Elder Scrolls Online's subscription model wasn't handed down from on high by parent company ZeniMax. It was instead a "mutual decision" between ZeniMax and Bethesda, according to company PR guru Pete Hines.
"It wasn't like they decided it, and we didn't mandate it. There was a lot of conversation around it," he told Games.On.Net.
Hines also explained that the future of ESO's business model will depend entirely on whether customers see the game as a fair value, and not on prevailing industry trends. "What's going to determine whether or not it succeeds or fails is not really tied to what anyone else has done, it's tied to 'do we make a strong enough argument for the value that you get for your fifteen dollars,'" Hines said. "If we're providing the kind of content people want to see where they're like 'this is awesome, I'm having a blast, this new stuff is totally worth it and I'm having fun,' then the subscription totally works."