Speaking with Eurogamer, Firor walked through ZeniMax's reasoning in choosing subscriptions as TESO's primary method of generating revenue. He listed two primary motivators: one, to ensure monetization did not interfere with the traditional Elder Scrolls experience, and two, to keep money flowing for future content.
When you're in an Elder Scrolls game, you're in a world. We don't want players to hit monetization fees when they're in the world. It's like, I go into a dungeon, if I don't have access to the dungeon it pops up a window: you don't have access to this, go buy 50 credits. We didn't want that experience. That's not an Elder Scrolls experience.Instead, Firor believes charging a monthly subscription ensures players have "100% of the game" and never run into payment walls. He also explained that the forecastable revenue stream created by subs helps the team better plan for content updates. ZeniMax is aiming for new content releases "every month or six weeks, for as long as people want to play the game."
Firor mentioned the addition of the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood quest lines as examples of content players can expect, saying, "And those are 15 hours of content a piece. We're talking major new stuff, which is going to be coming out constantly." Make of that what you will. In the meantime, check out new screenshots from Gamescom in our TESO gallery:
[Update: Reader Pavel points out a German-language interview from Gamescom that claims Firor indicated there will be a cash shop selling at least "fun items and character services like character renames" in the game. Here's the exact sentence untranslated: "Laut Matt Firor wird es in The Elder Scrolls Online einen Itemshop geben, wo ihr Spaß-Items und Charakterservices wie eine Umbenennung des Charakters kaufen könnt."]