The Elder Scrolls Online, an expansive new massively multiplayer online game set in the same universe as open-world role-playing games Skyrim, Oblivion, and Morrowind, won't be launching on current-gen game consoles in June, as originally planned.
While the PC and Mac versions of the game (see our hands-on impressions here) launched in early April, the PS4 and Xbox One versions have been delayed for at least six months. Publisher Bethesda Softworks posted an update on the game's website that says:
We continue to work on the console versions of ESO, and game development has been progressing steadily, but we are still working to solve a series of unique problems specific to those platforms. Integrating our systems with each console manufacturer's networks -- which are both different from the PC/Mac system as well as different from each other--has been a challenging process. It has become clear that our planned June release of the console versions isn't going to be possible. Though we have made great progress, we have concluded that we'll need about six months to ensure we deliver the experience our fans expect and deserve.
That would put the launch date at the very tail end of the holiday shopping season at best, if not pushed into 2015. In an effort to keep potential players interested while they wait (and risk having their attention and dollars diverted by other new games coming later this year), the company isoffering a deal for interim players.
Anyone who purchases and plays the PC or Mac version of the game before the end of June will able to transfer the characters created to either the PS4 or Xbox One version of the game when it's finally released. You'll still have to purchase a console copy of the game (and pay its monthly fees), but PC/Mac players will get a discounted $20 price (regularly $60) -- for the console version (via download). In the UK, the digital console version will be £12.99.
Even at that, The Elder Scrolls Online is taking a different approach than many other MMO games. Following the trend set by many mobile and indie games, most MMO games have shifted to a free-to-play model, doing away with monthly fees in favor of microtransactions for extra features and in-game equipment.