Elder Scrolls Online subscription fee was mutual decision, Hines confirms

By Dave Cook
1 April 2014 12:09 GMT

The Elder Scrolls Online will charge players a monthly subscription fee, a decision that was made mutually between Bethesda and Zenimax Online Studios. Bethesda’s Global VP of Marketing and PR, Pete Hines has explained why he feels it was the right decision.


It follows my extensive Elder Scrolls Online beta impressions piece, where I concluded that I wouldn’t pay for it.

Speaking with GamesOnNet, Hines said, “It would be fair to say it was a mutual decision. It wasn’t like they decided it, and we didn’t mandate it. There was a lot of conversation around it. I worry about it, but I worry about everything. That’s my job, to worry. But I think it’s the right decision for the right reasons.”

“What’s going to determine whether or not it succeeds or fails is not really tied to what anyone else has done,” he went on, “it’s tied to ‘do we make a strong enough argument for the value that you get for your fifteen dollars?’. If we’re providing the kind of content people want to see where they’re like ‘This is awesome, I’m having a blast, this new stuff is totally worth it and I’m having fun’, then the subscription totally works. If we’re putting out stuff that doesn’t make a case for it then we have a problem on our hands and we have failed to meet that value proposition.

“But I would argue that other games that have or haven’t succeeded with this: it’s more about that, not the model itself. It’s about ‘are you giving me my money’s worth for what you’re asking me to pay?’ If yes, then they don’t have a problem with it. If no, then they have a problem with it.”

When it was suggested that $90 AUD (the site is Australian) was still too much to pay if a person wanted to see more content in future, Hines replied, “If you don’t like the game, of course you’re not subscribing to it. You get the game, you get your first month without having to pay for a subscription to see ‘is this thing a thing I like’? If your approach that you want to take is that, for example, you love Skyrim, you played it for 125 hours, but after three or four weeks you were done, then you can do the exact same thing in Elder Scrolls Online.”

“You can buy it, play the hell out of it for four weeks and go ‘Eh! I’m done. I did everything I wanted to do, I did a bunch of single-player stuff, I did a bunch of PVP, and now I’m out.’ Then you’re out. The subscription is irrelevant. The initial purchase is exactly the same as any other PC game because you don’t have to pay for the subscription until your 30 days is up.”

Hines closed by reminding everyone that Zenimax Online Studios are “pretty agile”, if things need to change, but didn’t disclose anything further.

The Elder Scrolls Online launches on PC, April 4.

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