Bethesda Wants To Unshackle The Elder Scrolls Online From Paid Multiplayer Services
Both Microsoft and Sony will be charging for multiplayer access when the next generation hardware launches this fall. Sony is allowing free-to-play titles to sit in front of the paywall, and one publisher is pushing to to have that same exemption apply to its upcoming game.
In an interview with OXM, Bethesda states that they are lobbying for The Elder Scrolls Online to be exempt from the multiplayer paywall. Vice president of public relations and marketing Pete Hines specifically called out Microsoft regarding talks about freeing The Elder Scrolls Online from an additional subscription fee (the publisher just announced the business model for the upcoming MMO).
The situation is the same with Sony, though. Right now, regardless of which console platform players choose, they'll have to pay two fees. Bethesda hasn't been successful yet with Microsoft, but Hines indicates that the publisher will "keep pushing on to see if there's something that can be done."
While Bethesda is likely only concerned with its own titles, it is fighting a battle that could have long-term effects for both next-gen platforms. If they are successful, it could pave the way for more subscription-based games to make the jump.
NCSoft just announced the business model for Wildstar (also subscription-based). Final Fantasy XIV could be a worthwhile candidate.
It's unlikely that Microsoft will budge because of the amount of money at stake. Still, this is going to be an interesting conversation to follow.