The Elder Scrolls Online director Matt Firor has explained to Eurogamer why Zenimax Online Studios has decided to charge a monthly subscription for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game at a time when most observers consider the business model outdated.
Zenimax raised eyebrows this week when it announced that it will charge ￡8.99 / $14.99 a month to play TESO when it launches in the spring of 2014 – that’s across PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Before explaining the decision, Firor insisted: “this isn’t a referendum on free-to-play.”
“I play those games all the time,” he said. “This isn’t like: those aren’t valid.”
The decision was made for two reasons, Firor said: to ensure monetisation would fit appropriately within the established Elder Scrolls experience, and to fund post-release content.
“When you’re in an Elder Scrolls game, you’re in a world,” he said, explaining the former point. “We don’t want players to hit monetisation fees when they’re in the world.
“It’s like, I go into a dungeon, if I don’t have access to the dungeon it pops up a window: you don’t have access to this, go buy 50 credits. We didn’t want that experience. That’s not an Elder Scrolls experience.
“We wanted to do monetisation outside of the game. So, if I pay for a month at a time, I have 100 per cent of the game. I don’t have to worry about paying one more cent. I’ll never run into a pay gate and I’ll be in the world.”