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Elder Scrolls Online gets console release date and drops mandatory subscriptions

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will finally release on PS4 and Xbox One worldwide on June 9, but current PC players will see some big changes before then. Bethesda Softworks announced today that it plans to drop mandatory subscriptions for its fantasy MMO, letting players access the game at any point after they pay the one-time purchase price.

The Tamriel Unlimited update will roll out on PC on March 17. Of course, the game isn't just going to be 100 percent free after that - players will be allowed to purchase 'special, optional downloadable content' and pick up 'convenience and customization items' via an in-game Crown store. All players will still receive regular gameplay and content updates at no extra charge.

The business model may sound familiar to anyone who's played Guild Wars 2, which supplements its one-time purchase with an in-game cash shop offering everything from seasonal costumes to experience point boosters. Unlike Guild Wars 2, The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will also offer an optional 'ESO Plus' subscription which confers several in-game bonuses, access to all DLC packs, and a steady drip of Crown currency.

Current PC subscribers will find their accounts automatically roll over to ESO Plus on March 17, though they're free to cancel and keep playing for free. If you haven't been following ESO since its release, the game recently added much-requested crime and punishment options - which is good, because it just isn't Elder Scrolls if you can't rob a merchant and then try to sell him his own stuff back.

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.