In an interview with GameStar, Matt Firor, General Manager of ZeniMax Online, has confirmed that The Elder Scrolls Online will require a subscription fee. This news, in conjunction with the fact that upcoming MMOs Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn and WildStar have also announced subscription fees, suggests that publishers still feel that the subscription model is viable for the genre.
The Elder Scrolls Online will also require purchase of the game itself, which includes a free month’s subscription. No word yet on exact pricing, but it’s not looking like the World of Warcraft payment formula will be deviated from. Regarding this decision, Matt Firor stated in the interview:
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.
It’s looking like there will be three key MMO players in the coming months; ESO, FFXIV:RR, and WildStar. With all three using the same subscription model, with similar pricing, it will be interesting to see how each one fares both short and long-term. Free-to-play hasn’t killed the subscription MMO just yet, and the economic performance of these three games will likely change the MMO landscape for a long time.
Here’s The Elder Scrolls Online in action: