Recently Gamespot featured a release from Bethesda’s Vice President of Public Relations, Peter Hines who defended their plan to charge a monthly $14.99 subscription fee in addition to the price of the game. Here is a quote:
‘We feel pretty strongly about the support we’re going to have for the game and what you’re going to get for those dollars,” he said when asked why The Elder Scrolls Online was not pursuing a free-to-play model. “We’re also very confident in our ability to support it with content. And not content of the magnitude of, it’s a new month, here’s a new sword or here’s a funny hat–but content that is real and significant and it feels like regular and consistent DLC releases.”
The more we read this the more familiar the rhetoric seemed. Where did we hear something like this before? Oh yes, from Jeff Anderson, former CEO of Turbine before Lord of the Rings Online:
“…we went with the high-quality, high-fidelity first book rolled out at launch and then with the expectation that Turbine’s done a great job of providing a constant stream of updates, constant content …”
That was in 2007. Three years later in 2010 Lotro went free to play. Can Elder Scrolls Online succeed with the “subscription only” model where Age of Conan, The Secret World, Fallen Earth, Champions Online, Everquest II, Vanguard and Star Wars the Old Republic failed? Or are they hoping to have their cake and eat it too?