The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited,Freemium claims another victim

The MMORPG genre has seen a dramatic shift over the last couple of years, with the traditional subscription based model in danger of becoming completely irrelevant. As more and more quality freeto-play (FTP) titles find their way onto the digital shelves, those games that still dare to charge a monthly fee for your enjoyment are quickly finding themselves losing their customer base. While WoW still remains the exception, the shift of business models seen by the likes stands as stark evidence that gamers do not like mandatory costs. It’s a lesson that’s not caught on too quickly however, and one that Bethesda seems to have learnt the hard way.

Thus enters The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, the official rebranding of the game as FTP. Beginning in March for PC/Mac gamers and in June for its release on consoles, Tamriel Unlimited will follow the model that Guild Wars laid down, requiring gamers to purchase a copy but thereafter offering all the original content for free.

Those that have remained loyal to the game since its launch have not been forgotten however, with ZeniMax Online Studios offering a unique mount and costume, and players can continue to pay through ESO Plus, which will provide in-game bonuses and free access to future DLC.

Of course, Bethesda is still looking to make money from the game, and this will come in the form of microtransactions via the soon-to-launch Crown Store. Peddling “convenience and customisation” items, the developers have stressed that this will not be a “pay-to-win” solution.

Coupled with the recently phasedin Champion and Justice systems, The Elder Scrolls Online might just be catching a second wind.

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