Source: See below.
What we heard: Today, a variety of game-news sites reported that new evidence has surfaced that an Elder Scrolls massively multiplayer online role-playing game is in the works. Such a notion isn't exactly new. In August, ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Elder Scrolls developer and publisher Bethesda Softworks, announced the creation of a new MMORPG studio, ZeniMax Online. Last week, the company announced it had landed $300 million in funding for future projects including its MMORPG development effort, which is headed by Mythic Entertainment cofounder Matt Frior.
Today's flurry of reports was prompted by the fact someone noticed that ZeniMax registered the URL elderscrollsonline.com. Though the Web address is currently inactive, many took ZeniMax's ownership of the URL as proof positive that its MMORPG will be set in Elder Scrolls' realm of Tamriel.
Or it could just be a simple case of cybersquatter prevention.
"We are tired of people squatting on domains related to our games or simply not being able to get them if we needed them (note oblivion.com, fallout.com, and many others) and decided a while back we'd get these to keep it from happening again," Bethesda's PR chief Pete Hines told GameSpot. "People are grabbing domains like these and trying to extract money from us for them, or using them for some other purpose."
The official story: But while Hines was up front about the explanation for the URL registration, his chatty demeanor evaporated when the subject turned to the ZeniMax MMORPG. "They aren't talking about what they are doing and won't be for a long time," was all he would say.
Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus that the URL registration confirms the existence of an Elder Scrolls MMORPG. However, with others holding the Fallout and Star Trek MMORPG rights, the RPG franchise--famous for having MMORPG-size open worlds--is the only truly proven property in Bethesda's catalog.