[Update: The original statements out of ZeniMax were inaccurate. Here's the latest word: "The physical console version of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited does not require a one-time game code. As with any other boxed PS4 / Xbox One game only the game disc is needed for verification."]
Oh wow, I thought the online passes for console games trend died back in 2011, when everyone realised how stupid of an idea it was. Turns out no one passed the memo on to Bethesda or ZeniMax, as The Elder Scrolls Online’s console release has brought it back.
Each player will require a registration code to be applied to their TESO account in much the same way as the PC release, as explained by a Zenimax Online admin in a forum post. This is to prevent second hand copies of the game from getting access:
“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 [Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited] 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.”
However, the game still won’t require a subscription fee when it launches on consoles on June 9, as The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited saw it ditching that fee in March. It does make sense it'd want to make sure people are buying the game new if they're not pumping money in to it each month. Still sucks for consumers though.