Elder Scrolls Online Payment Model Revealed — August 21, 2013
After many months of secrecy and speculation on what the payment model for Elder Scrolls Online would be, Matt Firor has finally revealed that the MMO spin-off will feature a subscription-based payment system in an interview with GameStar. Claiming that the premium subscription model was necessary for the game they wanted to make, Matt Firor said that any other model would have negatively impacted their design. Although the first month after purchasing the game will be free, continued activity after the first thirty days will require the payment of a flat fee to continue accessing the servers. Considerations for future discounts on the cost of the subscription or similar alternatives are being discussed, but for now a subscription will be needed to play the game.
Matt Firor went on to say that while other business models are valid, the team behind the game did not believe that it would work for ESO. They did not want to make players feel like their activity in the game was being "monetized" as they find the other payment models do. Those interested in the new installment in the franchise can expect to pay $14.99/€12.99/£8.99 per month to play the game after the first thirty days, with discounts for buying multiple months at once very likely.
Update: After the notably mixed reaction to the announcement, Matt Firor has provided further commentary about the decision to Eurogamer. After once again stating that the decision to use a subscription-based business model did not have anything to do with perceived flaws in the free-to-play or similar models, he said that there were two primary reasons behind the decision: To ensure the monetization of the game would fit the Elder Scrolls setting, and to fund further development of the game post-release. To further elaborate on the former point, he explained that the team did not want to deny players any content in the game; that they did not want to force players to pay for further access to the game while playing it. Firor went on to say that a subscription-based model would allow for the development of new content for the game as long as people were still playing it. He declared that the subscription model would provide a more definite revenue stream for development of this additional game content, such as the Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood, that will not be available at release.