Elite: Dangerous is dropping support for Win32 and DirectX 10, meaning people with older cards and operating systems will no longer be able to play the space sim.
For more like Elite, check out our list of PC's best space games.
Elite: Dangerous is constantly growing in size and scope, with planetary landings added to the game a while back and with more smaller updates coming each month. Ship-launched fighters and more varied space stations are entering beta for update 2.2 tomorrow.
It seems now we're getting to a point where supporting older machines is holding the game back, so Frontier are planning to phase support out for DirectX 10 and 32-Bit Windows within the next six months.
"We spend a good deal of time planning for the future, and one issue (and opportunity) we are considering is the effect of supporting Win32 and DX10, and the benefits we would get if we were to drop them," explained Frontier CEO David Braben in a forum post.
"We support leading edge technology like 4K, 8K, VR, and with things like compute shaders in Horizons we really push the boundaries overall, but there are restrictions with Win32 – particularly the amount of memory we can address at one time – and with DX10 in terms of requiring an alternative rendering solution in our code. Dropping these two would help us support high end effects with a better result – to make the game better."
Braben goes on to explain that around 0.5% of players use Win32, while around 2% use DirectX 10 - some of the former can update their OS, but the latter will be required to buy a new graphics card to continue playing.
"We do appreciate that although those are small percentages, that is still a significant number of people affected," Braben says. "We want to give as much notice as we can. It will be at least six months before we would make the change, but we want to know your opinions first, and to give warning that the change will need to come at some point, so please let us know."
So even though Frontier are asking for feedback, it seems like the change is inevitable.
As for the rest of the players, what can they expect to gain from Frontier cutting support for Win32 and DX10? Accorfing to Braben, "Principally better performance and prettier effects". It should also help with development time on new features, as obscure bugs can eat into dev and QA time.