Not quite a year after it launched on PC, Zenimax is dropping the subscription requirement from The Elder Scrolls Online.

To reflect the change, the game's name will be changed to The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.

Zenimax expects subscription-free play to be available on PC and Mac from March 17, and on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 when the game launches on June 9.

After the launch of Tamriel Unlimited on PC, the only requirement to play will be a copy of the game, an internet connection, and a valid game account.

On console, an Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus membership will also be required to play.

Tamriel Unlimited will provide players with the base game and updates for free, but special “optional” DLC will only be provided to those who pay.

Likewise, convenience and vanity items will be sold for real-world money (via a new in-game currency called crowns) in a shop in the game. However, gold is still the main currency players will use in transactions with NPCs and other players.

There will still be an option to pay a monthly subscription, which Zenimax is calling an ESO Plus membership. Those who subscribe will receive exclusive in-game stat bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns to spend, and access to all DLC.

Those who are current subscribers will be automatically switched to an ESO Plus membership. There's more information here.

The console versions of The Elder Scrolls Online will include all the changes and updates made to the PC game since launch last April.

Game director Matt Firor said that the console versions are "not just ports of the PC/Mac game", and will benefit from a redesigned user interface, voice chat, and full PlayStation Network and Xbox Live integration.

Earlier this month, EB Games began removing copies of The Elder Scrolls Online and the game’s pre-paid subscription cards from its stores.

"This is just part of a normal stock recall,” a spokesperson said.


Updated 22/01 9:55am:

We initially referred to the game's new business model as "free to play", but of course you still need to purchase a copy to play it. We regret the error.