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Bethesda seeking exemption from online multiplayer charges

Bethesda seeking exemption from online multiplayer charges

Wed 28 Aug 2013 11:05am GMT / 7:05am EDT / 4:05am PDT
OnlinePublishing

Pete Hines says consumers shouldn't have to pay twice

Last week, Bethesda's contentious decision to make The Elder Scrolls Online a subscription model MMO, even on console, made it few friends. Not only did the move to charge a monthly fee seem to fly in the face of conventional wisdom and market shifts, it meant that players who wanted to experience the expanses of Tamriel with friends on console would be paying twice to do so - once to Bethesda and once to the owner of their platform of choice.

Speaking to Official Xbox Magazine at Gamescom last week, Bethesda's Pete Hines has stirred more controversy by suggesting that it's Microsoft and Sony who should be budging in the battle of subscription wills, asking for exemption from the rules for the forthcoming fantasy title.

"We feel like most people such as yourself currently pay that subscription not to pay a game, but to play all games online," Hines explained. "So in that sense, when 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."

Hines may have explicitly referred to XBL, but the situation is the same for PlayStation Plus, despite Sony showing some more flexibility in that regard, having bent the rules for DC Universe Online. That game won't require players to be subscribed to the Sony service, but so far Bethesda aren't having the same luck.

10 Comments

Peter Law
QA Developer

42 2 0.0
I thought you didn't need PS+ to play online for the PS3?


So many "pay(s)" in this article that should be "play(s)"

Posted:A year ago

#1

Spencer Franklin
Concept Artist

93 124 1.3
@Peter
You don't... Not sure what this article is referring to. I have never had a PS+ account, and I can play all my online games... and Netflix/Hulu etc... with no problem. I have never understood why XBL charges a fee, so that you can simply access your online service. I could understand if it was XBL servers and such..but Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and all the rest (which I can also access fee free through my Apple TV/Roku and Blu Ray player) don't require anything but my standard internet connection. So why again does Microsoft charge for this? It's not like people are using their Microsofts bandwidth to gain access... are they?

Posted:A year ago

#2

Germán Vázquez
Executive Producer

35 16 0.5
@Peter and Spencer
The way the article presents it is a little confusing but it refers to the PS4 version of DC Universe Online that will launch with the system, for the PS4 you will need the PS+ to play online gaming just like in XBL. This seem it wont be the case with the PS3 but for the new generation you will have to pay for online gaming with Sony and Microsoft. The difference is that since its a SOE game DC Universe will allow you to play without the need of a PS+ account.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Spencer Franklin
Concept Artist

93 124 1.3
mmm, according to Sony (can't find the recent article) PS+ is not required, but an option to the publishers if they want to use it. I won't need it for any of my TV/movie applications (Hulu/Netflix etc..). I again don't see why a fee should be charged unless the services are directly accessing their servers. Otherwise, it should be no different than me accessing the same services through any of my other media devices or on my personal computer. It would be like Dell or HP charging me a fee to access the internet through my computer... what sense does that make?

Posted:A year ago

#4

Al Nelson
Producer

32 47 1.5
After working on 2 MMO's in a row, including the first on PS3, I have strong opinions. Be careful Bethesda.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Al Nelson on 28th August 2013 11:04pm

Posted:A year ago

#5

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

904 1,342 1.5
If Bethesda is worried about the paywalls of XBL and PS+ why don't they just lower or get rid of their online subscription fees on consoles? They could still charge for in-game items and modes but I don't think they should expect Microsoft and Sony to cave just for them to also charge gamers. Personally I think the only exception to the paywall on consoles that should be allowed is for f2p games. For those it shouldn't matter if you are a paying member of XBL or a free member. But obviously the suits at the top don't agree.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,154 941 0.8
If Bethesda is worried about the paywalls of XBL and PS+ why don't they just lower or get rid of their online subscription fees on consoles? They could still charge for in-game items and modes but I don't think they should expect Microsoft and Sony to cave just for them to also charge gamers. Personally I think the only exception to the paywall on consoles that should be allowed is for f2p games. For those it shouldn't matter if you are a paying member of XBL or a free member. But obviously the suits at the top don't agree.
Probably because lower prices could damage Bethesda and the game, whereas the pay wall only benefits Sony.

Yet another reason why I believe paying to play online twice (ISP then console manufacturer charge) is wrong. In a sense, you'll be paying a third time to use the Internet.

Something I don't agree with on Bethesda's side however is paying for a full price game that you'll have to pay for again using a subscription model. So, in a sense, there will be a fourth price to pay =|

A bit messy really.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 29th August 2013 10:10am

Posted:A year ago

#7
I guess its too late for Bethesda to F2P it heheh

Posted:A year ago

#8

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

904 1,342 1.5
@Dr. Chee

If the game does poorly in the beginning such as DC Universe Online then they will absolutly go to F2P. But it's all about the numbers,

Posted:A year ago

#9

Sasha Yelesin
Student

54 34 0.6
It's my understanding that The Elder Scrolls Online has microtransations on top of the subscription. I can't imagine many players paying that much without the added cost of Xbox Live and PS+. I think this is going to bomb and Bethesda is going to have to pick up the pieces just like EA did with The Old Republic. Players are flocking to Planetside 2 and Guild Wars 2 because they don't have the anachronism that is the subscription model. I feel the same way about paying to use my internet connection with Xbox and Playstation, but that's a discussion for another day.

Posted:A year ago

#10

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