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.

News by Mike Williams, .

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.

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 21

  • Avatar for Wellman #1 Wellman 4 years ago
    Honestly, Microsoft should be more flexible for online subscription games at the very least offer added benefits that make it worth paying more to play.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for RandomTerrain #2 RandomTerrain 4 years 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.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for GustinHardy #3 GustinHardy 4 years ago
    I can see Sony letting them slip past the PS+ barrier but no way will Microsoft. It still doesn't help that Sony makes their service seem like a fun bonus rather (even as it becomes mandatory) than a money grab.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Ohoni #4 Ohoni 4 years ago
    It's all well and good that he's worried about the tiny subscription fee for Live that I'm already paying, but he should do more to remove the monthly sub for the game itself.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for juliankennedy23 #5 juliankennedy23 4 years ago
    Honestly they are simply going to have a hard time to convince people to play a Sub fee for a console MMO whether it is behind the online paywall or not.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for TPoppaPuff #6 TPoppaPuff 4 years 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 TPoppaPuff
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for joeblack #7 joeblack 4 years ago
    I hope Sony and Microsoft do not give in to Bethesda. These MMOes make you pay $60 so you can test it for 30 days to determine whether you like it or not.
    If you like it then you might rent it $15 monthly. That is why Sprg Players shun MMOes.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for beppi925 #8 beppi925 4 years ago
    I really don't know how much I'd be playing if Microsoft doesn't exempt ES:O, currently I live with my bf and we have two xboxes and have one gold account for when we want to play online, or use netflix etc, but we have two copies of elder scroll games because we love them and often will play at the same time, but I don't think I could justify paying the $60 for the game twice, plus two subscription fees on top of needing to get a second gold account when that's all it'd be used for.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for lion9889 #9 lion9889 4 years 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.

    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for +blu #10 +blu 4 years ago
    Point one $250 per year to be in game? (not to mention the cost of your IPS and electric bill)

    $14..99 for USA users.......but this then becomes £14.99 for UK users and that is $24 plus ......

    and £250 is $411.47cents........... Suck it up Buttercup and think again if you wanna recoup your investment for the outlay of the ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for +blu #11 +blu 4 years ago
    Point one $250 per year to be in game? (not to mention the cost of your IPS and electric bill)

    $14..99 for USA users.......but this then becomes £14.99 for UK users and that is $24 plus ......

    and £250 is $411.47cents........... Suck it up Buttercup and think again if you wanna recoup your investment for the outlay of the ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for +blu #12 +blu 4 years ago
    @+blu I am so fucking sick of paying through the nose just so the USA market can be given a cheap deal.......
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for genefranklin12 #13 genefranklin12 4 years ago
    Personally, I was super excited about this game when since I first heard about it. I have been a huge fan of Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. I intended to continue playing these games from Bethesda, but upon hearing they are trying to do a monthly subscription on console I can assure them I will not be purchasing this game. I reluctantly pay for Xbox Live as it is, and absolutely cannot see paying a second subscription whether Microsoft allows them to be exempt from Live or not. One person mentioned microtransactions, which I would be fine with. You want your franchise to be the greatest, then make people want to pay it. Charge your $60 for the game and charge for your expansions. Don't be greedy and charge for the subscription too. You might find more gamers passing your product that way.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for collinred #14 collinred 4 years ago
    em ya afterre a paying fore my takle box fool of meds wich is gena estamate each time i run out around 300 400$ then i got the bils wich is anather couple hundred mainley medicil and eliktrikil so ya unless ya wana make it free to play fore gold no way in hell em i biiying it infact iif eneyonee is in a simlere situwashin and would like to boycot to git the ball roling in the rite direcshin ya nowe what ta do
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for dylanhunt20 #15 dylanhunt20 4 years ago
    Easy solution: Get a desktop. It's upgradable, no restrictions, better graphics (always), better content, and heck, you can connect a bluetooth ps3 controller if you REALLY wanted to.. not sure why people are paying so much money to restrict themselves and pay more out of pocket. PC games are cheaper too ;)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for lojkyelo #16 lojkyelo 4 years ago
    The Developers don't want you to pay two, just their one... Not doing pay to play on console. Bring back couch co-op.Edited February 2014 by lojkyelo
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for jordanpaulhobson35 #17 jordanpaulhobson35 3 years ago
    the downfall with the xbox one version will be that you have to pay the subscripttion for the game as well as xbox live gold. if it was to either have gold or the game subscription it would be a lot better. and more people would get the game
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Phizzix #18 Phizzix 3 years ago
    Well, here's hoping Fallout doesn't turn into this. This'll be the first game from either series I decide to pass up.

    Why not just give priority to PC players for paying the fee? I'd be okay with that sacrifice if I'm going to play on console.

    The monthly fee for PS+ or XBL is $10. If I'm buying the yearly subscription instead of monthly, it's $50 for PS+ and $60 for XBL.

    What I'm thinking Bethesda fails to understand is that gamers don't ONLY play TES and Fallout. We also like other games like Battlefield and CoD, which have multiplayer.

    How many of us, who don't want 2 fees, are willing to sacrifice multiplayer for EVERY GAME just to play TESO? I think I'll stick to paying $50 a year or $10 a month to play any game I want online instead of paying $15 to play only one game.

    Oh, but we don't have to play only one game if we fork over $25 a month to play both TESO and any game we want, right? Screw that. I'll sacrifice TESO to play BF4, CoD: Ghosts, and every game in the world's multiplayer if it means not spending 2.5 times the fee I usually play.

    The monthly fee for mediocre quality is why I quit WoW when it started to get worse.

    Hell, if this is how it's going to be, maybe I can just torrent the Bethesda games I want for free when I get a PC since my paying for DLC and games isn't good enough. Oh, and on top of that, the games I paid for and paid for DLC for still have bugs because you guys abandoned them to work on this PoS?

    My bad. I'll buy this game when my not being allowed to upgrade my weapons and armor that can't be upgraded due to bugs, not being able to keep Illia as a follower because you guys messed up her programming, absorbing my own conjured minions because I have spell absorption, my bow firing an arrow that turns at a 90 degree angle into the floor even when holding it all the way back, weapon racks not holding my weapons or not angling them properly, not being able to wear daedric boots from the atronach forge, mannequins duplicating my armor and showing it instead of what I wanted, shield charge and ranger not working after a random amount of time, and many other bugs are FIXED.Edited 2 times. Last edited April 2014 by Phizzix
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for miyondasmith30 #19 miyondasmith30 3 years ago
    I hope someone from all gaming parties involved reads this post. The problem is having to pay monthly for ESO. If it was paid once for the year, it would be a lot better. Like for instance, both consoles have fees that are paid annually, not monthly. Which not a lot of gamers have a problem with. However, paying $15 a month to play a game is outrageous!!!! ON TOP OF... the fact that it's already $60 to begin with! The first year of game play should be free and then pay $60 a year after that to play ESO. I'm sure more gamers would be open to that instead of paying $180 a year to play a game. SERIOUSLY!!!!!! I love Elder Scrolls, but after playing ESO, it's definitely NOT worth paying $180 to play it. Thats just crazy!!! I'll wait til ES6 comes out.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for nickolivera31 #20 nickolivera31 3 years ago
    Well, then you should drop the sub fee for console players, and try a b2p model, like Guild Wars has. It's entirely possible to make a profitable MMO without the greedy business model.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for shaunhirst26 #21 shaunhirst26 3 years ago
    So you pay for the console, the game, the yearly sub for XBL/PS+, then a sub for the game, your internet, the electric, TV license. So i tell you what i will do, i will give you my credit card and pin. Work like fuck and you can have all my money. What the hell happened to gaming been fun? I will not be paying to play this game, although a fan of The Elder Scrolls
    Sign in to Reply