Subscription-based MMOs haven’t seen the best of times recently. They used to be the only option, then World of Warcraft turned up and hoarded all the players. Then free-to-play games started getting popular and there were even fewer players willing to pay a monthly fee to play. Ultimately, even games that used well-known IP such as The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Warhammer, all switched from subscription-based to F2P to try and make more cash. For the most part it worked.That, combined with the falling number of World of Warcraft players out there, suggests that F2P is the future. However, Bethesda/ZeniMax doesn’t believe that to be the case, and has decided the forthcoming The Elder Scrolls Online will require a monthly subscription charge on top of the price of purchasing the game initially.Confirmation of the subscription came from Matt Firor, game director at ZeniMax Studios, during an interview with Gamestar. He explains the subscription charge as the best fit for the game, and that the studio does not want to put any “pay gates” between the player and all of the content. You could argue that a subscription is a pay gate, but he’s talking about blocking off bits of content while playing that you must pay to unlock and how you avoid all that with a set monthly charge.So anyone signing up to play The Elder Scrolls Online will likely have to pay the typical $60 to purchase the game (which will come with at least a month of free play time I’m guessing). After that, you’ll be expected to pay $14.99 to continue playing each month. In return we are promised hundreds of hours of gameplay, regular content updates, and an overall “premium experience.” There’s also bound to be some subscription offers that save you money if you sign up for 3, 6, or 12-months.Based on how popular the existing offline Elder Scrolls games are, you wouldn’t bet against Bethesda making a subscription MMO work, and they could reap the rewards just like Blizzard has with WoW. It is a risk, though, when the MMO market has changed so much, and they’ll be relying on the popularity of the series to get gamers subscribing initially. After that, it’s all about the content on offer and just how regular those updates are going to be.