This single tweet made me very excited. Why? Well two reasons really. For one, Pete Hines took the time out from his busy day to read my open letter to ZOS. More importantly, this told me that ZOS – all of Bethesda really – were listening to their fan base. Furthermore, this indicates that ZOS is very aware of their player base, a large portion of which are players who grew up playing the Elder Scrolls on a console – like me.

And then last week happened. You know, perhaps the most exciting news for any Elder Scrolls fan? Yeah, this news. During the Sony presser last week, it was announced that Elder Scrolls Online will be coming to next gen consoles. You can only imagine my excitement. In fact, I jumped off my couch, cheered, ran around my living room like a maniac, and then promptly texted Bradford and Brian who were both at E3.

To many of you MMO veterans, this may not be newsworthy at all. And you have every right to feel so, mostly because MMOs have primarily been on PC. But, we must all remember, this game is an Elder Scrolls game first and an MMO second. It has a gargantuan task of appealing to not only the MMO veterans, but also the TES veterans, many of which are console players.

As a fan who grew to love these games on console first, this is massive news. More than anything, this broadens the audience and allows ZOS to appeal to a LOT more players than before. Now, “broadening the audience” shouldn’t be taken as “dumbing down the game” (more on this in a second). It literally means that more players will be able to play the game – which is a good thing!

Don’t have a PC or Mac? Don’t worry! You’ll be able to play this game if you have a console! Just think about that for a second. ZOS has just potentially tripled their player base by coming to console. That’s three times as many players that can enjoy this game now, three times as many players can have fun wandering around Tamriel without feeling alienated because they don’t have a computer to play on. This is huge.

Remember that “dumbing down” thing I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that’s not going to happen, and here’s why. ZOS has repeatedly stated that because Elder Scrolls Online is coming to console, some UI changes will have to be made to accommodate the gamepads on the Xbox One and PS4. This is to be expected. Of course a keyboard+mouse will control differently than a gamepad, that’s just obvious. This means that the menus, etc will be tweaked to take advantage of the respective input method. Again, this is a good thing. There is nothing more frustrating than enjoying a game, only to be slowed down by unoptimized UI, regardless of your input method of choice.

Because it bears repeating, I will state once again that this does not mean that the game will be “dumbed down”. The console players will be playing against players who use a gamepad, thus leveling the field for their platform. Will they have just as much fun as the PC guys? No question. Will they waste countless hours of their lives in Tamriel like the PC guys? Absolutely. Will they be playing the same game as the PC players? Most definitely. There is no “dumbing down”. End of discussion.

Now, a lot of you – no seriously, a LOT of you – have been asking me which platform I will play on. I can say that without a shadow of a doubt, I will buy this game on my PS4. Why? For one simple reason – gamepad. “Aha, but Shank”, you exclaim, “ZOS said via Twitter and other interviews that you can use third party button mapping software to utilize a gamepad!”

This is statement is 100% true, no denying that. But remember what was mentioned above: the UI for this game will be unique to the platform on which it’s played. This means that even if I play this game on PC with a gamepad via button mapping software, the UI will be optimized for a keyboard+mouse – not my gamepad. This is exactly the reason why even though I have button mapping software for Oblivion, I went back to play it on my Xbox. Which brings me back to the whole “it’s not fun playing with unoptimized UI” argument.

Secondly, as I’ve mentioned many times before, I grew to love these games on consoles – even Skyrim (which, by the way, has gamepad support on PC). Elder Scrolls and consoles go together for me. It’s where I first learned about Tamriel. I need my gamepad. It’s just that simple.

Also, many of you have mentioned to me that if I buy this game on PS4, I won’t be able to play on the ESOTR guild. Again, this is completely true. But, remember that I am a newb to MMOs. I have only ever experienced the beauty of the single-player games. Remember also that Elder Scrolls Online can be played solo – a MAJOR win for players like me. I know that I will definitely be playing this game solo for that classic Elder Scrolls feel. It will be me versus Tamriel, just like old times.

I realize that my opinion is not very popular among the community, and I understand that. I come form a very different background and have very different tastes – very extreme tastes considering my playstyle.

But…isn’t that precisely why Elder Scrolls has been so hugely successful? It appeals to players of all play styles. And that’s exactly what ZOS is aiming to deliver on, that promise of “anyone can play this game however he wants to”.

I couldn’t be more excited.

Shadow hide you.

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Avatar of Shank
Editor for Quest Gaming Network and Co-Host of Elder Scrolls off the Record and Totally Heroes. Shank loves massive open-world Western RPG's. He is known to wander aimlessly for hours and generally ignores quests. While he also likes First Person Shooters, he sucks pretty bad at them. His first priority in any game he plays is graphics - an importance which he will argue to the death. Follow him on Twitter @ShankThTank

12 Responses to “ESO On Consoles: Why It Matters” Subscribe

  1. Inajira June 19, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    You’re not in the minority. For me it’s about experiencing a TES game once again. The fact that there are other players (vaguely somewhere in the background) is entirely incidental. Give me Oblivion (sorry, Skyrim) that I can occasionally play with a friend, that’s all I want.

  2. Jubi June 19, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve been very happy with the announcement, personally. I’ve come up through MMOs on both PC and consoles. FF11 was just as fun for me either way, untill I hit the soft cap of party favoritism hehe.
    I am a little disappointed that consoles will have segregated servers, but I do understand why they are going that rout.

  3. Jubi June 19, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I’ve been very happy with the announcement, personally. I’ve come up through MMOs on both PC and consoles. FF11 was just as fun for me either way.
    I am a little disappointed that consoles will have segregated servers, but I do understand why they are going that rout.

  4. Jubi June 19, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I’ve been very happy with the announcement, personally.
    I am a little disappointed that consoles will have segregated servers, but I do understand why they are going that rout.

  5. Auroness June 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm #
    Avatar of Auroness

    My consoles are for gaming. The controller in my hand is relaxing, and my mind loses its stress. Oblivion, Skyrim, and Fallout have kept me entertained for thousands of hours. I don’t have to worry about graphics cards, over-clocking, and other technical mumbo-jumbo. Console makers have already figured it out. I can just play.

  6. Zederok June 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    if the game would of came out on PC exclusively then TESO would of had the potential to grow their market share triple fold as I guarantee you that at least half of all those who consider TES games a love would of bought the MMO version to see what the hoopla was all about. Now those Console gamers will never know the joy of an actual MMO and will play it on a Dumbed Down console.

    You keep saying that the PC version won’t get dumbed down but I assure you that after 15+ years in MMO’s the Suits who control the purse strings will take the lesser road and more financially viable road EVERY single time. Paul Sage’s words are nothing but “Dev Speak” and those of us in the know…read: MMO gamers, understand this speech all to well.

    Fact: The console versions will never be as robust and as immersive an experience as the PC version

    Fact: Eventually, maybe not at release, but in 2-3 patch cycles (6-9 months after release) every new ideal/content/system will be designed with interoperability in mind. Meaning the PC version systems will eventually get dumbed down to console level. what makes more business sense? Designing two different patch systems which takes double the time and double the man hours or make it so that ONE version works across all platforms? Answer, the latter EVERY single time and no amount of Dev speak will sway me otherwise as I have 15+ years of MMO experience and 200+ years of Economic Principles on my side.

    Fact: The population of the game will forever be fragmented across multiple platforms never being able to bring them into the community at-large, splintering any sense of community cohesion.

    Fact: The game will never complete with AAA MMO titles due to these issues.

    Fact: for 7+ years now the MMO landscape has been replete with bust after bust, due to developers trying to cater to too many factions of players but primarily due to these MMO’s failing to capture the spiurit of what make an MMO an MMO. So when your statements like: “”"But, we must all remember, this game is an Elder Scrolls game first and an MMO second.”"” It makes me want to pull my hair out because the last decade of MMO games have seen games released as MMO’s second and what really needs to happen is to have MMO systems FIRST and at the fore front, not packaged away behind the IP of a juggernaut. Else you get SWTOR 2.0, and I assure you, making an MMO with IP credentials first and MMO principles second will create another SWTOR catastrophe.

    • Broken_Psyche June 19, 2013 at 11:29 pm #
      Avatar of Broken_Psyche

      @Zederok

      Your opening paragraph is a little difficult to understand due to some poor sentence construction, though I can sort of understand what you are implying. It is, however, strangely inaccurate to assume that they will triple their market share by making the game exclusive to PC only. As Shank said in the article, making ESO available across three different platforms will increase their player-base and therefore market-share. Especially for players who want to see ESO in all it’s glory, but can’t afford a high-end gaming machine and therefore purchase a PS4/Xbox One.

      As for ‘dumbing down’ the PC version for ‘financial viability’, while a possibility, is mere speculation. They are making the game for PC first and adjusting certain systems for consoles, e.g. the game UI. This does not mean that the rest of the game will suffer. What it DOES mean is that they already have systems in place for a cross-platform launch. Sure, they are watching their bottom line in development terms, but maybe, just maybe, they have decided to take a risk and these so-called ‘suits’ have deemed that it could be more ‘financially viable’ to go down this path. To not allow the thought of change is to accept a rigidity of thinking that will most certainly contribute to the detriment of the gaming industry as a whole.

      For your first fact, yes, consoles probably won’t be as robust as PC, but the next-gen consoles coming out aren’t the same aging, timid platforms we’ve had for years now. As for the immersion, that is one part platform, two parts end user. The amount of enjoyment/immersion you get from the game doesn’t depend entirely on the platform.

      Your second fact implies that ZOS/Bethesda will implode in terms of system delivery for their game. But why? Because others have, according to your opinion, done this before? As I said above, they already have cross-platform systems in place for launch, who is to say they don’t also have systems/plans in place, stemming from the original systems, for patching and updating across all the platforms?

      The third fact is mostly true and has also be reinforced in interviews with the developers. It was decided to keep the console platforms separated from PC/Mac players purely for fairness, with which I can totally agree with. However, who knows what the future holds? Maybe they might find a way to enable ALL platform communities the ability to play together in one, massive virtual world fairly and equally.

      Your next fact is out of place in your comment as you have another following it.

      For your final fact, it seems that you have temporarily forgotten what MMO actually means, or failed to mention it in your closing statement. MMO = Massively Multiplayer Online. It means exactly that. So, in essence, what MAKES an MMO are the people who play it. We are the spirit, not some obscure system or design or business model. What ZOS is trying to bring the gaming community is an Elder Scrolls experience we can share with others at the same time.

      Personally, I’m absolutely looking forward to this title. I have played every Elder Scrolls title since Arena and enjoyed every moment in their world. I wish success to the developers/publishers in bringing this title to us, the gamers who drive the stories throughout Tamriel.

      ~Life is too short to be normal~

    • MrkErl June 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      Fact: Placing “Fact:” in front of an opinionated statement doesn’t make it a fact.

  7. Daniel C. June 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm #
    Avatar of Daniel C

    Seriously Shank, I have no problem at all with your arguments stated here. I will most likely play on PC/Mac, but I will also be getting the next gen consoles, and so I’ll probably be getting ESO on one of those as well. The question for me is: which one..?
    Anyways, I really don’t understand how people can be up in arms and mad about your opinion and play style… You and Zenimax have perfectly valid arguments for bringing ESO to the next gen consoles and I support it. I will probably be able to play with at least one of my console friends now, which is pretty sweet.
    I just hope they support local or in-game party voice chat on consoles.
    Either way, I’m getting pretty excited for ESO and Destiny.

  8. wondra June 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Although I never had console (and maybe because of it) I was presonally disappointed with the news, this mean only limitations for PC players.
    Consoles are in nature static HW that means two things:
    1) ESO will be limited by performace of the weakest console it will be ever released on. For good.
    2) There are limits in concept which cannot be crossed because of its also console game (no more skills on skillbar, no function which couldnt be bound on pad)
    I expect flame how the new consoles will be powerfull machines – they are, but they wont be another 8 years and even with new console cycle the old ones will not improve.
    On the other hand this might indicate they do not plan any monthly fee – it would be technically difficult to maintain this system across all platforms and would cut the income.

    • Th3FistOfN1nt3ndosP4st June 30, 2013 at 7:59 am #

      considering they said the game could be played on 5 year old pc systems,before they decided to bring it to consoles.It was gonna be limited anyway only now elitest pc gamers are gonna blame consoles.Also considering mmos in general to change much in requirements even if pc exclusive.Hell world of warcraft has only changed by stopping support of windows xp,but still can be played on hardware that is 10 years old.Truth is and most pc elitest gamers will never admit is they don’t want to share.They want it all to themselves because they think they are superior to console gamers.But I’m not suprised considering most that can afford the high end gaming pcs were th same stuck up snobs that in reality would never beat a console gamer if a game was cross platform.I used to beat them all the time on shadowrun and always out preformed them on FF11.And I played both those games on consoles against pc players.

  9. Jonathan July 1, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    I am glad they made this for consoles, I was excited when I heard about ESO but knew that I most likely wouldn’t be able to play it, I can’ afford a computer that can play these types of games, so I am happy they decided to make this for the consoles as well. Next thing I am nervous about is the business model, I really hope that it won’t be a monthly subscription.

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