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Elder Scrolls Online Dev Doesn't Want You to Pay Two Subscription Fees

Bethesda trying to free Elder Scrolls Online from the Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus paywalls.

By Mike Williams. Published 7 months ago

The world is a hard place for MMOs, let alone subscription MMOs launching on consoles. Zenimax Online's Elder Scrolls Online is coming to Xbox One with its own monthly subscription fee, so its publisher is understandably worried about players who will balk at paying for that and Xbox Live Gold. Bethesda marketing boss Peter Hines told the Official Xbox Magazine that Bethesda is trying to see if Elder Scrolls Online can be exempt from Xbox Live Gold.

"We feel like most people such as yourself currently pay that subscription not to pay a game, but to play all games online," said Hines. "So in that sense, when I'm playing Call of Duty online I don't feel like I'm paying my monthly Xbox Live sub for Call of Duty – I'm just paying it because that's a thing that I do, and whatever game I'm playing at the time is the one that benefits."

"Having said that, we have been in talks with Microsoft about that very thing, and seeing whether or not there's any room to change their minds about that, for folks who are only paying The Elder Scrolls Online and don't want to pay for an Xbox Live Gold subscription, just to pay the Elder Scrolls Online," he added.

"The answer right now is that's the way it works, but it's something that we're aware of and we keep pushing on, to see if there's something that can be done. We'll let you know if there's movement there."

It's a catch-22 for Microsoft: they want a wide variety of content on its platforms, including MMOs, but the extra subscription fee makes it not worth it for a number of MMO publishers. Cryptic Studios had an Xbox 360 version of Champions Online "ready to go" back in 2009, but the company could never work out the issues with Xbox Live. The original version of Final Fantasy XIV - which relaunched today - couldn't come to 360 because of Xbox Live. Anonymous sources told GameInformer that Microsoft was actually trying to get a cut of MMO subscription fees in order for a game to come to Xbox 360.

Sony has been more flexible when it comes to allowing MMOs on PlayStation platforms, but its list isn't much larger. Final Fantasy XIV, DC Universe Online, Dust 514, and Defiance are all you can get on PlayStation 3, and only one of those titles has a sub fee. Sony Online already confirmed that DC Universe Online for that PlayStation 4 will be exempt from the new PlayStation Plus subscription fee for online play. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like that extends to non-Sony or subscription-based MMOs: a Bethesda spokesperson told USgamer that Elder Scrolls Online is facing a "similar situation" on Sony's platform and the PlayStation Plus fee will be required for online play.

Neither situation bodes well for the future of subscription MMOs on console, no matter how PC-like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are.

The best community comments so far 21 comments

  • RandomTerrain 7 months ago

    I would have expected Sony to be a little more flexible with this, they usually are. I'd be surprised is MS agree to letting something like that out of their pay wall going on their history but you never know, they may sense an advantage here.

  • lion9889 4 months ago

    I remember playing Oblivion the 1st time on XBOX 360 wow, what an amazing open world, how much adventure and story line, and the ability to gain strength, magic, and speed how fun and engrossing. Then Skyrim came out and I was entranced into the Icy World of secrets.

    When I heard Xbox One was coming out with Elder Scrolls i wanted to get the console immediately. However....
    After learning that the system was $500.00 and there would be a monthly subscription fee. I lost that spark... why...well maybe because after the cell phone bils, extra insurance, cold callers, i feel fee'd out. I mean another monthly fee is not what I WANT. This is only my Opinion, but if you gave me a cool game similar to Skyrim with better Graphics. I WOULD BE HAPPY. But the fact when i buy a game i have to pay for monthly fees seems disappointing. I want the best bang for my buck. I work and sometimes take work home. I play at my convenience. Do you really want me to hurry to play... I don't feel like it. I would rather not play and miss out on an adventure than feel pressured to pay and play at the end of the month. I know its about the best quality gaming experience but the DLC's seem to be working fine.

    In the end. I won't be purchasing the exciting game. Yeah it won't break the bank but i refuse to get into this per month play fee. When does it end...IT WON'T. Do the math $15.00 a month x 12 months. You will spend $180.00 for the year on a video game not including the $60.00 initial game purchase. $250.00 for the Game seems a bit steep guys.


  • TPoppaPuff 7 months ago

    I know why they do it, but it still comes off as extremely greedy to ask $60 for a game and then $15 mandatory for every month after that. That's the part I balk at. If the F2P model can figure out a way to make a game completely free and find success off microtransactions only, then why the hell does Bethesda need to charge $60 and then $15 immediately after per month? They can't use microtransactions to offset the loss of sub fees? They can't recoup the initial free trial and make money off the subscription and microtransaction model? Why is it all or nothing with these MMOs? It's either mandatory to pay out the ass just to play or it's everything is free except for hats. I don't get it. The next extremely successful MMO will be the first one that figures out that there's a very obvious middle ground between the two... Oh shit, that's Destiny. :oEdited August 2013 by Unknown

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