The Elder Scrolls Online publisher Bethesda Softworks is transitioning the subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game to a subscription-free model, the company announced today.
Bethesda will relaunch the existing Mac and Windows PC game as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited on March 17. The long-awaited, twice-delayed console version will be released June 9 on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC, one year after its originally announced release window. Bethesda delayed the console version by six months in May 2014, and pushed it back to 2015 last month.
All current Elder Scrolls Online PC accounts, open or closed, will be updated to Tamriel Unlimited upon its launch in March. New players will be able to make a one-time purchase and "play, without restrictions, for as long as they like," said Bethesda in a press release. The Elder Scrolls Online developer ZeniMax Online Studios will continue to support the game with "regular updates and new gameplay" for no additional cost, and will also develop optional paid downloadable content. We've reached out to Bethesda to ask how much the initial purchase will cost, and will update this article with any information we receive.
Players who currently subscribe to The Elder Scrolls Online, which costs $14.99 per month, will be automatically upgraded to "ESO Plus" accounts when Tamriel Unlimited launches. ESO Plus is a premium membership for Tamriel Unlimited, and players who wish to pay for it will receive "exclusive in-game bonuses" and access to all DLC packs. ESO Plus members will also get a monthly drop of Crowns, the new in-game currency that is debuting in The Elder Scrolls Online for the subscription-free version. Crowns can be spent in the new Crown Store on customization and convenience items.
"Our fans are our biggest inspiration, and we've listened to their feedback on the entertainment experience they want," said Matt Firor, game director of The Elder Scrolls Online.
ZeniMax Online Studios will provide more details on The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited during a Twitch livestream beginning at noon ET today. For more, watch the seven-minute cinematic trailer, "The Confrontation," above.
Update: The purchase on PC and Mac will cost $59.99, the same price as the PS4 and Xbox One versions, a Bethesda Softworks representative confirmed to Polygon. ESO Plus will cost $14.99 per month, the same as the current subscription fee.
Correction: A previous version of this article said The Elder Scrolls Online is going free-to-play. It is not; Tamriel Unlimited will require a one-time purchase for unlimited access to the game, aside from future paid DLC releases. We've edited the article to reflect this.