Updated at 11:13 a.m. Wednesday with comment from Microsoft.
Gold has always always been an important resource in the Elder Scrolls series, but not this kind of Gold.
Bethesda Softworks, publisher of upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online, told Joystiq that Xbox Live participants will need to pay for a Gold subscription in addition to The Elder Scrolls Online’s monthly charge.
At the same time, game director Matt Firor confirmed that PlayStation 4 players do not need PlayStation Plus memberships to play the game online. Instead, they only need to pay the game’s $14.99 monthly subscription fee. Firor’s confirmation was part of an informative Q&A about the upcoming massively multiplayer online game on the PlayStation Blog.
This means that Xbox One gamers who don’t currently subscribe to Gold will need to pay $20 to $25 per month (depending on the Xbox Live Gold subscription package they’re using) if they want to play The Elder Scrolls Online. PlayStation 4 players without PS Plus and PC players will be able to play just by paying the MMO’s $15 subscription. Of course, everyone still needs to buy the game itself, which Amazon.com lists for $60 on all three platforms.
Microsoft responded a day later for our request for comment, with a spokesperon saying, “As with all of our games, multiplayer gameplay is a benefit for Xbox Live Gold members to play online with other Xbox Live members.”
TES Online is actually an exception for Sony; normally, all PS4 games require membership in the publisher’s premium service to be playable online, just like Xbox One games require a Gold subscription. Both are similarly priced: Plus costs $50 a year or $18 for three months, while Gold costs $60 per year or $10 for one month.
Bethesda made it clear back in August that it wanted to avoid its game being stuck behind additional costs. US Gamer took excerpts from an interview with the Official Xbox Magazine in which head of marketing Peter Hines said, “We have been in talks with Microsoft about that very thing, and seeing whether or not there’s any room to change their minds about that, for folks who are only paying The Elder Scrolls Online and don’t want to pay for an Xbox Live Gold subscription, just to pay the Elder Scrolls Online.
“The answer right now is that’s the way it works, but it’s something that we’re aware of and we keep pushing on, to see if there’s something that can be done. We’ll let you know if there’s movement there.”
GamesBeat reached out to Hines for details on why negotiations fell through. “Ultimately, these decisions are not made by us; they’re made by the console manufacturer.” Hines said. “It would be improper for me to disclose any details like that.”
So if you want to play TES Online on your Xbox One and you’re not already Gold subscriber, brace your wallet.