Nords are niche: Elder Scrolls Online is not an MMO for “everybody who plays games”

Huge, ugly spider people are not for everyone. Makes sense.

The Elder Scrolls Online is out now; here’s our Elder Scrolls Online review.

Here’s a slice of received wisdom you can expect to see on a Total War loading screen one of these days: subscriptions are only for niche MMOs, like Eve.

So what’s The Elder Scrolls Online doing with one? Well, here’s the thing: according to Bethesda marketing man Pete Hines, it’s sort of a niche MMO.

“We’re not trying to make a game that everybody who plays games will automatically buy,” he said. 

Hines told Gamespot that ESO is a “certain kind of game” – and that if the size of its playerbase is limited as a result, that’s not an issue for the publisher.

“There’s no shooter elements,” he explained. “There’s no aliens. It is a massive, ‘Go where you want, do what you want’ game that we think offers the kind of experience that’s worthy of a subscription”.

Hines went on to repeat his assertion that the $15 sub fee represented a “value proposition” for players, and wouldn’t disappoint.

“We feel pretty strongly about the support we’re going to have for the game and what you’re going to get for those dollars,” he said.

“We’re also very confident in our ability to support it with content. And not content of the magnitude of, it’s a new month, here’s a new sword or here’s a funny hat – but content that is real and significant.”

Hines compared future updates to the “regular and consistent DLC releases” you might get with a season pass. That wouldn’t be possible were ESO a free-to-play game, he said, because Bethesda would have to assign a much smaller ongoing dev team based on the game’s initial box sales.

“That just seems like a lesser game, and we’re not going to make a lesser game that might be more palatable,” he finished. “We want to do the version that we think is the best game and the coolest experience. And that means putting a lot of people and a lot of content creators towards having stuff that comes our regularly; every four weeks, five weeks, six weeks. Big new stuff that you want to do.”

It’s funny: I can easily imagine a monthly fee for DLC the scope and variety of Skyrim’s. But for ESO I’m not so sure, despite suggestions that popular Thieve’s Guild and Dark Brotherhood updates might be the first to arrive after release. What do you lot reckon?