Is Elder Scrolls Online making the right choice with a Pay2Play Subscription Method?

Probably one of the most talked about subjects regarding the Elder Scrolls Online on the web right now is all about the paid subscription method which Bethesda has decided to implement for this creation. Obviously, us fans want to play the game for as little as possible, we all have other bills to pay or other stuff we could do with the money instead, but then again you can't really say that $15 per month is a lot to loose each month when you realize that you can be playing the newest and biggest MMORPG game to date for as many hours per day as you can cram in around your current lifestyle. The entire Elder Scrolls series which Bethesda has created has become massively popular over the last 5 years, especially with Oblivion and Skyrim being released worldwide on every major platform out at that time. This means that there's millions of fans who will be eagerly wanting to play ESO, but a tiny bit put off by this subscription that will take money from them for each month they play for.

This is something were not used to, we normally buy the Elder Scrolls game once, then that's it we get hundreds of hours of enjoyment from it and don't have to pay a penny more. An expansion comes out, we buy that and we can play for another hundred hours. We feel like were getting our monies worth because we only have to pay once. But with Elder Scrolls Online we not only have to fork out a whooping $59.99 for the base game (or just the CD key if your Downloading it), but a constant supply of -15 dollars being withdrawn from our bank accounts each month. If your going to be playing on one of the Next Gen Consoles, either the Playstation 4 or Xbox One then your already having to pay a monthly subscription for Xbox Live and the Playstation Network just to gain access to online play as it is. Put all of this together and it can end up getting pretty expensive over the space of a year!

Out with the Negatives and In with the Positives

Ok, so that's the bad news over with. Let's start trying to turn this into a positive thing and see what were actually getting for our hard earned cash. $15 per month gives us -

  • Access to Tamriel's world; full of exploration, exciting PvP, 1000's of Quests and social connectivity.
  • A stable Connection to the Mega Server 24/7.
  • A never ending Elder Scrolls game.
  • Consistent patches.
  • New items added on a regular basis.
  • New quests added on a regular basis.
  • New content/areas to explore on a regular basis.

Paul Sage, Creative Directer at ZeniMax has stated: “We always want to make sure there is something new right around the corner. Our plan is to have new content coming out on a really frequent basis. We want to make sure that people are really into the game and get to experience a lot of new things." Source:

As well as this, Bethesda are actually trying to make Elder Scrolls Online players exempt from having to pay any subscription fee's on Xbox Live/Playstation Network just to be able to play ESO. So if you don't have one of the next gen console network subscriptions already, fingers crossed you may not need one to be able to play ESO upon release as well as ESO's subscription. "Bethesda trying to free Elder Scrolls Online from the Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus paywalls." Source:

If the negotiations with Microsoft and Playstation work out then were just down to the main subscription fee for ESO. If you think about it, $15 for a months worth of play isn't a lot to spend. I spent $49 recently to buy The Last of Us on PS3, don't get me wrong it's a fantastic game and I loved every second, but in a flash I had completed it. That was $49 spent on playing a game for 16 hours. That works out to $3.06 per hour played for a console game. If we work this out to what Elder Scrolls will charge, take for example a Casual Gamer who plays for only 2 hours per day, that's 60 hours per month. They Buy Elder Scrolls Online for $60, with the first 30 days play is included - in their first month of play it's cost them $1 per hour played (60 hours played in a month divide by the $60 game cost).

Then each month after that, for only 2 hours played per day works out at only 25 cents per hour! (60 hours played in a month divide by the $15 subscription fee). Come on, seriously...What else can you do for only 25 Cents an hour?!? If your a more Casual gamer who plays 4 hours per day, that's 120 hours per month, that's a measly 12.5 cents per hour!!!!!

The Costs of Playing to Bethesda / ZeniMax

There's been a rumor going around lately, well I say rumor as I haven't seen any confirmed reports by Bethesda or ZeniMax, that Elder Scrolls Online has an estimated spending budget of $200 Million. That would place it joint second with Star Wars: The Old Republic for the most expensive games developed to date, just under the top spot of GTA:V spending an enormous $265 Million. Online records show that the next biggest MMO World of Warcraft spends on average $50 Million per Year on the upkeep of the game.

This includes the Server upkeep and data center, payroll for the entire staff, hardware support, and customer service. So the ESO team are going to need to pull back their $200 Million initial investment plus a huge amount each year to keep the game up and running. For just $15 per month in return for an unreal amount of playable hours and enjoyment, it just doesn't seem a lot to ask to and I will be one of the ones who can't wait for the privilege of playing the most anticipated MMO game of 2014, and maybe even the most expensive one to date.

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