EB Games Is Removing All Copies Of Elder Scrolls Online From Stores — UPDATE

EB Games Is Removing All Copies Of Elder Scrolls Online From Stores — UPDATE

We’ve just learned that a directive, sent to all EB Games stores, has asked that all copies of Elder Scrolls Online — including the pre-paid cards — are to be sent back to the publisher.

We couldn’t get in contact with Bethesda locally to confirm the reasons for the game’s removal, but rumours are circling that the game is finally making the leap to a free-to-play business model.

In addition, the ability to subscribe for six months was recently removed from the game, leaving only 30 day and 90 day options, which would also suggest that free-to-play is a part of Elder Scrolls Online’s future.

We’ll update when we hear back from Bethesda.

Update: EB Games has stated on its Facebook page this removal is part of a normal stock recall — a recall that includes numerous video games. EB Games said similar things to MCV Pacific. Our source has stated that other titles mentioned in this list are excess stock, whereas the Elder Scrolls Online removal includes all units of the game, including the pre-paid cards. I’ve personally seen the stock list — which includes games such as Destiny and The Evil Within — but these games are being kept in the store. Absolutely everything Elder Scrolls Online related will be gone by January 14.


    • How does the removal of the boxed game confirm F2P is coming? …. Most games you still need to buy the product, you just don’t have to purchase subscriptions.

  • Honest question – has any MMO (not just RPGs, but any MMO game) made the subscription model work since WoW?

    Everything I can think of has moved to F2P within two years of launch (and that timeframe seems to be reducing as time goes on).

      • FFXIV ARR is indeed a sub based game.
        Probably the only other MMO other than WoW with the quality to actually deserve a sub base.

        Oh, and EVE. Can not forget EVE.

        • EVE actually manages to convince the majority of its players to have multiple subscriptions!

          • Which just means that someone, somewhere, is paying for those extra subscriptions.
            Which is kind of weird, if you think about it… the people who play the most and get the most value out of the game pay less than the people who play less and are buying ISK with PLEX to catch up.

      • I don’t know if I would class EVE as subscription based. The way PLEX works it’s more like in-game purchases.

        • but you can’t play with out it. sure you can buy it with in-game currency but you HAVE to have it to play.

          • Yeah totally, I just think it’s on the edge because it’s also an in-game currency that people buy to trade rather than to use the game time on. I often wonder how many years worth of PLEX is sitting there with no plans to ever use it.

          • Well, it does not matter, really. When someone buys a PLEX for ingame money someone has bought that PLEX for real money. All subs in eve are paid for with real money by someone.

        • Even with plex, the point is though that *someone* still pays for your game time, and your paying them back with in-game currency…

      • You can still pay a normal monthly subscription for it, but you also have the option of extending your subscription each month using an in game item bought with in game currency

    • I have often wondered what made WoW stand out and realised it a while ago.
      WoW had a trial that was easily accessable from their website. I also remember shops having the demo discs for like $2 which would include a trial.
      I can’t think of any other MMO that did this except EVE which also does a 14 day trial.

      I don’t think FF14 had a free trial when I bought it last year (I wish it did – cause I am not a fan, but thats just me).

      • What made WoW stand out is that it has had a fairly consistent pick up and play approach, with a consistent and fluid gameplay experience… All its pieces fit together.

        Pretty much every other MMO I have played something has felt jarring, tedious or inconsistent one way or another… Be it with combat, character building, crafting, etc. Something about it almost always feels out of place, like it doesn’t belong.

        Most importantly I think though is WoW’s social system was quite good from the start… Guilds, friends lists, etc, coherent and easyily managable from the start. No tedium of trying to send or recieve messages, invites, etc. I dunno how many MMOs I’ve seen with horrid social systems, their friends lists buried in unintuitive places, etc.

        WoW is by no means earth shattering as a game, especially not these days, but mostly the sum of its parts just… work… Especially relative to how large its player base is for how long it has been running. I think that alone has a great deal more to do with it’s staying power than having a free trial. Because a great many MMOs have offered trials one way or another.

        • Dont forget the ridiculously low entry level of a system you need to play WOW, or really, any other blizzard game!! Hmmmm
          Maybe they know something we dont!

      • FF14 does have a free 14 day trial where you can play the game with some limitations (lvl 20 cap) and a has had a few free weekend weeks to trial on as well for the platforms it’s on.

      • What made wow standout was that it took what made the previous games good, and improved them. Additionally it made them more player friendly and made the experience easier to understand.

        The current issue, i think, is that a lot of MMOs now a days feel like like WoW just reskinned. The mechanics, UI, and quest/leveling format are basically the same. WoW has been around for 10 years, if you played wow for 6 years, then switched to another game, since they are similar, you can quickly get burned out.

        I think that is the reason why EVE has been increasing their subscriber base steadily. its fundamentally different than other MMOs in style and how you play.

    • There’s a lot of small ones around that you don’t hear much about, the sort of thing with 10,000 people paying $5 per month keeping a small team in the money.

      Most big ones fail to make the subscription model work though because they need too many people.

      • Well, QuizB’s qualifier there was, ‘make it work‘, which for Wildstar I would argue is debatable. They won’t release sub numbers themselves (always a bad sign), but all the third-party tracking sites have their numbers way down.

        • Hmmm Personally I love the game (Played the 7 day trials…) but with year 11 coming up and the amount of money sub is every month (although they have a system like E.V.E Plex) all I want is the game to go F2P

          • Oh, I enjoyed the time I spent with Wildstar. It’s a nifty little game, in its own way. And I didn’t get far enough along to really run into the problems that people complain about with endgame. But the housing was the part I enjoyed most and was exploitative in its pricing with it obviously meant to be an inflation-fighting gold-sink, and the rest was… I dunno. Basically an alternate version of WoW that didn’t really click as well? I dunno, it probably deserves more of my time, but I just didn’t spend the time on it. FF14 is just as good if not better and I’m not subbed to that either. Because other things have higher demand on my time.

            And apparently, a lot of people feel that way. Too much to be healthy for Wildstar.

    • Asheron’s Call just recently ended their Sub requirement, and is no longer P2P, but now is B2P. So Yes to your question. Asheron’s Call made it work longer than WoW has at this point.

    • Basically, everyone who’s willing to pay a sub fee for a game is already playing wow and are so heavily invested that I doubt they would turn to anything, any time soon. Developers should stop chasing Wow they’re wasting their efforts and leaving non wow players in the dust.

    • FFXIV is still subscription, and isn’t going to be going F2P any time soon.

      So the answer is…WoW and likely FFXIV.

  • Can anyone explain to me why a game like ESO would move to a F2P model instead of just shutting down due to a lack of subscribers? Surely the cost of maintaining everything and the creation of new content is just a waste of money for the developers. Do they get revenue from a different source (eg. the addition of microtransactions)?

    • F2P is generally what happens before you shut down entirely. You can attract people who didn’t think you’re game was worth paying for (eg: pretty much everyone) by moving to F2P. If the rumours are true, I might pick ESO up again.


      • I get that it’s like the middle ‘step’ before the game shuts down, but from a developer’s point of view, why bother? Is it just for goodwill for those who have been playing, so they’re not hit with ‘we’re shutting down now’ so suddenly? There’s no real point to attracting new people at that stage since there isn’t any way for them to earn money off it, unless they add microtransactions in.

        • Some games (The Old Republic is a great example) have picked up heaps of steam and made far more profit after making the move to F2P so for most devs I’d say it’s worth the shot if there’s still ‘some’ interest around.

        • They most likely will have microtransactions or cosmetics of some sort.

          Sometimes the F2P model is the more profitable than the subscription based.

        • The thing about F2P monetization is that it allows the publishers to take advantage of ‘whales’.

          When you have a $15 sub-only game, you lock out the people who would pay five dollars but won’t pay $15, and you have people who are such big fans they WOULD pay much more than $15, but $15 is all you get out of them. F2P allows you to extract as many hundreds or thousands as you like from the big fans, and for practically no extra bandwidth cost (bandwidth difference between servicing paid and free customers is utterly negligible so it’s not a factor; think car-pooling. They’re delivering to the paid folks anyway, they might as well bring along the free since it doesn’t cost them any extra) you can tap into the occasional $5 spenders who previously were spending $0, because $15 was too high.

          The big problem with it is a matter of balance. People expect to get a certain quality of gameplay/experience for a ‘reasonable’ price, and not everyone’s take on ‘reasonable’ is going to be the same. Too generous, and no-one pays. Too restrictive, you lose the free players. And the free players ARE content for the paid players – they’re the fillers who allow you to actually find a dungeon group or have people to PVP against. Worse yet, monetization experts describe the factor that drives players to a purchase as an ‘annoyance trigger’. So there’s that going against players, too. Play for free until it’s too annoying not to drop some dollars.

          At any rate, this is why all the big games CEOs are saying ‘mobile is the future’ and all that bullshit. Because it’s the home of this sort of publisher-friendly/consumer-unfriendly exploitation. They’re lowering the minimum limit on how much money they can make per player, but they’re getting more players and taking the limits off how much money they can get from those players.

          As to your question of ‘why bother’?
          Because it works.
          Asian MMOs have been onto the formula for a while, but the first really big Western MMO to test the waters was Dungeons and Dragons Online run by Turbine. It was going to shut down, but they took a gamble on F2P and they started rolling in revenue. They moved Lords of the Rings to that model, and profits skyrocketed. The MMO industry took notice and shortly after, flagging MMOs breathed new life into their dying subs by going F2P. You can run on maintenance mode for a few more months and squeeze the last out of your subs, or you can take a gamble on re-developing for F2P and see if you hit jackpot. If you don’t, you can always shut down again anyway. Which does still happen.

          • The idea of making most of your profits from a minority of your users is not limited to games either.
            It spurs the junk food industry.
            Brands like Coke for example make the most of their money off of a small percentage of high users.
            It’s actually pretty despicable what they do to try and increase their profits.

        • Of course they’ll be adding microtransactions, you don’t go f2p without doing so. Whether it works or not depends entirely on what kind of microtransaction system they go with. Some games, like LOTRO, completely reversed their fortunes by making the f2p move and doing it right. I know personally, if their system sounds good I’ll give it a shot where as I never would have bought the game myself after playing the beta.

        • I don’t think developers are even remotely making these decisions. This is a major operation with a lot of money and corporate structure behind it. This is a decision that’s based on numbers and money, not goodwill.

    • It doesn’t cost that much to run the game poorly and half-finish the content that was already in development. Essentially you can make most big name MMOs cover the cost on a day to day level it just never even comes close to justifying the initial investment.

    • Often F2P includes some sort of “premium” option, equivalent to a subscription.

      The game then makes money from:
      – Existing subscribers who don’t want to downgrade their content access
      – New subscribers who join as F2P and then sign up for a premium sub when it turns out they like the game
      – Microtransactions from the rest, giving access to gatewayed content, convenience items of various sorts, and decorative items. Plus, of course, occasional “pay to win” items (for example the option some games offer of a fully levelled character).
      – Sale of expansions

      They lose some revenue from permanent subs who dislike the changes necessary for F2P and/or the audience added. They gain revenue from all the other stuff. Costs also go up a bit for a larger server pool.

    • Because it’s a pretty sucky game and no one plays it so this is an attempt to stay afloat for a little while longer. If they weren’t going F2P then their only other option would be to shut down the game completely.

  • Nope. Not playing this any more. One of the main reasons why I have played this game is because it ‘wasn’t’ F2P. I would rather know that i didn’t have to compete with people with a lot of money and no sense.

    • It really depends on how they monetise it. SW:ToR for example is pretty much what you said (IMO anyway), everything in the game has a microtransaction attached now 🙁

      Star Trek Online on the other hand has a great F2P model, all you can really buy with money is convenience items, different playable races and ship variations – essentially just cosmetic and luxery things.

    • It’s not even the competing with people that’s an issue for me its the part where they make the game less fun for those who don’t pay. I understand they need to make money but funnelling you into a position where you need to pay to progress is not my idea of fun.

  • It seems Wow might be heading that way as well in the form of tokens you can buy and trade in the Auction House (like the REX in Rift). Although the grind / cost and duration of tokens is going to be the interesting factor.

    • I know there is no such thing as a wrong opinion, but this is a wrong opinion.

      Everything WoW has done has been to make the game more accessible to play so that people will persist with subs, down to gating content and coming up with new and innovative ways for people to sink an approximate amount of time on a daily basis. This is the reasoning behind weekly lockouts, honor and conquest caps, garrison mission times, delaying raid tier releases (BRF) among an assortment of other things.

      The entire WoW model is give people things cheap > get them to pay subs > keep them paying subs. That’s not going to change unless subscriber numbers become about a quarter of what they are now, if not less. It is the flagship game for a reason.

      • Agreed. Now way in any universe would Blizzard make near the money they do from the millions and millions of subscribers paying that sub fee. Even a massive drop to 2 million paying for 3 month subs (won’t happen over night or soon) it is still tonnes of money that easily covers server, developers and help desk staff per year.

      • “I know there is no such thing as a wrong opinion, but this is a wrong opinion.”

        Actually, he’s right. WoW is, in fact, exploring how to implement subscription tokens you can buy and trade, much like REX in Rift or PLEX in EVE or whatever Wildstar calls its token system.


        Bashiok’s post on the forums, 18th of December:
        New Ways to Play: We’re exploring the possibility of giving players a way to buy tradable game-time tokens for the purpose of exchanging them in-game with other players for gold. Our current thought on this is that it would give players a way to use their surplus gold to cover some of their subscription cost, while giving players who might have less play time an option for acquiring gold from other players through a legit and secure system. A few other online games offer a similar option, and players have suggested that they’d be interested in seeing something along those lines in WoW. We agree it could be a good fit for the game, and we look forward to any feedback you have as we continue to look into this feature.

        It’s still a sub model, but for those who can gold-farm, it might as well be F2P.

  • I wonder if it’ll still be coming to the consoles in next gen. Shame as FFXIV wasn’t interesting to me and ESO was one of the very few MMOs I’d consider signing up for

  • The sub models haven’t worked because the games haven’t been good enough to support it. I played The Old Republic, Wildstar, a couple of other all based on the sub model, and usually within 2 months I cancelled…. because they just weren’t enough to keep me coming back to it (this being from a 2-3 year sub when vanilla WoW first came out).

    I’m still waiting for another GOOD mmo….

  • The other reason may be EB has decided to return slow moving stock, or possibly even negotiation tactics with Bethesda. Video games, like Books and DVDs, can be returned to the supplier by the retailer for a full refund, without needing any real explanation.

    • They’ve been flogging them for pretty cheap ($28), and maybe they’d have to go lower to get rid of them since they need the shelf space. Going much lower brings it close to just the price of the sub, so maybe the distributor said they’d take the stock back instead?
      Who knows.

      • Sale or return terms are pretty much standard, the only reason firm sale would ever be agreed upon is if it was sellout stock.

  • Again I must say. I TOLD YOU SO!!!

    Console release = Free to play

    = reason for delay in release. Milking the
    Pc version for all their moneys worth
    Console release

    • I actually bought the imperial edition, but after playing beta, I deleted the game and didn’t touch it again, even with the 30 days of free time upon and early release.
      It was unimaginably bad.
      Now I’m just sitting here waiting for fallout 4 dwelling on how the money I spent on ESO could have funded a Fallout 4 collectors edition.
      Oh well, I’ll probably buy the collectors edition anyways.

      • They tried to make an elder scrolls game mixed with an mmo and just ended up with less of either.

  • Maybe the new model is to have subscription based for the first year or so then move to F2P? This maybe the way they still can provide content and cover costs.

    SWTOR has been stronger financially since F2P was introduced, there was a Massively.com article about that some time back, cant find the link right now.

  • JB HIFI stores haven’t yet been told to send back their gear… Hmmmm, maybe a delay in sending it back or…?

  • The reason I didnt play ESO beyond the beta, was that it didnt hit the mark for me. The game tried to take a great single player game and make it an MMO. The issue is that many of the things that made the ES games so good were because you didnt have to worry about all the issues that you had to worry about in an MMO. On the MMO side they didnt do anything that felt like it was any different. Yup doing the same thing im doing in other MMOs and the UI was annoying.

    I would probably download it and play a bit if it was F2P, but unless they made major improvements it will be something i play for a couple hours every once in a while.

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