Despite a growing acceptance of freemium-first business models, the informed money is on a premium subscription model for The Elder Scrolls Online.
Speaking to EDGE, Gamesbrief founder Nicholas Lovell said he expects Zenimax Online to start off with subscriptions and switch at a later date; an increasingly common pattern for big-budget MMORPGs.
“I still believe that subscription games are on the way out. It is conceivable that Bethesda will launch with a subscription service to attract the early adopters, because that is the model they understand,” he said.
“They will switch to free-to-play later, in the same way that many iOS games go from paid to freemium over their lifetime. EA is struggling with The Old Republic, [but] almost everyone else is transitioning to free-to-play.”
As EDGE notes, development on The Elder Scrolls Online kicked off in 2007, when subscription-based models were much more common.