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Zenimax Online Studios | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 04/04/14)  | Pub:Bethesda Softworks
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download,Retail | Retail Price:$59.99 | Pay Type:Buy to Play | Monthly Fee:Free
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Zenimax Accidentally Integrates Ad Spyware, Removing It Monday

Posted by William Murphy on Jun 02, 2018  | Comments

Zenimax Accidentally Integrates Ad Spyware, Removing It Monday -

It seems there were some crossed wires at Zenimax Online Studios, as the makers of Elder Scrolls Online accidentally flipped the switch on ad tracking software known as Redshell in a recent patch. It was apparently a tool they've been researching, but not one that was supposed to be on the live servers yet.

If you cannot wait until Monday's patch, there are methods to block Redshell to avoid it collecting your information. Those can be found at the thread linked below as well.

A user caught onto this and posted about it on the forums, leading to an official explanation and apology from ZOS' Matt Firor:

My apologies for the confusion over the integration of Red Shell into ESO. Here’s what happened: we have been experimenting with a better way to link which advertisements and web content new players see to the eventual account that is created in the game. The ONLY purpose this would be used for is to determine from which origin points our new players come from, so we can better plan where to place advertisements and other web content. Existing accounts will never encounter this, as they are already created.

Several factors came together in Update 18 and Red Shell was erroneously added to the live build when we were still testing and evaluating it. It has never been active in ESO, even though the base tech is in the client – i.e. it was never enabled. So, we will remove it from Update 18, which will take place in the PC/Mac incremental build scheduled for this coming Monday (it was never considered for Console, so won’t be in Tuesday’s U18 launch). We never should have done this without giving everyone a heads up it was coming, and we will learn from this mistake.

That being said, we are still investigating how to use this technology in the future to grow and sustain ESO more effectively. When/if we do so, we will give everyone a heads up with clear instructions as to what it is doing, how it is doing it, and how to opt-out should you so desire.

Check out the patch notes on Monday for the notice that Red Shell has been removed from U18, and we will keep everyone posted – and again, my apologies.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of,, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.
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