Bethesda has been on the opposite of a roll lately, at least as far as its relationship with its fans is concerned. Following everything that made up the Fallout 76 fiasco last fall, the firm doesn’t appear to have learned anything of substance, or has simply made enough money in the process to disregard the public backlash as the cost of doing business.
Cue its handling of the closed beta for The Elder Scrolls: Blades. Some twelve hours back, it started sending out invites to its most loyal fans who opted to pre-register for the upcoming role-playing game via the Google Play Store, which essentially means they agreed to be notified once the title is available. The push notifications arrived sure enough but the game had not.
Or, to be more specific: while all notified users were and still are able to download the currently latest TES: Blades APK file, launching it only reveals the intro title of the game which contains a short interactive sequence teaching players the basics of combat, after which the screen fades to black and reveals another interface saying – you can’t actually play this thing yet.
The message depicted below baffled many a loyal TES fan, as evident by the confusion that soon spread throughout social media. While the deployment of these fake release notifications came simultaneously with Bethesda’s announcement of an open beta test, it seems that move was essentially forced by Google’s developer policy. Namely, making an app available for pre-registrations puts it on track for publication within 90 days. Quite literally, even if no changes have been made to it throughout that three-month period, the Play Store console will auto-publish whatever the latest app build is after 90 days of early enrollment being available, and there’s always something to publish because developers cannot even access the said functionality without having at least one track populated by a working APK file.
That’s apparently what has transpired here and Bethesda’s lack of communication led to the confusion at hand. Early user reports suggest the open beta is currently only available in a small number of countries, though the good news is that the United States is on that list. Mobile gamers in places like the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, and Croatia are out of luck for now, according to social media claims and Android Headlines’ own investigation into the matter. Dozens of individuals from the aforementioned four countries have been complaining about the fake notifications since Wednesday afternoon PST.
Android Headlines can only verify the game is still not available in Germany and Croatia but wasn’t able to confirm other unavailability claims. The in-game message informing users they still aren’t eligible to play is straightforward and relatively transparent, with Bethesda using it to ask mobile gamers to allow the app to send notifications so as to be able to receive yet another promp when TES: Blades is really-really available. The firm cited server workload management as the main reason for the gradual rollout, yet not even much smaller studios with minuscule resources relative to the American developer-publisher opted for such a misleading move in recent memory.
The silver lining is that the new developments suggest TES: Blades will be in early access on a global level by the end of April.