Pete Hines explains why Skyrim Special Edition won't be free on Console
Bethesda Game Studios has announced that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition will be free for those who have the original game and all the DLCs on PC. This also means that Special Edition will not be free for console users, although those users may have all DLCs. Pete Hines, vice president of marketing at Bethesda, has explained why Bethesda has made such decision.
@SerpentMonkey we're making a game available for Xbox one and PS4. It already exists on PC, with high res textures.— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) June 18, 2016
@SerpentMonkey because it's for a new platform. Just like any other remaster for new platforms.— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) June 18, 2016
Basically, Skyrim Special Edition is the remastered version of the original Skyrim, an open-world action RPG. PC version of the original Skyrim has diverse mods that can affect the game, and some of them are related to making the game's graphic look better. So, almost all features that are included in the Special Edition were available for PC users. That is why Bethesda has decided to let PC users have free upgrades.
However, the situation is different for consoles. Originally, Skyrim for consoles didn't offer any chance to use mods, while Special Edition will support PC mods.
So, while PC users does not have any merits to buy Skyrim Special Edition, console users do. That is why Bethesda is not selling it for free on consoles.