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Elder Scrolls Online is one of the most talked about games now. Yet we know neither the release date nor any other information, but, there are a lot of rumors about the game. An unknown source has told us that the game may be Free to Play (F2P). Well, let’s discuss this question.
Some information about the so-called Free to Play model
Free to Play means that all players can play the game for free, without paying a regular subscription fee. But F2P MMORPGs are not absolutely free. You must understand that at the end of the day a game is made in order to make the developers a profit. It is a business and if the game exists it must generate revenue. That’s why high level F2P games aren't absolutely free. For example players will have to buy updates with new content. Many F2P games tend to rewards those with the biggest wallets rather than the most skill. Now you know that the so-called “Free to Play” model is not absolutely free. FTP and Subscription-based games both require money. They just use different ways of getting it.
Now this is a serious question. If we assume that TES MMORPG will be a huge and long term project the answer is “No”. Elder Scrolls Online will hardly use F2P model. There are several reasons:
Subscription-based games generate more revenue in the long term, but to justify this such projects must also be extensive and progressive. Only an interesting game can stimulate players to pay a regular fee and players have to feel that it's worth paying. Elder Scrolls Online will be a huge long term project. There is no doubt that the game will also be innovative. From these two points alone it's unlikely that it will be F2P.
The F2P model is often used because it is easier to attract new players and for obvious financial reasons is a more attractive option for some people. But we do not think that TES Online will have problems with new subscribers. TES is a popular franchise and many people around the world are eagerly awaiting its release. Popularity is another one of the main reasons for using a Subscription model in ESO.
If Elder Scrolls Online uses a subscription-based model ZeniMax will guarantee further game developments, meaning, we will see quality updates and interesting content post release. Developers will be able to create high quality updates because subscription-based games generate more revenue. More revenue means better content and updates. The MMO leader, World of Warcraft, is not free to play. That’s why new WOW updates are usually great.
Final overview Elder Scrolls will most likely use a Subscription method because it generates more revenue and allows them to maintain and develop high quality game. But Bethesda and ZeniMax will have to do their best to stimulate players to pay a regular fee. What is your opinion?