The Elder Scrolls Online would be a 'lesser game' if free-to-play, Bethesda argues

"We're not trying to make a game that everybody who plays games will automatically buy," Bethesda said.

16

The Elder Scrolls Online is the rare MMO that will launch with a subscription fee. Surely, the company would attract a larger audience by going free-to-play? Bethesda VP Pete Hines defended his company's decision, saying that restricting the audience was intentional. "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."

Hines says that making TESO free-to-play would make it a "lesser game."

"We're not going to make a lesser game that might be more palatable," he told Gamespot. "We want to do the version that we think is the best game and the coolest experience. And that means putting a lot of people and a lot of content creators towards having stuff that comes our regularly; every four weeks, five weeks, six weeks. Big new stuff that you want to do.

The scale of the content will be much more significant than what other F2P MMOs are offering, Hines argued. "It feels like regular and consistent DLC releases," he added.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 12, 2014 7:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, The Elder Scrolls Online would be a 'lesser game' if free-to-play, Bethesda argues.

    "We're not trying to make a game that everybody who plays games will automatically buy," Bethesda said.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 7:31 AM

      I'm sure their tune will change when their subscriber numbers drop too low to maintain support for the game.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 7:33 AM

        The way the internet is treating this game, I'd be surprised it it ever rises high enough to maintain support.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 7:32 AM

      Looking forward to this game :D

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 7:45 AM

      "It is a certain kind of game. There's no shooter elements. There's no aliens."
      It's not elder scrolls gameplay either XD.
      And thats only one of the things that aren't elder scrolls in this game.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 7:45 AM

      The players will decide on this

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 8:03 AM

      for everyone complaining about it not being free to play.. all I can think is "because HUEHUEHUEHUEHUE".

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 8:11 AM

      I don't think it need(s/ed) to be F2P. There's certainly plenty of content and some interesting gameplay there. The problem is that $15/month after the $60. Having a persistent online world and content updates is no longer enough of a "feature set" to justify that additional cost, as it is not a unique or different feature anymore, and can be had in countless titles for little-to-no monetary investment.

      If Bethesda can show me how every 4 months worth of monthly fees is going to lead to me having an entire additional game's worth of content and enjoyment from ESO, I'll jump on board. But they can't, much like every other MMO on the market still charging a fee. Wildstar is going to face the same issue, IMO. And WoW, with its next expansion being still another 6+ months off (and $10 more expensive than normal) is in an even worse position to argue value.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 8:25 AM

        I want to see an MMO go to $5 a month. I think they would maintain a good subscriber base especially from people who already pay for another MMO, they'll sit on it as a secondary MMO they won't play all the time.

        I remember Sony Online doing the Station Pass with access to all their MMOs which I used to play Planetside, SWG, and some other hilarious top down shooter I would camp with the tank until I was the only tank left then own everyone else on the map. Most People can't play all the MMOs at the same time so it's more money overall.

        • reply
          March 12, 2014 8:33 AM

          i'd be on board for a $5/month MMO. i don't play enough to warrant $15.

          • reply
            March 12, 2014 12:05 PM

            I think a lot of people would pay $5 a month and maybe play a few hours which shouldn't be much an impact on their servers.

            You don't get the stain of being F2P (looks that SWTOR) and people would be more willing to play more than one MMO. I think there's incentive in being the second MMO for most people.

        • reply
          March 12, 2014 10:44 AM

          I'd be onboard at 5$/month too. 60$/year is enough to make an entirely new Skyrim every year and with profits, so anything more is just pure greed in my mind. And we all know they won't release enough content in a year to cover 1 Skyrim/year so either they try to bleed us from our money or they need to wake up to see reality...

        • reply
          March 12, 2014 11:05 AM

          Not really a MMO guy but why hasn't anyone ever gone for a "pay what you use" style scheme, with different tiers for different hours played per month?

          • reply
            March 12, 2014 11:25 AM

            Because you'd get people like myself who would do 100+ hours a month without batting an eye while screaming "SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK" and then a charge on your account that would be something I could only relate to when you go over on your cellphone data plan.

          • reply
            March 12, 2014 11:31 AM

            The first EverQuest did do something like that.

          • reply
            March 12, 2014 11:36 AM

            Isn't that how it works for some MMOs in some asian countries? You buy time cards?

            • reply
              March 12, 2014 11:46 AM

              yup. this is why asian MMOs are historically so grindy -- you're paying by the hour

        • reply
          March 12, 2014 1:33 PM

          The data from 'most' developers on the Steam Sale effect would seem to corroborate this view. And, I would agree. I'd easily put down $5/mo for an MMO I may only play 10hrs a week or less. Though, I guess I could also see there being room in the market for full priced subscription MMOs to be a primary game and then the f2p to be your secondary MMO. But, I think the f2p market will need to realize they're just not going to have the paid/paying user base to match their exceptations. f2p just won't ever get you to the peak of wow style numbers and revenue. So, we'd need to see f2p manage their development like that.

          Oh, ok, so f2p ends up being were we see more and faster innovation, but in rough form. It'll take the premium MMOs to refine it with full production values. I could see that working. But, then what dev would want to be developing the #2 slot?

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 8:13 AM

      Marking this for lols when it does go F2P in 12-18 months

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 8:31 AM

        that's being generous.

        • reply
          March 12, 2014 10:24 AM

          Really generous

          • reply
            March 12, 2014 11:33 AM

            12-18 months, From the console release date? I would contend that one of the major pitfalls of MMO releases starting with Warhammer online and stopping with SWTOR (so 4yrs? 5?) Would be that they haven't had as much accessibility to gain traction against the currently stagnating Blizzard powerhouse.

            With ESO we see it releasing on PC, MAC, Xbone, and PS4. There's already a massive Elder Scrolls fan-base that will buy it based on name alone. So the first 4-5 months are smooth sailing.

            Look at Final Fantasy 14, it has a $15 monthly fee, is accessible on just PC and PS3/4. No mention of F2P.

            I for one am not so convinced this will be another run of the mill 6 month failure.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 8:24 AM

      I'd be okay with that if they actually made it play like ES.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 8:25 AM

      Looking forward to the lesser version in 6 months

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 8:35 AM

      Forget subscriber numbers dropping, fucking beta numbers are dropping. No one I know wants to use their beta weekends any more at all. Bad bad sign.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 8:41 AM

        yep. i just got an email saying i can play as an Imperial this weekend and can't even be bothered to install it.

      • reply
        March 13, 2014 6:18 AM

        I played in two betas, the second one only because I was asked to provide some additional details about gameplay with my Macintosh setup (apparently they had reports of Mac Pro's with 680s crashing but I had no issue). I've played hundreds of hours of Elder Scrolls games going back to Daggerfall. And my fair share of WoW, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV and SWTOR (though I'll openly admit I am not an MMO guy and mostly played them to soak up the story). In my opinion the game was just boring, it's not any one thing that seems to be done badly. It's hard to finger it.

        I love the ES series, but really they are ocean wide and puddle deep, we make our own stories in those worlds. Here, in the MMO, you are so constrained (by the nature of most MMO gameplay), I think without that freedom the ES universe becomes a lot less exciting.

        I want to like it like I've liked WoW, and FF. It just doesn't feel like a very good Elder Scrolls game and it doesn't feel like a very good MMO. So where does that leave it?

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 8:38 AM

      Been playing in the weekend betas for months, and I'm not getting the hate for this game. Then again I think Thief is a great game and deserves an 85+, so obviously I'm not in tune with today's gamers.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 8:49 AM

        ESO is in a weird place because it is a little bit traditional MMO and a little bit Elder Scrolls. It doesn't really do a great job of being either of those games though. I personally enjoy it but I am not a big Elder Scrolls fan in general, I get the feeling most Elder Scrolls fans aren't liking the game as it has too many MMO trappings.

        Also its fighting an uphill battle from pretty bad marketing and some really terrible early Beta weekends. I went from thinking it was horrible a couple months ago to likely preordering depending on how this last beta weekend goes.

        • reply
          March 12, 2014 9:12 AM

          Yeah, I know what you're saying. The early beta weekends were pretty dreadful, and I'm not convinced the co-op experience is polished enough to where I'd like it, but I also went from "meh" to pre-ordering last weekend with GMG's 25% off.

          I can't shake the feeling that a lot of the negativity flying around stems from people spreading opinions based solely on their initial reaction when the game was first announced. I personally love Elder Scrolls games, but I also don't think of this as an Elder Scrolls game. It's an MMO based on the Elder Scrolls lore, with some good ideas about interesting quests and world exploration.

        • reply
          March 12, 2014 1:47 PM

          ESO feels like it'll end up being like SWTOR - where it's a pretty good massively single player game. Except it looks like there will be to crafting than most mmos. It does feel more like a traditional MMO than else though.

        • reply
          March 13, 2014 6:21 AM

          This is pretty much it. My experience in the betas hasn't been bad, just not exciting. The ES series is ocean wide and puddle deep, we make our own stories in those worlds. Here, in the MMO, you are so constrained. I think without that freedom the ES universe becomes a lot less exciting. I could see how some might like it, in fact more might have liked it if it were not an ES games with all the linage that comes with. I just don't see how marketing is going to be able to make this sell to classic Elder Scrolls fans nor MMO fans.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 11:32 AM

        I only played one beta and I didn't *HATE* it. I just didn't see anything at all that would get me to pay a subscription when there are so many other options out there that will satiate my gaming needs without a monthly fee.

        Admittedly I am becoming less and less the target audience. Old, don't have a lot of time, can't spend hours upon hours killing murlocs just to get a little ring, etc. In fact, I strongly prefer to play easier story based single player games that I can take at my own pace and get a better story driven experience out of than something to just waste my time.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 12:13 PM

        It's not terrible, it's just not really anything special. Feel like it missed the boat by about 3-5 years.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 1:56 PM

        The only breaker for me still is the combat. Hopefully the combat update w/ collision support is in this weekends beta.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 8:59 AM

      I only tried this for probably an hour but I have to say it does look pretty amazing graphically as for the gameplay well it felt like a reg MMO, probably have to play it for a long time and lvl to 10 at least to know how it really feels and plays.

      Yeah not sure if MMOs can afford not being F2P anymore, WOW may be the only one that can still pull it off.

      We shall see, personally I just want the next Skyrim, the next one should be the sweet spot I would think not that the last one did not own I really hope they go nutz with the next engine.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 9:24 AM

      The hate train rolls onward I guess. It's a fun game! I'm finding it surprisingly easy to brush off the most popular complaints.

      "I only play F2P" in my experience, these games are not only full of gratuitous amounts of children and trolls, but also I'm not a fan of being plied for a dollar every time I want to buy a healing potion. Either you're spending way more than $15 monthly on that game, or you're not getting the whole game, neither option works for me.

      "lol it doesn't play like Skyrim" it's an MMO. For an MMO, it plays incredibly fucking similar to Skyrim.

      "I quit after 2 minutes because I hit a bug during beta" you're too retarded to play this game, so you made the correct decision.

      "lol it's gonna suck because lol lol HUE lol posting for posterity #YOLO" yes F2P is also the correct answer for you, fly, be free, enjoy.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 9:38 AM

        What F2P games are you referring to here? My time with ESO feels a lot like my time with TERA, Neverwinter, Rift, etc. Except those games are free. I haven't seen any features behind locked doors requiring me to give money (though of course there are benefits to doing so).

        I feel like people respond to the F2P argument with these nebulous claims about the F2P sub-genre of MMOs, but never actually cite a specific game for what its doing wrong/annoying.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 9:36 AM

      Shacknews

      Andrew Yoon posted a new article, People are OK with 'lesser game,' Bethesda discovers.

      POST FROM THE FUTURE

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 9:59 AM

      People always remind us that WoW was buggy and shitty at launch and took a while to ramp up... but why did people stick with it through the hard times? What made it different from every MMO since, that people were so committed?

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 10:00 AM

      They made a bad move. Conan, Dungeons & Dragons, LoTR aren't small licenses but they barely ever had any success as generic MMOs. ES sorry, you're not going to do any better.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 10:26 AM

      such horseshit.

      They need to just admit that they know EOS core players will cough up cash for a retail copy. Once they exhaust that group they'll open up and make it F2P. Do some research on most any big IP name MMO's from the past several years and you'll see its a common revenue tactic.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 10:39 AM

      Its cool, your player base will be "lesser" too.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 11:33 AM

      So then I guess it's going to be a lesser game in like a year.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 11:45 AM

      What's the end-game looking like for the game? If they fail to keep people interesting it's not going to be successful.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 12:28 PM

      From everything I've been hearing about the game, they'll need to go F2P just to get people in the door.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 2:27 PM

      Has any MMO released with a model where they charge you full price for the game but don't charge $15 until four months in, folding the monthly cost into an upfront payment. That would be acceptable for me..that way if I get bored with the game I still got four months out of it.

      I guess a lot of mmo devs are worried that people will get bored of the game before four months and thus forcing the $60 upfront and the $15/month fee.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 2:53 PM

      Game shouldn't have been made in the first place. There's no audience for this.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 3:45 PM

      Yeah, because I've totally played every free-to-play out there!

      Or not.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 4:03 PM

      Because there's no middle ground between F2P and $200 to play for a year.

      • reply
        March 12, 2014 5:14 PM

        You've actually hit the nail on head, and I hadn't thought to put it terms like that, but you're right.

    • reply
      March 12, 2014 5:16 PM

      so hopefully all of this distraction is refocusing the single player elder scrolls team. :D