The Elder Scrolls Online is pulled from Stadia Pro’s lineup, causing players to cry foul

    
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Back in June, The Elder Scrolls Online first announced that it would be arriving for free on Stadia Pro, with the only asterisk being that it was limited to certain territories. Indeed, the game’s own support site explains that the base game and Morrowind would be included, and it even touted Stadia’s PC cross-play and cross-progression support — with no mention of any time limitations. But now the game has been pulled from Stadia Pro, generating consternation among some members of the playerbase.

According to the forum post and a similar Reddit post, and confirmed in the linked Stadia blog, ESO was free to claim as well as free to play on Stadia, but the claiming part of the deal was ended on July 16th — information that was buried in one line of a post that was otherwise drumming up hype for games being added to the platform. Which means anyone who didn’t claim the game on the Stadia Pro before then is now SOL, causing no end of upset for the players on Reddit and the official forums.

We note here that there were other notices about the need to claim ESO, posted both on Stadia’s announcement and as part of a couple of lines in another blog post about games being added on top of the referenced post. It was also mentioned briefly during the Stadia Connect presentation a week ago. That said, the game’s more direct marketing feed on Twitter was not exactly forthright about the claiming requirement, which ultimately is the bee in players’ bonnets.

source: official forums, Reddit, Stadia Community site, ESO support site. With thanks to Chris! This article was updated after publication to clarify that the time limitations were indeed noted by Stadia.
Update 2:45 p.m. EDT
ZeniMax has let us know that it’s now updated its support page. Here is the new statement there, confirming what players had already gathered from Stadia:

“The Elder Scrolls Online Standard Edition was a Stadia Pro title for a limited time. Stadia Pro members are no longer able to claim ESO for free, but it is still available in the Stadia Store as a traditional purchase. If you have already claimed The Elder Scrolls Online with your Stadia Pro membership you may continue to play The Elder Scrolls Online Standard Edition as long as your pro membership remains active. This allows you to experience the base game’s 23 zones, four classes, AND the Morrowind Chapter (with an additional zone and the Warden class).”

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Nudiggity

It’s $20 for the game. Everyone just settle down already.

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Heather

I paid $8 for my copy from Green Man Gaming a few weeks ago. When I googled the game just now I found it on sale from $5 to $10 depending on who you go through. It’s only a $20 game at this point if you don’t check first.

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Hayden Edward Brown

Pretty unfair for the new Zealand players as Stadia is not available in New zealand

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Alex Willis

Hi guys! I’m still alive! (COVID work at hospitals is nnnnnggggg)

I blew the whistle on this last week, submitted a support ticket, etc. Why? Because I missed the “free” cutoff by 2 hours. Subbed to Stadia, could not find ESO, yadda yadda, rest is history.

This is actually more on ZOS than it is on Stadia.

1. If you had already subbed to Stadia and their blogs, you would have received this information, sure. But if you had not, then this news would have zipped right over your head. There was no mention of this limitation on the ESO store page. (Believe me, I checked it often in the days leading up to my attempt to claim it for free.) So if you were already in the Stadia communications silo — good for you. But any of us who were outside it? Nadda.

2. ZOS continued to feature “news” and support content that detailed ESO would be “free” if you subbed to Stadia Pro. They did not include any expiration dates to this. Obviously they should have. So this is their fault, if you had to assign it to one party. But Stadia should have published very clear limitations on any partnership offers. None were apparent.

I unsubbed from Stadia Pro since the only reason I had it was to get ESO, which I already own and had no intention of buying again.

All in all, this was a very silly way to do this offer — completely amateurish on both sides. The marketing should have been exceedingly clear on both sides. It wasn’t. And I was one of the people who got burned.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I tend to agree with you that ZOS could’ve promoted this more clearly. Stadia has become such a non-entity in gaming (don’t come for me, I’m still an Android fangirl with Google Fi) that it wouldn’t have even occurred to me to go to Stadia’s blogs for this kind of info. I doubt it would’ve occurred to most ESO fans either. I wish all parties had made everything much more clear so no players were left in the lurch.

Alex, thank you for doing what you do – please take care of yourself.

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Japheth

Wrong.

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Bruno Brito

What wrong?

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Japheth

Use your $10 coupon if you have it. It is worth it anyway just because of the cross entitlement. So you just need the base game on Stadia to get everything you have on PC.

Just saying.

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Alex Willis

I am unaware of any coupons.

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Japheth

Stadia gave everyone a $10 coupon to use on next purchase. You may not have gotten it or it could have been pro only not sure. Easy thing to check is to go into a game page and it is pretty easy to see. It will remind you that you have a coupon near the top of the page.

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Bruno Brito

Holy crap dude, are you ok? Already at home? Everything all right?

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Alex Willis

Hey! Yes, OK thanks. :)

Working at a hospital at this time is pretty tough but my team is great and when I’m not actually in hospital, I’m spending way more time at home with my wife and kids so there are some silver linings in the middle of this cluterfuck.

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Alex Willis

And I hope you guys are doing well. I know how tough things are down there right now.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Update above – ZeniMax let us know it’s updated its support pages to clarify what’s going on; we’ve included the new support statement in the update above.

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Stefanos Harhalakis

Both this article and the referenced post make an inaccurate claim: They say that ESO was pulled and that someone that subscribed to Pro cannot play the game any more. This is wrong. The game is still available to those that claimed it and will stay like that forever.

The way Pro works is that games become available to claim and once you claim them you keep access to them for as long you have an active Pro subscription.

This is what the poster said: “I had subbed to Stadia Pro exclusively to access ESO using their “free” base game offer […], but I discovered today that this offer ended [snip] yesterday”. This is incorrect. The poster still has access to the game unless they subscribed to Pro without claiming the game, in which case they never played it.

Keep in mind that the “subscription” does not require paying because Pro is free for 1 month, so whoever wrote this actually didn’t “subscribe”. They just created a free account to play the game and if they played it even once then they have access to it forever as long as they have an active Pro subscription.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I think this is semantic confusion – we are not saying that people who are subscribed to pro cannot play the game anymore; we are saying people who didn’t claim it already now cannot claim it through Pro because it’s been pulled. (“anyone who didn’t claim the game on the Stadia Pro before then is now SOL.”) The missing out on the freebie seems to be what the upset is mostly about.

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Stefanos Harhalakis

That’s not what the referenced post says though. Games in Pro come and go and this complaint can be made about all of the games that have been removed. The latest Stadia Connect explicitly said that it’s going out. Here’s the original announcement that explicitly said that it’s going out on July 16: https://community.stadia.com/t5/Stadia-Community-Blog/This-Week-on-Stadia-The-Elder-Scrolls-Online-is-here-and-free/ba-p/24716

The point of confusion in this article is this part of the title: “causing players to cry foul”. I don’t see how any Stadia ESO player may have cried foul. The worst case scenario is that someone started their 1-month free Pro trial just when the ESO offering was going to expire and didn’t manage to claim it, in which case they ended up with 1 month of free access to 19 games and nothing to lose.

Is there a chance that what the article actually wanted to say is: Some ESO players weren’t aware of the Free Stadia ESO offering and didn’t manage to get it on time?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

No, because that’s not what the problem was. The people upset are the people who knew about the offering but didn’t know about the deadline for taking advantage of it because it was poorly communicated from ZOS. The fact that Stadia communicated it marginally well to Stadia fans continues to not be relevant since the problem was communication from ZOS to ESO fans.

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Stefanos Harhalakis

Two things:

a) This still doesn’t justify the “causing players to cry foul” because none of the existing players were affected

b) I have trouble picturing who those people are. Are we talking about 10 people that knew that it’s on Stadia as part of Pro and wanted to get it but delayed getting it? I don’t think that there are many gamers that think like that.

I.e. if someone wanted the game on Stadia then they almost certainly went ahead and got it. For the rest it is just a missed opportunity which certainly doesn’t fall under “crying foul”, regardless of whether the announcement was from ZOS or not. Instead of ESO they got 19 games free for a month. What a disaster!

What I see in Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/elderscrollsonline/comments/htnxdx/farewell_free_eso_with_stadia_pro/) is a misinformation attempt where some people claim that they *paid* for Pro and that they *lost* ESO. But you don’t pay for the first month and you don’t lose the game once you get it. These are well-known trolls that haven’t even tried Stadia and they are just spreading FUD about it. Happens all the time.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I don’t know how else to explain that we’re talking about MMO players, not Stadia fans, who are not our constituency. I obviously disagree with your perception of when we’re entitled to describe ESO players upset about the ESO situation as crying foul, and we are not responsible for confusion on Reddit.

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Nudiggity

Stefanos is right. The only people “crying foul” are those who sealed their own fates. The game was available, they chose to not get it for WHATEVER reason, that’s their own fault. Besides, it’s freaking $20 just buy it!

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QPAW

This is clearly nonsense. Everyone was told. People of idiots

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Bruno Brito

uh…what?

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Jeff Galvan

yooooo show us prooof of crying foul and this is coming from a hardcore stadia fan show us the stadia players crying foul about eso …….

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

The article you’re commenting under includes multiple links to the ESO Reddit and ESO forums where ESO players are complaining. This article isn’t about how “hardcore Stadia fans” feel.

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Bruno Brito

“[–]TychoBeresford 6 pontos 1 dia ago
The whole Stadia thing just felt wrong – wanting me to buy the game again to access my same toons on the same server. I never looked in to Pro, glad I didn’t.”

“[–]protodoxa 2 pontos 2 dias ago
I just got burned by this. Had been under the impression that it was going to remain a Pro game for good, bought Pro, and now I have a sub to Stadia Pro and no games I want, and they will not let me refund.”

“[–]Thraxmonger [score hidden] an hour ago
Sure, I could have done more research. More the fool me for trusting ZOS? If I have to go into a blog site (again, this was not advertised on the ESO Stadia store page) to discover this news, then just mayyyyyyybe that’s a bit buried for someone who wasn’t already subscribed to Stadia newsletters.”

I shouldn’t have to do your research for you, bur most of the uproar seems targeted at Zenimax because…of course it is. This company is incredibly incompetent.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

zenimixup.jpg
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Japheth

Stadia was very clear about this leading up to the 16th. Anyone who claimed the game as a Pro still has access to it as well. I’m not sure what the big deal or why one is being made about it.

This is the first one heard of anyone crying foul now that I think about it. Are we sure this wasn’t just made up to shine a bad light on Stadia? Looks like ZOS are the ones that failed to communicate.

Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

If you follow the reddit post link provided in the article you can see people crying foul over this. (Tho there are ALWAYS people on reddit crying foul over something. That’s a given.) Whether or not you think they’re justified is another matter.

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Japheth

The way the article is written makes it seem like the blame lies with Stadia when it isn’t. They communicated it clearly … Even if ZOS didn’t communicate it clearly it would have been clear to anyone following or using Stadia. Then you have the issue of it being free to claim for like a month or so..

If a person didn’t claim it… It is their own fault.

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PuccSucc

If you watched the Stadia connect on the 14th of July, Megan Timney clearly stated that ESO will be on the pro line up until the 16th. I guess its ok to not put the blame on Zenimax either