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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] Elder Scrolls Online: ESO’s Risky Business

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108 posts found

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/18/08
Posts: 1146

8/22/13 11:09:05 AM#21

This is the standard business model for several years now:

  1. Release with a box price and a monthly sub.
  2. Earn as much money as you can until server populations drop to dangerously low levels.
  3. Convert to freemium/B2P/F2P.
  4. Profit.
AOC, LOTRO, D&DO, TERA, SWTOR, STO, EQ2, Rift, TSW, etc. etc. Just wait a year or two and we will be able to add Wildstar and TESO to the list.

Camelot Unchained Backer
DAOC [retired]: R11 Cleric R11 Druid R11 Minstrel R9 Eldritch R6 Sorc R6 Scout R5 Healer


Novice Member

Joined: 7/24/13
Posts: 77

8/22/13 11:09:14 AM#22
Originally posted by Oberholzer
People that burn through content will never think there's enough to warrant a sub. Also there's so many options folks are constantly lured to other games as well. It is seeming the days of playing one game for years is dead. I kind of miss having a home if that makes any sense.

"in some cases", read


Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 3591

8/22/13 11:15:05 AM#23

I salute Zenimax for taking this risk !


At best, the game will be good enough to keep a sufficient number of subscribers hooked for quite a few years.

At worst, we'll have one more good quality F2P game in a year or so.


But success will not be a trivial matter in the current market. If ESO is a half-baked effort, it will lose subs in record time. It looks like 2014 is shaping up to be a helluva year for MMORPG's, lol


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/18/07
Posts: 222

8/22/13 11:16:42 AM#24

 sub scription is good but   more options is better, discounts for haveing adds or filling out  questionaires every day or so.


say we have a copper model axcess its free but your limited by time to say 1 hour every3 hours, limited bankspace ect ctera and charactor spaces

silver 10 dollars a month same limits as copper except  time limit is 4 hours every7 hours

gold unlimited time no restrictions 15 dollars a month

and a  20 dollar  platinum model which  allows you to access all adventure packs and expansions for free and you get some  station cash to buy some fluff on top of queue priority

Your friends if on copper/silver  can play as long as their grouped with you up to x2 times the models  time limit

now say they also offer 5 dollars off those models if you have to listen to adds when you login maybe 10 off if you also fill out some questionaires even more if you buy something from their partners

sounds great to me they get their cash, which supports good expansions and support

and we get options add in stuff like player studios and keep the cash shop limited to fluff asnd theyre rolling in cash and much more likely to do expensive things like more models more zones  and on and on


If you answer questionaires  and listen to adds you can play alot for free, now maybe listening to adds at  loging wouldnt be enough  so you have to listen to one every hour or so im not talking about a video suddenly popping up covering the screen but if you ignore the flashing add button for a time  not so nice things happen like i dk you med slower or heal slow and eventually it logs you out


Novice Member

Joined: 8/21/13
Posts: 5

8/22/13 11:17:04 AM#25
The subscription model is just win-win for players and developers. I do feel however that many players have a hard time seeing the benefit. Especially when a month or two may pass without much content while waiting for a huge one.

I think even straight subscription games could offer in-game points of some type every month the subscription continues. The points could be used for in-game items or character services. Much like a mandatory $15 in a cash shop a month, but without the immersion break of a true cash shop. Hell, give the players these points weekly so they're always reminded they're getting something for their sub.

I understand the value of my subscription so I'm fine without something like that. But I can't help but think many players would tolerate a subscription more easily for it.

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/16/12
Posts: 756

8/22/13 11:25:37 AM#26
I don't get it Wildstar is praised for its p2p and ESO is frowned at it seems on this site. All I see in Wildstar is trying to recreate the glory days of WoW. I think both will do good but console players might not want to pay for a sub for ESO. Not too much of ESO has been shown, so hope they have content to justify a sub.

Novice Member

Joined: 8/21/13
Posts: 5

8/22/13 11:29:29 AM#27
I can't help but wonder if giving players some kind of currency every month they maintain a subscription would cause more people to tolerate it. Give it to them weekly even.

The currency would be used for maybe one piece of top-end gear a month or a mount or crafting supplies.

I believe the subscription model is the best and I don't need this sort of thing to convince me. But I do wonder if it'd help quiet the anti-sub crowd. Though I may be forgetting they just want free content.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/20/06
Posts: 1083

"Denial does not change reality."

8/22/13 11:42:23 AM#28

TESO will eventually go freemium, as do all other theme parks games, when the subscriber numbers get low enough. How soon depends on the quality, depth and frequency of added content. Those that do not want to pay a subscription will just have to wait. Waiting costs F2P gamers nothing. Those who will be in game at launch will at least have some time to enjoy the game with out an intrusive cash shop.

The initial box sales and subscriptions will allow the developers to recover a bulk of invested money and maybe even turn a profit before going freemium. This seems too be the most financially advantageous business path for theme park MMO's. When I hear reports that MMO's that have gone freemium doubled or tripled their income, I am relatively sure it is in comparison to the lowest population numbers in the game (just before going freemium).


Novice Member

Joined: 10/25/11
Posts: 292

8/22/13 11:57:39 AM#29
All these posts about the sub model coming back are premature.  Let's see where these games are at in a year to determine if this is true.  Just because a couple of games announce they are sub does not mean subs are back.  In fact, subs seem to be dead at this point as the quality of the games have gone signifigantly up.

Elite Member

Joined: 4/20/05
Posts: 1227

8/22/13 12:05:09 PM#30
Originally posted by meddyck

This is the standard business model for several years now:

  1. Release with a box price and a monthly sub.
  2. Earn as much money as you can until server populations drop to dangerously low levels.
  3. Convert to freemium/B2P/F2P.
  4. Profit.
AOC, LOTRO, D&DO, TERA, SWTOR, STO, EQ2, Rift, TSW, etc. etc. Just wait a year or two and we will be able to add Wildstar and TESO to the list.



Novice Member

Joined: 3/03/13
Posts: 381

Will consume your soul, yet stay crunchy in milk

8/22/13 12:05:13 PM#31

ESO aside, because Im not interested in playing another Themepark style MMO, Ive prefer the Subscription model. $15mo for unlimited access is a great deal. .50 a day to play any time I want. You got my Sub.


F2P +Cash Shops Im not fond of because it usually turns into a B2W game, or at the very least a "Buy to even enjoy" game.

The only way I would accept a CS game was if the items were only cosmetic/fluff and you werent slammed with Ads.


What I really hate is Digital/Box Price for MMOs. Yeah sure you get "30 days Free" of gameplay, but so freaking what! If the game sucks you just blew $65 and the game becomes a brick because you cant do anything with it.

If I go buy Skyrim I can play it 3 days, 30 days, 3 years or 30 years. I dont pay more unless I buy DLC/Expansions. And if I dont like it, I can trade it or sell it.


I would like to see all MMOs at Release be- Free 7 Day Trial then Membership/Subscription for extended access.

Bringer of Eternal Darkness and Despair, but also a Nutritious way to start your Morning.

Games Played: Too Many

  User Deleted
8/22/13 12:15:18 PM#32
Originally posted by kabitoshin
I don't get it Wildstar is praised for its p2p and ESO is frowned at it seems on this site. All I see in Wildstar is trying to recreate the glory days of WoW. I think both will do good but console players might not want to pay for a sub for ESO. Not too much of ESO has been shown, so hope they have content to justify a sub.

Wildstar is praised for its subscription, because it is worth playing and has the level of content to demand a subscription. ESO hasn't exactly been well received and is using a single player IP. Console players aren't going to go for the subscription fee. They should have been smart enough to use the B2P model, considering how much they already borrowed from GW2. Time and time again Zenimax has shown outright ignorance regarding their target audience and what they're looking for. 


Novice Member

Joined: 3/21/10
Posts: 26

8/22/13 12:23:18 PM#33
I have not seen a good F2P MMO yet, not a single one the only that have been decent were P2P before they went F2P.

Novice Member

Joined: 10/22/09
Posts: 308

8/22/13 12:54:41 PM#34
I'll never get tired of paying for something I want. People who think the sub model is doomed well they need to think again. This is coming from an mmorpg developers dream consumer that buys every major AAA release to try for themselves and sub's to more then one frequently.

I do enjoy F2P games as well.
But like I said I don't mind paying for something I like and I know there are millions of gamers out there like me!

Novice Member

Joined: 10/22/09
Posts: 308

8/22/13 12:55:53 PM#35
I'll never get tired of paying for something I want. People who think the sub model is doomed well they need to think again. This is coming from an mmorpg developers dream consumer that buys every major AAA release to try for themselves and sub's to more then one frequently.

I do enjoy F2P games as well.
But like I said I don't mind paying for something I like and I know there are millions of gamers out there like me!

Novice Member

Joined: 8/14/09
Posts: 20

8/22/13 12:56:29 PM#36
i can understand a subscription model at 10-15 a month or 60 dollars for the game.  what i don't understand is $60 for the box + 10-15 every month after.  basically, if you don't like the game, you spent 60 dollars for a game you were let down on. let's face it, most mmorpgs these days are one disappointments after another.
antilegit Xfire Miniprofile

Elite Member

Joined: 5/14/07
Posts: 9083

I believe in life before death... So dont forget to enjoy it while you still can.

8/22/13 1:07:18 PM#37
Subscription models only work in these days if the game is clearly better then all those f2p games.. just shows the developers are confident.

Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)


Elite Member

Joined: 6/10/09
Posts: 6989

8/22/13 1:50:43 PM#38

Garrett, I'm sorry but this is just a really one-dimensional pandering article you wrote.  It almost feels like you guys, I read Mike Bs article as well, are hopping on the hipster bandwagon.

You mention some really lackluster F2P models, and make your P2P pitch with them, but you didn't contrast them to more attractive sub-free models and games that WS and TESO will have to compete with.  I'll give FFXIV a pass because I think Squeenix actually does know its playerbase and can operate on niche sub revenues.  WS and TESO, no way.

So you have Rift, Tera, and GW2 - all sub-free models of a similar vein in that you get access to all the content, the cash shops are entirely optional, and you can earn "cash shop" items or game time by playing the game.  WS and TESO will have to contend with those titles, not Neverwinter, or Ultima Forever (isn't that an iOS title).  That's like saying EQN should worry about Crystal Saga.

You don't mention that while some F2P titles bring up payment, so do sub models.  If you go to one of their websites there is a basically a "pay first and pay now and keep paying" to continue to even look at the game.  Not only that but most every sub model has some sort of alternative revenue system - RMT for Gold (PLEX), cash shop, DLC fees (box fees, xpac fees), and DLC upgrades (pre-order bonus packs, digital collectors editions, etc).

Also left out is the consideration why P2P got panned in the first place: the incredible advantage those with more time have, the time sinks and drop rates that keep us subbing longer, the slow update pace despite the "predictable" revenue stream, and the fact that most devs charge for content updates along with the sub.

I think there is definitely a place for P2P, especially in niche titles like EVE or the upcoming CU.  But overall I think the article could have done the topic much more justice rather than glossing over some of the deeper aspects.


No one has as many friends as a man with many cheeses!

  MikeB Community Manager

Joined: 5/27/09
Posts: 5616

8/22/13 1:56:03 PM#39
Originally posted by Torvaldr

Garrett, I'm sorry but this is just a really one-dimensional pandering article you wrote.  It almost feels like you guys, I read Mike Bs article as well, are hopping on the hipster bandwagon.

What "hipster bandwagon" are you referring to? I must say, I'm quite curious!

Michael "MikeB" Bitton
Community Manager
Twitter: @eMikeB


Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/03/08
Posts: 1310

The more you know, the more you know you don't know.

8/22/13 1:57:06 PM#40

The quality of the content and game will be great as long as the sub payment model is in place. As with other titles and if f2p is ever implemented, the quality and quantity of content will taper off and then slowly end.

Frankly, you are going to get what you PAY FOR.

Let's party like it is 1863!

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