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Elite Dangerous console development canceled, new content will be for PC only

‘This was not an easy decision to make’

Players deploy on the surface of a planet, weapons at the ready, in Elite Dangerous: Odyssey Image: Frontier Developments
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Development of the console version of Elite Dangerous is canceled, meaning that players on PlayStation and Xbox devices will never get to play the latest expansion, Elite Dangerous: Odyssey. Frontier Developments made the announcement on Thursday. The decision follows a lengthy effort to shore up the game on PC.

“Over the last several months, we have been wrestling with the best way to move forward and it is with a heavy heart we have decided to cancel all console development,” wrote CEO and franchise co-creator David Braben. “We need to be able to move forward with the story of the game, and in order for us to do this we need to focus on a single codebase. Elite Dangerous will continue on console as it is now together with critical updates, but we will focus on new content updates on PC on the post-Odyssey codebase.”

The Odyssey expansion added new gameplay opportunities to the spacefaring game, including atmospheric flight and new settlement locations that offer dynamic first-person gameplay based on player actions. But it also drastically changed planet generation, meaning that the game literally does not look the same as it did when it launched in 2014. Add in frame rate and connectivity issues, plus other problems, and it’s been quite a rocky road since Odyssey launched in the spring of 2021. Now it seems that Frontier is cutting its losses to focus on the PC platform, which has the largest player base by far.

“We appreciate this news is not what our console community were hoping for. This was not an easy decision to make, but it was made with the long-term future of Elite Dangerous in mind,” Braben said. “With regards to what is coming next in Elite Dangerous, we look forward to sharing further news in due course.”

Elite Dangerous has been a cross-platform game for quite some time now, but not in the traditional sense. Players on console and PC inhabit the same universe, but are strictly segregated from one another. The game’s storyline, however, and the background simulation that controls its many inhabited planets and warring factions has always been shared between all three platforms. That has allowed for massive events like the Distant Worlds expeditions, with more than 14,000 players taking part across all three versions of the game. It’s unclear how similar events will be impacted going forward.

Tight-knit Elite communities already have been hit hard by the news. Commander Either, who runs the New Pilots Initiative to help new players get up to speed across multiple platforms, put it plainly in an announcement to players on Discord:

“Clearly this is terrible news,” they said, “for the game community as a whole, and our console brethren in particular. I’m not going to try to put a positive spin on this, many people, myself included, are very angry and frustrated with [Frontier Developments] for this decision.”

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