There was a huge variety of exciting announcements at E3 and many members of the gaming press had their first opportunity to sample the world of The Elder Scrolls Online, however it’s not all good news. The question on everyone’s lips “Will The Elder Scrolls Online be free-to-play?”. If you asked me a week ago, I would have said yes. The current success of pay-to-play titles is under question and even the biggest names in the P2P genre have been transferring to alternate subscription models. However, after an interview with President of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida, I’m fully expecting The Elder Scrolls Online to be pay-to-play on the PC platform.
“I apologize for the financial burden on our users, but on PS4 it’ll also provide early access to beta versions, free games and discounts like on PS3 and PS Vita. In addition to that PS Plus members will receive for free a special edition with slightly reduced functions of DriveClub.”
“While direct competition in real time won’t be possible [without PS Plus] for instance in the case of DriveClub, asynchronous online gameplay and receiving data from other players will still be free of charge.”
Nothing unexpected there. To expect a console game to feature any form of free multiplayer is asking a lot in the current economical climate surrounding the gaming industry. However, it was another quote that has led me to believe The Elder Scrolls Online will be pay-to-play.
When asked about the PS Plus requirements for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn & The Elder Scrolls Online he said:
“You will need it to enjoy online multiplayer. This will also depend on the judgement by the publishers, and there will be some free to play titles that you’ll be able to play without needing a PS Plus subscription, like PlanetSide 2 and DC Universe Online.”
PlanetSide 2 and DC Universe are both currently available as free-to-play PC MMO games so it’s not surprising to see the same payment model on the Playstation 4. However, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn will be a subscription-based MMO game, leaving The Elder Scrolls Online as the only game mentioned that hasn’t already confirmed the financial model. He did say that publishers will be responsible for the final choice but I think these statements all but confirm The Elder Scrolls Online as pay-to-play.
Update: It has now been officially confirmed. The Elder Scrolls Online is Pay-To-Play.