Elder Scrolls Online subscription fee “fit best what we wanted to do,” says Hines

By Dave Cook
25 February 2014 12:23 GMT

The Elder Scrolls Online bucks the wide-spread trend of MMO games going free-to-play, and Bethesda’s VP of marketing Pete Hines has explained that the charge best-fits what Zenimaz Online Studios is looking to achieve. Namely; significant and regular content drops.

It follows my impressions of the last Elder Scrolls Online beta, during which I said I wouldn’t pay a monthly fee for the game as it stands. That could change of course, depending on how substantial this additional content is.

Speaking with CVG, Hines explained, “If you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth for whatever you’re paying – whether it be $15 for a month or $2 for a DLC – then you’re going to be happy. If you’re not, then you won’t. You could do a free-to-play game where somebody wasn’t happy, because maybe they don’t feel like they’re getting value for the money that they played upfront, even if it’s not a pay-by-month subscription.

“We felt like the subscription model fit best what we wanted to do, not because we want you to pay per month to play the game, but because we want to provide real and meaningful content support on a regular basis. That’s not just a few items or a thing here and there, that’s real significant stuff that adds to the game in a whole host of ways, and doing so needs a good sized group of people who are working on and creating new stuff. That’s stuff we can start working on now, as well as stuff we can work on when we start to get player feedback.”

He added, “There’s a couple of Guild quest lines in the game at the moment, but there are certainly noticeable Guilds that aren’t in the game – there’s no Dark Brotherhood, for example. You can’t set aside a bunch of people to work on a cool Dark Brotherhood quest line unless you’ve figured out a way that you’re going to pay those bodies to spend that time. Otherwise you’d just put them onto something else.

“We feel like this approach is going to give people who want to play the best value, and reason to look forward to the next new thing that’s coming out. The Elder Scrolls is our crown jewel and it’s the series that made everything we do possible, so it’s a big triple-A title that demands huge, ongoing triple-A support.”

What do you make of the above? Would you need to see what this additional content is before laying down a subscription fee, or are you happy to get invested from launch? Let us know below.

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