Elder Scrolls Online Dev Hit With Layoffs, But Commits to Continued Support of MMO

Bethesda will "continue to invest heavily to develop new content for PC and Mac players" and is still at work on the console versions.

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ZeniMax Online Studios, the studio responsible for the massively multiplayer Elder Scrolls game The Elder Scrolls Online, has laid off a portion of its staff, parent company Bethesda confirmed today.

Layoffs are the (unfortunate) standard for most game developers in the wake of a game's launch, and MMOs are no exception. That's precisely what Bethesda had to say when questioned about the layoffs.

"As is the norm for games of this type, we had ramped up a large workforce to develop a game of vast scale, and ramped up our customer service to handle the expected questions and community needs of The Elder Scrolls Online at launch," Bethesda PR and marketing boss Pete Hines said in a statement issued to GameSpot. "Now that we are nearly six months post-launch, we have a thriving online community in a game that runs smoothly. We have adjusted staffing to meet the ongoing needs of the studio, which continues to operate with a large workforce."

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ESO launched back in April for PC to somewhat of a lackluster reaction. (Read our review here.) The game has been updated since then with new content and tweaks, but we've received no official indication regarding the number of subscribers Bethesda and ZeniMax have managed to hold on to. A SuperData Research report released earlier this year suggested ESO had almost 800,000 subscribers as of June, a number which, while much smaller than that of World of Warcraft, would be a respectable figure nonetheless if true.

A new promotion designed to retain subscribers was recently announced that rewards those who reach certain milestones with their subscription, such as three total months of paying for the game.

Whatever you may think of that move and these layoffs, Bethesda says it plans to continue supporting ESO. "We remain strongly committed to The Elder Scrolls Online, and continue to invest heavily to develop new content for PC and Mac players, prepare the game for its console launch, and handle our planned expansion into important international territories," Hines said. "As for customer service, we continue to operate large support centers in Hunt Valley, MD and Galway, Ireland. "

Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of ESO were expected out in June, but both were delayed for "about six months." That estimate would put the game's release in December, though Bethesda has said it's no guarantee the console versions will make it out this year and that the delay was the right move. Asked about the status of these versions, Hines would only tell GameSpot that things are progressing as planned.

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