The Elder Scrolls Online Nixes Six-Month Subscription, Announces Tamriel Unlimited

By Brandy,
ZeniMax removed in late December the six-month subscription option, which while harmless enough on its own - fans can still choose to subscribe on shorter billing options - it raised concerns that the MMORPG could be prepping to go free to play soon.

Those whispers have turned into half-reality with the announcement of Tamriel Unlimited, a new freemium subscription model effective March 17 on PC and Mac, and June 9 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Adventurers can continue logging into Tamriel on a free to play basis with access to all current content, or they can sign up as a premium ESO Plus member to obtain exclusive character progression bonuses, a re-occurring allotment of crowns and access to all downloadable content game packs.

TESO not shutting down, only going freemium-to-play
The revelation at least put to rest doomsday scenarios that the game could be shutting down come June. As Massively's Eliot Lefebvre first wrote when news of the subscription change broke:

"Oh sure, it seems innocent enough; it's just a change in billing options. But it's also one of those changes that's happened in more than a few other indicating that the game was removing the need for a subscription... or that the game was no longer going to be playable at all, in the case of Warhammer Online."
Warhammer Online turned off the ability to apply one-month subscriptions and game time codes in November ahead of shuttering all servers on December 18, effectively going free to play for its final days in operation.

Revival hopes on Tamriel Unlimited, console launches

But with Tamriel Unlimited announced, fans are hoping that this could turn around the flagging interest in The Elder Scrolls Online.

There was tremendous hype and a rumored $200 million MMO budget driving the The Elder Scrolls Online but it fell flat on its face due to launch day bugs, glaring performance issues, and limited in-game customization and content that disappointed fans expecting a truly open world sandbox experience.

Tamriel Unlimited is seen by many as a push to win back fans that have been disappointed by the launch and did not feel like paying for a monthly subscription. ZeniMax is saying to the estimated more than 1 million players who bought the game box: "Hey, you already have the game box, and we dropped the monthly subscription you dreaded paying for. So why not come back and keep on playing indefinitely - especially now that we've fixed a lot of the issues and added even more content?"

It's a tempting proposition and we expect droves of returning players when Tamriel Unlimited goes live this March.

ZeniMax also seems bent on amassing a legion of console fans by dropping monthly subscriptions and launching Tamriel Unlimited right before the console versions launch this June 9. There are 18.5 million PlayStation 4 and 80 million Xbox 360 owners, and if the studio manages to snag a fraction of that market, it could be well on its way to re-energizing the player base.

Previous News | Go to News Overview | Next News