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The Elder Scrolls Online will have a monthly fee

Game director says free-to-play is an unsuitable barrier to content for the game

ZeniMax Online will charge a monthly fee to play The Elder Scrolls Online, game director Matt Firor has revealed.

Speaking to Gamestar, Firor said the studio will buck the burgeoning free-to-play trend in favour of the classic MMO business model.

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"We're thrilled that gamers are looking forward to diving into The Elder Scrolls Online and we've been working hard to deliver the game that fans want - one that's worthy of the Elder Scrolls name," he said. "Choosing the right business model is part of that. We are going with the subscription model for ESO.

"We're building a game with the freedom to play - alone or with your friends - as much as you want. A game with meaningful and consistent content - one packed with hundreds of hours of gameplay that can be experienced right away and one that will be supported with premium customer support.

"Charging a flat monthly (or subscription) fee means that we will offer players the game we set out to make, and the one that fans want to play. Going with any other model meant that we would have to make sacrifices and changes we weren't willing to make."

Firor said the studio believes "putting pay gates between the player and content at any point in game ruins that feeling of freedom".

He elaborated: "The Elder Scrolls games are all about allowing the player to go where they want, be who they want, and do what they want. Just having one small monthly fee for 100% access to the game fits the IP and the game much better than a system where you have to pay for features and access as you play."

Firor said The Elder Scrolls Online buyers will receive a 30 day unlimited trial.

"The choice is yours to play as much as you want; hundreds of hours of content, PvP, etc - is all there for you to experience with the base purchase of the game. If you want to continue playing for hundreds of hours more after that first month you'll pay a flat fee for continued, unlimited access to the game.

"We'll talk about further discounts, etc. later, but for now, we are very happy to finally announce our model. It's very simple - you pay once per month after the first 30 days and the entire game is available to you."

ZeniMax has also released a number of new The Elder Scrolls Online screenshots, which you can view below.

In June Bethesda delayed the PC and Mac versions of The Elder Scrolls Online from their originally targeted 2013 launch window to 2014. They'll now release alongside Xbox One and PS4 versions.

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