Bethesda defends Elder Scrolls Online subscriptions

The announcement may have met a mixed reaction, but Bethesda is confident consumers will deem its upcoming MMOto be worth the monthly fee.

The publisher announced this week that The Elder Scrolls Online will require monthly subscriptions, something that is becoming less common and frowned upon by some consumers, given the wealth of free-to-play options available.

The new game is not alone in charging a monthly fee: this month’s relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV will retain its subscription model, and next year’s Wildstar will also use this payment option (although it is attempting a ‘play-to-pay’ model as well).

And The Elder Scrolls Online’s director Matt Firor is keen to justify the game’s subscription fees.

"The reason why we don’t need free-to-play is we have a huge IP behind this," he told PCGamesN. We’re not that worried about getting people in the door."

The brand certainly does have weight behind it. While the series has been around for more than a decade, the most recent entry – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – broke new records for the franchise, and is still selling well at UK retail two years after release.

Firor added that the subscription fee gives players access to the whole game world, rather than locking content as many free-to-play games do.

"Elder Scrolls is about being in a giant world, where you’re exploring and you go to a dungeon and you don’t get a paygate in front of you saying you don’t have this dungeon," he said.

"Which means to us, you need to monetise it outside of the game. You go outside the game, you pay your month. You go in the game, and you’re in the game. There’s no real world stuff reaching in to grab you."

He also reports that three millions people have signed up for the game’s beta.

The Elder Scrolls Online is in development at Zenimax Online and heading to PC, Xbox One and PS4 next year.

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