The Elder Scrolls Online is only a few days away from the official launch April 4, and that’s the question people are still asking. Bethesda is still defending its choice to go with a subscription model.
Bethesda’s Global Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, Pete Hines, recently told Games.On.Net that the decision to charge a $15-a-month subscription fee was a mutual Bethesda and Zenimax decision.
“It would be fair to say it was a mutual decision,” said Hines. “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,” admits Hines, “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, 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.”
Hines said that players who decide they don’t want to pay the subscription still get 30 days worth of gameplay.
“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 said.
I’m not sure that a full-priced game that you can only play for 30 days is going to resonate with the people who have been playing Skyrim since it came out in 2011, if that’s what Hines is proposing. But then again I’ve paid just as much for games I’ve played much less.
Regardless, we’ll soon see if Bethesda’s gamble pays off. Five-day early access players are already playing The Elder Scrolls Online and three day early-access players start today. The remaining release dates are:
For 3 day early access:
- North America (East): 7:00 AM EDT, Tuesday April 1st–
- UK/IE: 12:00 PM WEST, Tuesday April 1st–
- Central Europe: 1:00 PM CEST, Tuesday April 1st–
- Sydney, Australia: 10:00 PM AEDT, Tuesday April 1st–
- Singapore: 7:00 PM SGT, Tuesday April 1st–
…and for launch:
- North America (East): 7:00 PM EDT, Thursday, April 3rd–
- UK/IE: 12:00 AM WEST, Thursday, April 4th–
- Central Europe: 1:00 AM CEST, Thursday, April 4th–
- Sydney, Australia: 10:00 AM AEDT, Thursday, April 4th–
- Singapore: 7:00 AM SGT, Thursday, April 4th
Xbox One and PS4 players will have to wait until June.