Elder Scrolls Online console delay was "the right thing to do"

Bethesda talks about one of the challenges of bringing the game from PC to consoles.

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Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners were originally supposed to be getting their hands on The Elder Scrolls Online next month, but the game's delay means fans will be waiting until at least the end of the year before playing it on consoles. The decision to hold the game back "seemed like the right thing to do," according to Bethesda's vice president of PR and marketing, Pete Hines, who has shared some new insight into what contributed to the delay.

"We're not happy about it -- obviously we much rather have the console version out in June," he told CVG. "But it seemed like the right thing to do, and we did spend a little time working with the console folks to try to come up with some kind of a thing so that the folks who couldn't play it could buy the PC version and then add a next-gen console version later for a lot less money. That seemed like something that was worth working on before we announced the delay."

Hines was asked how Bethesda goes about filling the gap it now finds in its release schedule with ESO out of the picture. While the publisher hasn't explicitly set out to release something new in the MMO's place, he pointed to that upgrade plan--buy the PC version by the end of June and you'll be able to get the console version for $20 and carry your progress over to it--as filling that hole in a way. "So maybe that's the answer to your question -- trying to come up with something to say, 'Look, this sucks and we're going to try to do this to [compensate].'"

When the delay was announced earlier this month, Bethesda offered little explanation, simply stating it was "still working to solve a series of unique problems specific to those platforms." Those problems were said to include integrating its systems with the networks used by the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Even with the similarities between the Xbox One and PC, Hines said it "is and isn't" surprising that bringing the game over is a challenge "because it's not an open system, it's a closed system. It's not just an ESO thing -- they have rules and regulations that govern all games, if you're going to do something it has to work a certain way. It doesn't matter the way that we want to do it -- it has to fit their requirements."

Payments are one such example: "When we do stuff on PC, we manage it ourselves, it goes through our store, we manage the whole thing. When it goes through somebody else, that someone is doing all of that; taking your money, charging your PayPal, and then transferring that information to us. This is just inherently a different process than the one that we have, where it's our store and we just have to make sure our system works.

"It's the same thing on PSN -- you have to just make sure that all of that stuff communicates. When you start adding up the pile of things and everything that we learned from launch, it was clear that we needed to take the time to do this right, because it has massive ramifications if it doesn't work right for the consumer experience."

While the delay was initially announced to be "about six months," Bethesda has since said it can't guarantee the game will be ready for launch on consoles before the end of the year. Keep in mind, the console market has seen the release of only a small number of MMOs, and this is the first from Bethesda.

The Elder Scrolls Online was released on PC in April and earned a 6.0 in GameSpot's review. Its first major update was released just last week, introducing the game's first adventure zone, a "Death Recap" screen, and bug fixes.

Do you plan on taking advantage of the PC-to-console upgrade offer? Has the delay or reception for the PC version impacted your interest in picking up ESO on console? Let us know in the comments.

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