Bethesda wants Xbox Live Gold charge removed for users of its upcoming MMO game


Bethesda's "The Elder Scrolls Online" will have a $14.99 monthly fee, even on consoles such as the Xbox One.

Bethesda wants Microsoft to stop charging for Xbox Live Gold. Well, somewhat.

The game publisher wants Microsoft to not charge users of its upcoming massively multiplayer game "The Elder Scrolls Online" on top of the $14.99 monthly fee they'll be paying Bethesda. Because Microsoft requires Xbox Live users to pay for a Gold subscription if they want to play online games, that means "The Elder Scrolls Online" would charge its monthly fee in addition to the Xbox Live Gold subscription, which costs about $5 a month when using the service's standard yearly cost.

Pete Hines, Bethesda's vice president of marketing and public relations, told the Official Xbox Magazine that the publisher believes the massively multiplayer nature of its game should make for a special exception from Microsoft.

"We feel like most people such as yourself currently pay that subscription not to pay a game, but to play all games online," he said, noting that gamers can use Xbox Live Gold for regular online games, but massively multiplayer games require more maintenance. OXM's report didn't state if Hines said Bethesda would seek the same concessions from Sony, which will also charge for online multiplayer on the PlayStation 4.

Hines added that Bethesda has "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 playing 'The Elder Scrolls Online' and don't want to pay for an Xbox Live Gold subscription, just to pay for 'The Elder Scrolls Online.'"

Publishers have routinely attempted to find ways to monetize Xbox Live to receive a bigger chunk of the profits, with EA famously using an Online Pass requirement – which it canned earlier this year – and Activision focusing on extensive downloadable content releases.

When Microsoft announced its upcoming Xbox One console in May, it touted the fact that the Xbox Live network was overhauled to allow massively multiplayer games. Microsoft has stated developers and publishers can use Xbox Live's cloud services to host persistent online worlds; the company will also host servers for games that don't require persistent worlds, such as the upcoming first-person shooter "Titanfall."

Source: The Official Xbox Magazine via Joystiq | Image via Bethesda

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58 Comments

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As long as the game doesn't leverage anything beyond basic gamertag information from Live, I don't see why not.

As soon as they start leveraging any of the xbox live stack beyond that, the Gold requirement is fair.

Why don't they offer MS, X amounts of revenue to offset the cost of not needing to pay live. But what if I want get online with another game?? Just pay the 60 bucks for the year.

Currently I don't pay for Xbox Live but I'd still like to watch streaming media on it. I think the PS4 and X1 are about the same but guess what tipped me over the edge to order a PS4 instead of an X1?

I was thinking the same thing. $5 and I'd bite, $15 a month? The game just went from hero to zero for me. Looks like I'll be spending my time in GTA V

I'd rather pay a subscription than have a game try to nickel and dime me every which way once I log in with 2000 different types of micro transaction currency ala Neverwinter and other "free" games.

Transparent thinking,

"We're charging an extortionate amount to play a game, so what we'll do is try to turn MS's XBL charge in to the bad guy, BOOM we have a scapegoat"

The only way I'd support this, is if playing their game doesn't touch ANY Microsoft servers/services. Microsoft aren't a charity. If someone used my product, then hell yeah I'd charge that person for the use of it.

ZipZapRap said,
The only way I'd support this, is if playing their game doesn't touch ANY Microsoft servers/services. Microsoft aren't a charity. If someone used my product, then hell yeah I'd charge that person for the use of it.

Indeed, if this game uses the Xbox Live multi-player gaming infrastructure in any way, then why would Microsoft not want to be paid for that privilege?

What about Netflix, it doesn't use any Microsoft services but they still force us to pay for Gold membership to use it which is really stupid. No other device makes you pay extra to use Netflix on it. Microsoft are just greedy plain and simple.

Good attitude. It's not like Microsoft needs developers like Bethesda releasing games in order to sell their stupid console. I like your "screw them" approach.

All MMOs will end up going F2P and just sell you stuff ingame. More and more are doing so and seeing how even WoW is losing members in large chunks it's only a matter of time with that one as well. The fact is that people are now used to the cheap casual FB and mobile phone games, free to play but if you need some items or some help then pay up. They want it in MMOs as well, and at that point having to pay, at the most, $5 for Gold isn't a issues when you no longer have to pay $15 for the MMO each month.

Kinda off topic...

I play Guild Wars 2 which is based on the same model. There isn't much that I buy from them but I have certainly purchased a few things. Nothing that comes close to £10 a month.
Everything though is optional and not a pay to win model that some MMO's take advantage of. As long as MMO's maintain a non-P2W model then I am all for it.

Back to the topic...
There is no doubt that Xbox Live is a great service. It's well built and something that Sony can only hope their PS4 offering can mirror. The issue is though why pay for the fee if the only game you play is the one in this article. It's the same with me now with Netflix and Lovefilm. I already pay their fees and Microsoft currently want me to pay another to view these services though the 360. For this reason alone this is why my PS3 is online more than my Xbox. The Xbox sits in my bedroom being used as a DVD player... such a waste.

GP007 said,
All MMOs will end up going F2P and just sell you stuff ingame. More and more are doing so and seeing how even WoW is losing members in large chunks it's only a matter of time with that one as well. The fact is that people are now used to the cheap casual FB and mobile phone games, free to play but if you need some items or some help then pay up. They want it in MMOs as well, and at that point having to pay, at the most, $5 for Gold isn't a issues when you no longer have to pay $15 for the MMO each month.

The trick being is free to play is trickier to pull off in some ways. There's a stigma to games considered "pay to win," and if the cash shop is too obnoxious with the game being no fun because you have to buy from the cash shop to make it worth playing? It'll fail. There have been a number of free to play games that have failed in the past few years!

Its tough. I'd rather they go with a hybrid model like Star Trek Online.

EvilAstroboy said,
What about PSN, don't you have to have a monthly sub to be online with Sony?
For regular games, yes. I'm not sure what they're policy is for MMOs yet. I believe DCUO and PS2 won't require it, but I could be wrong.

Ideally, you won't have to pay for sub games on either.

We all want microsoft to not charge a fee on top of the fees we already have to pay for other things. Too bad microsoft and their greed doesn't care what others want.

Blackhearted said,
We all want microsoft to not charge a fee on top of the fees we already have to pay for other things. Too bad microsoft and their greed doesn't care what others want.

Good. you can stick to PC gaming then.

nitins60 said,
Good. you can stick to PC gaming then.

You say that like it's a bad thing. Might as well tell him to have a great day.

dead.cell said,

You say that like it's a bad thing. Might as well tell him to have a great day.

Simple funda. No one is forcing you to buy anything. It's purely Consumer choice and yet they blame sellers.

This is what sucks about Xbox currently. NetFlix, LoveFILM, YouTube even using Internet Explorer... not without Gold you can't! Rip off.

Thief000 said,
I agree, EVERYTHING that requires additional subscription fees should be removed from the Gold paywall.

So this game requires an extortionate fee to play, so MS should not charge for their service?

What I'm saying is the costs of using their service should not be forwarded onto their consumers, like almost every other platform does. There are other ways.
I pay for Gold, but I disagree that almost everything useful should be behind it, especially now that they want to be the center of the living room for everyone. You shouldn't charge extra for features that are cheaper almost everywhere else.

Thief000 said,
What I'm saying is the costs of using their service should not be forwarded onto their consumers, like almost every other platform does. There are other ways.
I pay for Gold, but I disagree that almost everything useful should be behind it, especially now that they want to be the center of the living room for everyone. You shouldn't charge extra for features that are cheaper almost everywhere else.

This is the problem. Remember this
1. If a product is successful, many consumers buy it and at the end of sales, Company gets profited so that the profit can be invested into next R&D product
2. If a product is failure, no one buys it, and the cost of R&D is not returned by sales and moreover manufacturing loses are extra burden

Now MS should follow Apple style, where you can sell a product @double price than it's manufactured so that no extra charges for Gold Service bla bla bla
or They can sell the product at reasonable price and ask the consumer to pay for extra features he want, who doesn't want can keep away.

Thief000 said,
Correct and that's what Gold should be. Extra features, not features that are free everywhere else.

I agree that things like Netflix shouldn't be behind a pay wall.

MikeChipshop said,

So this game requires an extortionate fee to play, so MS should not charge for their service?

What service? The online in ESO is handled by Bethesda on their servers.

Mr.XXIV said,
Well, I got news for you guys, PS4 monthly charges.

... don't apply to subscription games or MMOs such as Elder Scrolls Online

What point were you trying to make, Mr.XXIV?

SK[ said,]This is what sucks about Xbox currently. NetFlix, LoveFILM, YouTube even using Internet Explorer... not without Gold you can't! Rip off.

So what's the problem. Just use IE to access this things. No one's forcing you to use them on XBL.

Lord Method Man said,

What service? The online in ESO is handled by Bethesda on their servers.

It's not that. I just don;t see why they feel they should be a special case. The whole act of connecting and joining multiplayer games has always been a Gold service on XBL and this game is exactly that.

IsItPluggedIn said,
massively multiplayer games require more maintenance
Its also a revenue model that's becoming less and less attractive as time goes by. Going sub only these days is greeted with skepticism, and many players will wait and see "when will they go free?"

Certainly, The Secret World and Star Wars: The Old Republic are two very good, recent examples. They could've adopted a hybrid model, for instance.

Raa said,
Why don't they just reduce the cost of the MMO instead?

Erm, because Xbox Live Gold revenue doesn't go to Bethesda?

That said though, anybody interested in playing online games on the Xbox is more than likely going to get a gold subscription anyway, so excluding this game from the gold requirement isn't going to affect that many people.

How about they request my ISP not charge for online service while they're at it too? And maybe they could ask the government to waive my taxes and lets get rid of that pesky electrical bill.

Avatar Roku said,
How about they request my ISP not charge for online service while they're at it too? And maybe they could ask the government to waive my taxes and lets get rid of that pesky electrical bill.

Hell, why don't they just give you the company! Your filled with so many wonderful self filling dreams!

TCLN Ryster said,

Erm, because Xbox Live Gold revenue doesn't go to Bethesda?

And Besthesda's 14.99 doesn't go to Microsoft.