I’ve long been on the record saying The Elder Scrolls games rock, with Oblivion and Skyrim swapping places on my “favorite games of all time” list upon the latter’s release. So, hearing Bethesda say last week that The Elder Scrolls Online will require a $14.99 monthly subscription wasn’t surprising, but it was a sad realization. Would-be Xbox One and PS4 owners could be even more distressed, as they’ll have to pay the annual Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus fee on top of that in order to play any game online. Or will they?
Speaking to the Official Xbox Magazine in the UK, Bethesda’s Pete Hines said his company has inquired with Microsoft about letting Xbox One owners play The Elder Scrolls Online even if they’re not Xbox Live Gold subscribers. The request, while interesting, flies in the face of every online-multiplayer policy Microsoft has held dear for more than six years, so it’s not likely to be granted.
With that said, Microsoft has been in mind-changing mood as of late, so who knows what might happen. Maybe you will be able to play The Elder Scrolls Online without Xbox Live Gold. Here’s the recap of Hines’ quote:
[W]hen I’m playing Call of Duty online I don’t feel like I’m paying my monthly Xbox Live sub for Call of Duty – I’m just paying it because that’s a thing that I do, and whatever game I’m playing at the time is the one that benefits.
Having said that, we have been in talks with Microsoft about that very thing, and seeing whether or not there’s any room to change their minds about that, for folks who are only paying The Elder Scrolls Online and don’t want to pay for an Xbox Live Gold subscription, just to pay the Elder Scrolls Online.
The answer right now is that’s the way it works, but it’s something that we’re aware of and we keep pushing on, to see if there’s something that can be done. We’ll let you know if there’s movement there.
Frankly, I think the chances of Microsoft caving to Bethesda’s request to allow people to play The Elder Scrolls Online without Xbox Live Gold are slim to none. Microsoft’s in the Xbox One business (and any business, for that matter) to make money. On the outside chance they could arrange a back-end deal whereby they receive an increased percentage of microtransaction fees or DLC purchases, it may happen. Outside of that, though, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to play The Elder Scrolls Online without Xbox Live Gold.
With that said, what do you think about Bethesda’s announcement that it’ll cost $14.99 per month to play The Elder Scrolls Online on Xbox One and PS4? Let us know in the comments section below. Is that fee too high for a console MMO? Should there be a fee at all? Should Bethesda explore the free-to-play model, or would that interrupt the overall immersion offered by The Elder Scrolls games? Do you think you should be able to play The Elder Scrolls Online without Xbox Live Gold?