When console gamers get a chance to buy The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited for either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, the thing they grab in a package will contain a CD key. That’s right, welcome back to the 90s and early 2000s, folks. CD keys are a thing again.

If you want to play the obviously always online Elder Scrolls Online, you’ll need this one-time-use CD key. That means you have to buy the game new, no rentals, resales or loans to friends allowed.

This whole thing came up on the game’s official forums, and one of the devs responded with specifics that confirm the existence of the CD key requirements.

“To clarify, you will need a unique game registration code in order to play the game, and used copies will not be eligible to receive a key if the code has already been redeemed…

…It works the same way as the PC version in that the code included in the box is to activate your ESOTU account and the discs are for installation purposes. If you own the disc but don’t have a key, you’ll be able to install the game and reach the login screen, but you won’t be able to log in and access the game without an active ESOTU account.”


Some folks are offering up that this totally makes sense and is a non-story because the game is an MMO. Perhaps, but TESO is an MMO trying to make it on the console scene, a place with different standards for rental, loan and resale. The game should adapt to the standards of the platform, and not ask its users to change their frame of minds in order to play along.

So, no, you won’t be able to get TESO: Tamriel Unlimited used. You also won’t be able to rent it.