Bethesda Exec Defends Elder Scrolls Online's Subscription Model

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

Bethesda Exec Defends Elder Scrolls Online's Subscription Model

The Elder Scrolls Online Impressions

Bethesda's Pete Hines thinks that the experience offered by The Elder Scrolls Online's will be "worthy of a subscription."

While The Elder Scrolls Online has inspired more than its fair share of excitement since its announcement, there have still moments where Bethesda's plans for its new MMO left gamers feeling less than enthusiastic. The biggest of these was easily the revelation that the game would be employing a monthly subscription model, a move that many deemed foolhardy in an age where free-to-play seems to be quickly becoming the new standard. That being the case, with the game's April 4th PC launch swiftly approaching, Bethesda's Vice President of PR Pete Hines has offered a renewed defense of the game's subscription model.

"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. "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."

In other words, while the $14.99 subscription will be pricier than other MMORPGs, Bethesda will be using the additional funds to create and release regular, substantial content. According to Hines, the company is also prepared for it to take time to win over some gamers. "We're not trying to make a game that everybody who plays games will automatically buy," he said. "It is a certain kind of game. There's no shooter elements. There's no aliens. It is a massive, 'Go where you want, do what you want' game that we think offers the kind of experience that's worthy of a subscription."

Speaking as someone who was skeptical of The Elder Scrolls Online's subscription model, I will admit to feeling a bit heartened by Hines' sentiments. Don't get me wrong, I'll be waiting to see how the whole thing pans out before I dive in. That said, the fact that Bethesda seems to have worked patience into its strategy makes me feel a bit better about the game. What do you think? Has Hines' reasoning won you over or has ESO's subscription model completely turned you off to the franchise's next big chapter?

Source: GameSpot

Permalink

He can try to justify the model all he wants, but after having actually played the game, I came to a very firm conclusion that the game is not worth a subscription. At best I would buy it if it had a Buy-2-play model like Guild Wars 2 or was free-to-play. The game seems to be a very linear experience and I doubt the majority of the content will be worthwhile for more than one playthrough. The world is tiny.

After playing the beta I decided that I would not play the game as long as it's a subscription based game. I will wait til its model goes B2P or F2P and then give it a playthrough to the end to see the story. But I won't be subscribing to a single player RPG with a tacked on MMO element.

Final Fantasy XIV also has a subscription model even after the disastrous initial launching. They are making money.

You can justify subscription model only if you have a service to provide. It this case, service is the potential content that will come in the future. So here's the question: why would I want to pay for something that is not yet ready? Not even that; why would I want to pay for something that I know nothing about? Cable is a service, right? Or interner. I pay monthly for it and I know what I get every single time. What am I getting from this service? A DLC-ish type of content? Okay, what if I dont like it? Or what if I dont care for it? What then? I am certain no one will refund me. I mean there is no way that every single "content update" will appeal to everyone. And yet I have to pay for it. I dont have to pay for my neighbor's cable? Or his car insurance. Or his electric bills. Honestly, I just dont understand this model.

1) You have to pay 60$ to buy it
2) You pay 15$ a month to play it
3) It has a real money shop in game
4) Some content is locked behind a paywall (aka collectors edition)

It's pretty obvious they are milking it for more than its worth. After playing beta for 4 hours, I was so bored, I don't think I would be picking it up after it goes f2p 6 months from now.

Haters gonna hate no matter what. This weekend's beta is the latest build that's been previewed by news outlets, including the imperial race. I'll be there with bells on, and sword, shield, gauntlets, breastplate...you get the idea.

Hawkeye21:
1) You have to pay 60$ to buy it
2) You pay 15$ a month to play it
3) It has a real money shop in game
4) Some content is locked behind a paywall (aka collectors edition)

It's pretty obvious they are milking it for more than its worth. After playing beta for 4 hours, I was so bored, I don't think I would be picking it up after it goes f2p 6 months from now.

This is my problem with the whole thing as well. If you're asking for so many kinds of payments, you can't justify making people pay monthly at the same time. No game is worth putting in that much cash for. And from playing the Beta, I can say this game is decent, but not worth the obvious cash-grabbing.

Hawkeye21:
1) You have to pay 60$ to buy it
2) You pay 15$ a month to play it
3) It has a real money shop in game
4) Some content is locked behind a paywall (aka collectors edition)

It's pretty obvious they are milking it for more than its worth. After playing beta for 4 hours, I was so bored, I don't think I would be picking it up after it goes f2p 6 months from now.

Yeah, the second point was already too much for me. I've found no game worth $60 and monthly payment, and it's absolutely ridiculous to have a shop in game as well. I bet they just want to copy World of Warcraft, the game milked so much I don't even feel comfortable calling it a game any more.

Hines is a moron. You try to make the best game you can at a reasonable price, not tell us your opinion on what it's worth.

Except it's not even a subscription model, it's a buy-to-rent-to-pay-some-more model.

Even if they had a more reasonable payment model at this point though, I don't think it would help. The overwhelming impression I got from the people I know who've played the game was "meh", and they already seem to be bored of it. That's pretty shocking considering it isn't even out yet.

hahaha

let's talk again in a few months

i'll just play all these other games that i don't have to pay for twice, and they'll actually have neat stuff that makes sense with the design

They're going to switch models within a year, give or take. With so much monetization in the game even after the player buys the game and subscribes, combined with the pretty lackluster gameplay, I doubt it's going to beat even the Old Republic in player numbers.

I've seen this game in action. I wouldn't play it for free, and asking me to pay repeatedly for it is something I have zero problems declining.

Also, it you have to defend your choices to your potential customers you are doing it wrong. Just like how they needed to defend casting the new Lex Luthor.

Its your decision, deal with it. Don't feel obliged to defend it to people that are ignorant of all the information just because some of them throw a tantrum.

When the product is finished and released, it will succeed or fail based on your decisions, not how much bs you spin to the public. If you are gonna make a mediocre product, you are only making it harder to dig yourself out of it by having gone out of your way to defend it in the first place.

You should have people excited to hand over their money for your thing, not clicking on stories like this one just to see how you are gonna try and polish your turd.

I think the dealbreaker for me was the fact that you actually have to aim MELEE attacks with the crosshairs instead of it using hitboxes, in order to hide any issues with lag

this is also the same with magic and bows, although you won't notice anything wrong until you realize that shots won't hit UNLESS you are aiming straight at a target (as opposed to being able to say, shoot in an arc and hit something) and that attacks with range limits will fire in a straight line and then suddenly disappear

and then afterwards you find out that shots that were fired with crosshairs on target and weapon in range NEVER MISS even if the target moves to the side while the shot is in midair, unless the target has evasion bonuses which then means that those attacks will AUTOMATICALLY MISS on a bad roll even if you see the attack go through their character model

this makes no sense in either first or third person mode for melee, and severely limits all range of movement while also making melee combat feel really strange

the issues with how stealth feels (even if they had to make it work that way in order to be "balanced") don't even compare to the overall combat issues

all of the fancy graphics and polishing and lip syncing and paid actors in the world is not going to hide a bog standard MMO combat system pretending to be of the elder scrolls lineage, and actually is worse in some ways than just having an avatar autoattack a target without concerns about aiming

capcha: knock off

I'm fine with the subscription, if we do receive the kind of support and content Hines talks about. And quite frankly, I don't see how we could get that content if it isn't a subscription model. I don't see the attraction of free-to-play (other than the obvious) and I don't see how you could possibly develop a game with a seriously long-term plan for content updates which follows that model.

Having played two betas, I've gone from being sceptical to enthusiastic about the game, and cautiously optimistic about the subscription. I'm looking forward to release for a number of reasons.

This is my hope: that the subscription model leads to a steady stream of content for the foreseeable future, and that content justifies the subscription model.

AJey:
You can justify subscription model only if you have a service to provide. It this case, service is the potential content that will come in the future. So here's the question: why would I want to pay for something that is not yet ready? Not even that; why would I want to pay for something that I know nothing about? Cable is a service, right? Or interner. I pay monthly for it and I know what I get every single time. What am I getting from this service? A DLC-ish type of content? Okay, what if I dont like it? Or what if I dont care for it? What then? I am certain no one will refund me. I mean there is no way that every single "content update" will appeal to everyone. And yet I have to pay for it. I dont have to pay for my neighbor's cable? Or his car insurance. Or his electric bills. Honestly, I just dont understand this model.

However they try to justify it, the subscription model is, has been, and always will be solely about greed. It doesn't matter how good the game is either, it could be the best video game that ever has or ever will be made and it still would not be worth a subscription. The simple fact is, I paid money to buy this game, it is my possession, and it is the publisher's responsibility to ensure that it works in full now and in the foreseeable future, doesn't matter if it's an MMO or a single player game. The subscription model is the most blatantly obvious ripoff in the entire industry and no other industry could get away with selling their customers a product in full and then taking it away after a month or 2 unless you paid more.

I have no problems paying for a worthwhile subscription game. I actually prefer it over ftp item shop and paywalled games. I have been continuously subscribed to one or more of Asherons Call, Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraftin series for over 14 years.

But the key thing is "worthwhile" I also bailed on SWG, Rift, SWTOR, Horizons, LotRo, and a ton of others at the end of the first free month, deeming them not worth subscribing to. Of those the only ones I returned to finding a worthwhile ftp experience were Lotro and SWTOR. I can't escape the feeling having beta'd the game that TESO will be joining those two.

Now if only someone could manage to give me TES's world (the full real single player touch anything do anything version of it from Morrowing, Oblivion and Skyrim) paired with Asherons Calls monthly deep content and story patches. Then you would have a game I would pay for for 10 years.

faefrost:
I have no problems paying for a worthwhile subscription game. I actually prefer it over ftp item shop and paywalled games.

This game has FTP item shop and it has a paywall with pre-orders and unlocking all the classes. It's not the fact that this game is a subscription that's a problem but the fact that it abuses all 3 categories at the same time

When you have to go out and DEFEND your whateveritis you're doing, then there IS something wrong with it, otherwise no one would be complaining to this extent.

You have to BUY the game, pay a monthly FEE while also having IN-GAME purchases, and a race LOCKED AWAY in the collector's shit, which at the same time gave you a "be whatever side with whatever race" bonus. Yeah no, fuck you.

Nobody asked for this, and now your trying to justify it to us, no thanks, call me when you have a normal elder scrolls game, or fallout 4.

Come on.

You said, "the $14.99 subscription will be pricier than other MMORPGs,"

All MMORPGs that do have a sub fee, charge that, and they have been for 10+ years.
That's zero inflation in a decade. Try finding that on any other commodity in the marketplace today.

You say a subscription fee is fool-hardy, but I say it is foolhardy to ignore the elephant in the room: Blizzard's MMORPG behemoth - World of Warcraft (WoW)- which has continually boasted (for ten years in November 2014) high PAID subscription levels ($2.3 billion in subscription revenue reported in 2013.)

Seems like Bethesda and Zenimax are market savvy, taking a page from Blizzard's book. And I bet they will do quite well as a result of this smart business move.

The people who qq (cry) about it not being free to play can go satisfy themselves with lesser quality games...

Just saying.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't EA come up with the same types of arguments to justify The Old Republic's subscription model? I'm sure we all remember how that turned out...

I still don't see why the Elder Scrolls setting should have any type of multiplayer experience in the first place. One of the main reasons I like games like Morrowind and Skyrim so much is that I get to lose myself in the game world without having other players around to break the immersion. Getting killed by a Greater Bonewalker or dragon is one thing, but I'd rather not have an Elder Scrolls experience where I'm ganked by someone named "XxxGangtsavenom420xxX."

Whether the game's worth it or not, why wouldn't he try to convince people?

Obviously it's a controversial choice and in an industry where a lot of games rely on gamer approval, why would he not try to justify their controversial choice?

Is their subscription-model greedy? hell yes!

Is the decision a bad one because he feels the need to justify it? Not necessarily

FogHornG36:
Nobody asked for this, and now your trying to justify it to us, no thanks, call me when you have a normal elder scrolls game, or fallout 4.

If somebody asked for it, then why would he justify it?

You act like he should try to justify a move because no one asked for said move, which would be opposite of common sense/logic, all that jazz :)

I don't know either way about this game. I've been playing the beta and it's not really worth the 15$ a month to me personally, just my opinion. I do think they have a point with the f2p, all too often f2p becomes predatory practices that force the user to pay up or play a shitty version of the game. to compare, I've been playing marvel heroes since it's release, all in all I've spent around $100 on it. at $15 a month since release i'd have spent $135 dollars on it. it's not really a huge difference in money spent but it is less, and most of that money I spent was in chunks. I would play for a couple months, they did an ingame sale and i'd blow 20-40 bucks on stuff. also for the first few months the game was out it was almost unplayable. and I really liked not having any kind of pressure to log in and play $15 worth each month. I think a $7-$9 subscription rate is a little more sustainable but that's just my opinion any company worth it's salt is going test various price points till they find one that works. I am a little miffed at the $60 price tage on top of the sub fee.

using WOW as an example is a bad idea. it's like saying nike charges $300 for a sneaker so that's what our brand new sneaker company should charge for sneakers. seeing so many new mmos dying because of development costs or just not being able to draw enough audience your mind should not go to what wow does because they are the traditional model but it's the traditional model from 10 years ago. the games industry and pay models have evolved greatly since then lets not forget when wow launched aol was still a thing. it is kind of an outdated game.

GAunderrated:

faefrost:
I have no problems paying for a worthwhile subscription game. I actually prefer it over ftp item shop and paywalled games.

This game has FTP item shop and it has a paywall with pre-orders and unlocking all the classes. It's not the fact that this game is a subscription that's a problem but the fact that it abuses all 3 categories at the same time

The only major thing in the collectors edition is the Imperial RACE, not CLASS.

Czann:
Final Fantasy XIV also has a subscription model even after the disastrous initial launching. They are making money.

Well they do have the asian market to fall back onto.

Capcom also has subscriptions for its monster hunter multyplayer segments (on consoles, not sure if the handhelds had subscriptions) in all of their MH games in asia and people pay for it, while they had to make the multyplayer parts free here in the west.

You cant really compare that asian market with the western market... two completly different beasts.

And we have plenty of examples showing that a subscription model is simply not feasable for MMOs nowadays.. bigger names then this offshoot of the elder scrolls series that isnt even made by bethesda themselves but rather a 3rd party have failed with subscriptions (TOR being the most famous one, or Warhammer online)

You see players of the Elder scrolls series wich is completly single player arent necesary looking for a MMO.. so who do you have left? Fans of ES wich are ALSO mmo fans... because all other fantasy mmo players allready have an oversaturated market with the emperror sitting on its golden (yet slowly decaying) subscription throne ontop of the fast ocean of f2p fantasy mmos. So why would fans of MMOs pay a monthly subscription if you have options like guildwars 2 which almost does the exact same thing as ESO or WoW wich will get ANOTHER expansion this year that adds even more features to the massive list that game allready has going for it.

14.99 dollars a month just for the setting and aesthetics? No thank you.

I might get a subscription, if I could afford it.
Currently my monthly expenses are going into maintaining my minecraft server.

Still looks better then MMO I've played. Just being able to PvP in an elder scrolls game is enough to make me a happy customer. I'm sorry guys, it doesn't look that bad to me.

The thing that annoys me is that all Sub based MMO's roll out the same arbitrary $15 a month as if it's some kind of unwritten law.

Why not $5 a month? would be a lot more reasonable. Or even better, why not $15 a month for the first couple months and then drop it down to $5 a month for those loyal enough to keep subbing?

There's dozens of different ways they could structure it. Give the customer options!

Flutterguy:
Still looks better then MMO I've played. Just being able to PvP in an elder scrolls game is enough to make me a happy customer. I'm sorry guys, it doesn't look that bad to me.

Its not a "elder scrolls" game thought.. its an MMO with MMO mechanics.. complete with standard mmo cooldown skill mechanics and theme park gameplay.

The combat system is nothing like Oblivion or Skyrim so i kinda dont get your comparison here. I mean if the combat system wasnt just a window dressed free target version of every other mmo fighting system out there maybe.. but right now its nothing but hitting your cooldown abilities, and clipjump through your enemies while wildly swinging (clicking) your weapons at your enemy.

Heck TERA does a better job at it.

ESO does nothing unique or interesting enough to warant 15 dollars a month.

Now its still your money and all but dont try to sell the game for more than its really worth, and im afraid that is something that Cenimax is going to have to experirience for themselves... this game is not worth the subscription to most players.

Nytkin:
Come on.

You said, "the $14.99 subscription will be pricier than other MMORPGs,"

All MMORPGs that do have a sub fee, charge that, and they have been for 10+ years.
That's zero inflation in a decade. Try finding that on any other commodity in the marketplace today.

Just saying.

The cost of maintaining an MMO is not constant over the years. As the years pass, there is less and less need for glitch fixes and optimization. You don't need as much manpower to service the game. Look at Guild Wars. It's more or less automated now, so any new money they receive is almost 100% profit.

Just saying.

I am getting more and more miffed by the situation every day. I've read somewhere that Beth will be charging the dirty europeans outside of UK 13 Euros/month. At the currect currency value I'll stand to lose ~20 SEK (3 USD/2GBP) every month just by living in the wrong country, compared to UK and US.

Might not sound much, but still unfair since the Swedish game price is around 78 USD.

Think I'll be cancelling my pre-order, or at least downgrading it to a standard edition.

Yeah the problem is that the product is just shitty. The graphics and animations reminded me of Oblivion not Skyrim.

Graphical quality aside the artwork was bland, and somewhat... not good. The models for head-piece armor made a human character look like a gnome in WoW they were so over-sized (only a slight exaggeration).

There isn't even real magic, there is barely any real differentiation between classes, and the whole experience is just kind of boring. I have no idea what beta the people who have said good things about this game were playing.

My initial impression was "well it looks shitty, but at least it also runs poorly."

I love the Elderscrolls and I love MMOs. I am the target audience for this game and they fucked it up so bad I wouldn't play for free, nevermind $15 a month.

I guess it depends on where you are, I'm sort of burned out on a lot of the MMOS I play so I'm looking forward to this quite a bit after having done the beta. It is not great, but it's not terrible either. The combat reminds me a lot of "Neverwinter", and largely turned into what it is because of so many people complaining about "tab targeting", I think in the end ESO will in part demonstrate why that wasn't a bad idea, while remaining fairly functional in it's own right.

As far as how much it costs, when you consider what a lot of other "free" games oftentimes cost if your not turning them into a lifestyle and want to play them at a high level, $15 a month isn't bad. To put it into perspective you could play ESO for three months for the cost of buying one of the flagship bundles in STO (if you wanted the console set).

I have not seen ESO's cash shop yet (though I haven't really looked) but if that's true I admit this kind of double dipping DOES irk me, especially if they wind up deciding to sell things like inventory spaces and other things that have an actual in-game effect.

That said I don't generally care what most people wind up thinking, when I play it for real I can make my own decisions. If I have a problem I'll drop my opinion on the forums, and if I don't see a good chance of improvement I'll just cancel my subscription and move on. ESO has a lot of direct competition coming up in the near future, I've also been looking at games like "Wildstar" (even if I think the graphics are a little too cartoony and stylized... even more so than WoW).

Why does he feel the need to defend it? People have already made up their mind.

It's pretty fucked up you have to "defend" a subscription model now, so many people live in a fantasy world where you can get something expensive for free. And they even feel entitled to it...

Subscription fee is the ONLY way to have a successful MMO of quality and longevity though constant development, it's a question of elementary school math. If you don't think the price tag is worth it you move on and get something else, not demand it's given to you for free -.-

Getting that off my chest I'll also say I've been in ESO beta for a while now and I have no desire to play the game at all.
If it was free tomorrow I still wouldn't play it.

I think we can all agree that the item shop and the paywall are inexcusable, but this jumping on the MMO F2P train THAT DOESN'T EXIST it's starting to piss me off:x

Seems like the gist of this is "Give us money, and I'll give you these questionable promises!"

My problem with ESO has been around since I learned about the collectors edition and the in game real money shop. They're milking this thing like an 8 armed man trapped in a dairy, and its not even OUT yet. What does that tell you about their hopes for the game? Make as much cash, as quickly as possible, free-to-play in 12 months.

I'll be honest, I haven't played it. Some people seem to like it, some people really hate it. No one seems to be deeply in love with the game, spouting hyperbolic gibberish about how it will change everything (at least no one who doesn't work for their marketing department).

Really, that's the other problem for me. When you boil it down, its a hotkey based 3rd/1st person MMO, just like all the rest. The Elder Scrolls universe alone is not even close to getting me interested in another MMO, especially one that looks so generic and bland.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here