Elder Scrolls Online, the upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game, based on its award-winning Elder Scrolls series, is set to release in spring and that’s going to mean trouble for Microsoft and Xbox One. That in turn will boomerang back on Bethesda Softworks. As it currently stands, Microsoft charges $60 annually to access online content and games via Xbox Live. Playstation 4 does not require you to sign up for Playstation Plus.
Elder Scrolls Online will charge a $15 subscription fee to access the game online after the initial purchase. Here in lies the trouble, especially for newcomers to Xbox One. This $15 is on top of the monthly $5 dollars Xbox users kick out to Microsoft for Xbox Live. So essentially Xbox One users will be paying $20 to play Elder Scrolls Online whereas Playstation 4 players will pay only the $15 that PC players will be paying.
However, all things being relative, anyone that is online is already kicking out a monthly fee just to access the internet! So that $15 a month is more like $115 if you’re putting out for the gamers’ preferred high-end access. True, for that same IP fee, folks are playing other games, both free and subscription, surfing the net, engaging in social media activities, work related activities, downloading, watching streaming content and a billion other things (gasp!) people do online.
So what’s a piddling extra $5 a month? Chances are Xbox owners planning to buy Elder Scrolls Online probably already pay for Xbox Live Gold. The blowback to all of this is perhaps people who were about to purchase a console, leaning towards the Xbox One for consideration, and planning to buy Elder Scrolls Online, might gravitate to the Playstation 4 instead. Of course that might happen just because the PS4 is a whole $100 cheaper than Xbox, with more on it that doesn’t require a fee.
Come to think of it, the cheaper price of the PS4 coupled with the much-anticipated arrival of ESO might very well be most of the nails hammered into the Xbox coffin in this current generation of the console wars. Many other games are waiting on the horizon that have PS4 gamers chomping at the bit. If Eve Online’s companion shooter Dust 514 becomes available for play via streaming content, portions of the PC gaming community who don’t already own PS3s, may be buying PS4s to play that game.
Back to Elder Scrolls Online, it is one of the most anticipated MMOs in a long while, with a different approach to the standard grinding, time sink activities, and restrictive class roles prevalent in nearly all of the MMORPGs currently active, whether fee-based or subscription. With many gamers eagerly awaiting its release, ESO stands to catapult the PS4 beyond the lead it has already gained through sales. Microsoft will need to mitigate the cost to Xbox owners if they are to have parity with Sony in the console arena and stay out of trouble with their player base.
Editorial by Lee Birdine