The ESO May Come to Consoles

Zenimax Online hasn’t ruled out releasing The Elder Scrolls Online on consoles according to the studio’s head.

In an interview with GamesIndustry, Matt Firor explained that uncertainty over the next generation is the main thing that’s holding the company back.

“There are a lot of rumors swirling around the next-gen coming back together with PCs,” he said. “It seems like things are going back to a more standard platform. That being said, we haven’t thought about it heavily right now. The worst thing you can do is worry about new platforms while in development.

“We want to do what we’re doing right now and then look around for further opportunities. Certainly we’re open to new opportunities, and we’re going to be looking into new territories beyond North America and Europe.”

Online game development is all about doing whatever you want, pushing limitations, and it’s just easier to do on an open platform. Someday, it may all change.

Firor explained that he doesn’t know if any potential console version of the game would be connected with the PC version, as is the case with Final Fantasy XI, as it would depend on the technology. Despite this, he shared his feeling that we may be seeing more MMOs on consoles in the near future.

He claimed, “It’s the classic desk vs. couch argument, but it is blurring over time. The current-gen and previous-gen MMOs were all about using the keyboard and mouse, and sure, everyone used things like Ventrilo and other voice chat services, but that only works in a small group. A lot of that has been thanks to design problems that people haven’t focused on a lot, such as typing and controlling at the same time.

“The 360, when announced was a pretty ridiculously cool device, but it is not so good anymore compared to PCs and even when it was announced PCs were still better than it. The technology was a little limiting for the size and scope of the world you could have. It mostly comes down to PCs being wide open. Online game development is all about doing whatever you want, pushing limitations, and it’s just easier to do on an open platform. Someday, it may all change.”

With so much still up in the air, it’s no surprise that Firor refused to be drawn on the potential business model for the game, simply saying it would be revealed “later”. There’s been speculation both ways in recent months, with some arguing that Guild Wars 2’s imminent release means the title can’t risk charging a fee, while others argue that as development began in 2007 when most MMOs had recurring costs, it’s likely the game was designed with that model in mind.

But despite the crowded MMO marketplace, Firor explained the team isn’t worried. He refuted the suggestion that Blizzard dominates the fantasy genre with World of Warcraft, arguing, “All fears have been erased after the success of Skyrim. It just shows that the IP, fantasy or not, is giant and very popular. It resonates with a lot of people in a lot of different parts of the world. It is perfect for an MMO, so I am not worried about that at all.”

The Elder Scrolls Online is due out in 2013.

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