For as much as E3 2013 answered a lot of our questions about the next-gen – specifically price point, general release date, and features – there were even more questions left unanswered. One that not too many people picked up on was the question of MMO pricing on consoles, and how that would factor into the PS4 and Xbox One‘s subscription-only online services. As we later learned, such issues will be handled on a case-by-case basis, but, as more and more MMOs begin to enter the console space, the hope is that some patterns will emerge.
Take The Elder Scrolls Online, for example — one of this year’s most highly anticipated MMO releases. TESO, like many of the multiplatform MMO’s will deploy specific restrictions based on the console, restrictions that we suspect are set by the platform holder not developer ZeniMax Online Studios.
For PS4, The Elder Scrolls Online players are in the clear: the MMO will not require a PS Plus subscription. ZeniMax Online Studios Game Director Matt Firor confirmed the news in a Q&A session on the PlayStation Blog earlier today.
The Elder Scrolls Online on Xbox One, however, will require an Xbox Live Gold account for online play. That means gamers will need to pay TESO‘s monthly subscription rate of $14.99 on top of the $59.99 annual fee for Xbox Live Gold.
Unfortunately, Bethesda wouldn’t say why there’s a disparity between the console versions, only that there will be one. The good news is that there is plenty of time between now and The Elder Scrolls Online‘s release date for gamers to make their decision. In fact, the console versions of the MMO have yet to receive officially release dates, although we suspect they will follow shortly after the PC version’s April 4th release.
Furthermore, it appears that, at least for the time being, MMOs on Sony‘s platform will operate outside of the PS Plus pay wall, while games on the Xbox will require a Gold subscription of Live. To be fair, The Elder Scrolls Online is one of the rare MMOs still operating under a subscription-based model and not a free-to-play one, so they’re swimming against the current anyway, but hopefully Microsoft changes their policies for MMOs in the future.
Which platform do you plan on playing The Elder Scrolls Online on? Do you think Microsoft will every let online games function outside of the Xbox Live Gold pay wall?
The Elder Scrolls Online releases April 4, 2014 for the PC. PS4 and Xbox One release dates have not yet been announced.