Clearing the Bar

As our regular listeners are already aware, show 139 is live and can be heard here.


Now on to business….

This weekend we have been invited, as have many others, to another round of Elder Scrolls Online.  Let us just point out from the start that we are big fans of the Elder Scrolls series.  Our own Julie has put about 400 hours into Skyrim, has programed to mods and is working on a third.  But as someone on our Google Circles pointed out recently (we think it was Tipa from West Karana) pointed out that Elder Scrolls Online made them appreciate Skyrim.  The comment had us thinking for awhile.  Playing Elder Scrolls Online could certainly spark an interest in the other Elder Scrolls “off line” series but we don’t think the comment was intended that way.   In fact, after playing the Elder Scrolls Online for awhile we came upon an article in our news feed by Forbes. Here is an excerpt.

“In January I wrote a piece predicting that The Elder Scrolls Online was going to be the biggest video game disaster of the year. I wasn’t lambasting the game itself necessarily, as I’m sure there will be plenty of worse games out this year. It’s the combination of being a relatively average game, ie. one that doesn’t generate much excitement, with extremely high costs for players. When I wrote that piece there were rumors that TESO’s budget was $200M, but even if it was half that, they would still need legions of fans pumped enough to spend full price on the game, shell out for the monthly subscription fee, and pay for in-game microtransactions. - Paul Tassi, Forbes

In fact this excellent article is what placed Mr. Tassi firmly dead center in our news feed each day.  If you haven’t read it, and the article it refers to, please do.  The article, entitled “ ’The Elder Scrolls Online’ Should Choose Between $60 Up Front Or $15 A Month” is, in our opinion, dead on point.   When Star Wars The Old Republic went live after having spend an enormous budget, John Smedley suggested that it would be the last subscription only based game – he is close to correct.  While that fluke of nature, World of Warcraft (which we also play) is still subscription, increasinly few others are SUBSCRIPTION ONLY.  Times being what they are (at least in America) what the market demands any more is choice.  Turbine, the proverbial band wagon everyone was jumping on in the first place, has made a strong place for itself in the market by offering its customers choice – they can pay a subscription, as they go, a bit of both or not at all.  What is more it works.  The handwriting is on the wall friends.   Age of Conan, The Secret World, Star Wars the Old Republic, Everquest II, Champions Online and Star Trek Online all started out subscription only and now offer their customers a choice.

Mind you we would like to see Zenimax have a hit on its hands but we agree with Mr. Tassi that in the long run, Zenimax may have to make a choice whether it wants everything up front or monthly fee.  Without it, they will have to jump very high indeed to clear the bar already set by the offerings that are already out there – and as the past has shown us, a great IP only doesn’t gaurantee success.

See you online

Julie and Fran


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