESO will also support time cards to load onto your account.
Gamestar also asked whether the PC and console versions would launch same day, Firor stated we will discuss that in the coming future.
What are your thoughts regarding this news? Are you happy, sad, excited, disappointed? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to catch ESOTR LIVE on Thursday night for will be an interesting show.