“When does The Elder Scrolls Online officially launch? The Elder Scrolls Online officially launched on April 4, 2014 on PC and Mac,” the entry says. “While it has become clear that our planned June release of the console versions isn’t going to be possible, we have made great progress, we have concluded that we’ll need about six more months to ensure we deliver the experience our fans expect and deserve. For additional information on the delay, please see this blog post (link).”
The (link) was actually dead, failing to connect to a non-existent blog post, and a screenshot of the FAQ pre-deletion can be found here. The change was first spotted on reddit, where users are saying people are being banned or deleted on forums or ESO’s Facebook page for discussing the delay.
The original FAQ entry has since been erased, replaced with only the PC release date for the game. This is also strange given the fact that the entry used to have the June release dates for the game, but now that’s also gone.
There are really only two options here. Either this was some sort of hack, meant to throw a wrench into ESO’s day and whip the games media into a tizzy, or this is actually happening, and the information slipped out ahead of a more formal announcement that should have been at the other end of that dead link.
The wording seems pretty formal for a hack, and if it were a prank, I’d imagine that link would have gone somewhere more entertaining than to an error page for a post that doesn’t exist. Still, I’ve reached out to Bethesda for comment on this, as have many other gaming outlets, and no one has heard anything back yet. Retailers are still listing the release as June, and again, there’s been no official announcement to the contrary. Still, it seems strange that the June dates weren’t put back on the FAQ after the entry was deleted.
If this does come to pass, it would be a pretty significant delay, and unfortunate for those like myself, who were planning on diving into the console release in a month or so.
The console release of ESO has always been a controversial aspect of the game, namely because continued play will require the same sort of subscription as the PC version, something unheard of across most console games where players already have to pay a PS Plus/Xbox Live Gold fee to play their games online. Not to mention the game itself costs $60 and features an internal cash shop. Players have been upset that while most games pick a revenue model between a full-priced box copy, free-to-play with microtransactions, or a subscription model, ESO has selected all of the above.
A six month delay would make the console version almost a holiday release, and many are guessing that if it is postponed that far, it may debut sans the subscription. Even ahead of release, many have been predicting that ESO will eventually drop its monthly fee like so many new and ambitious MMOs before it.
Right now, we’re trying to clear up whether or not this delay is real, and hopefully Bethesda/Zenimax will appear to shed some light on this one way or the other.