While it may seem like a genre that's ripe for exploration, comprehensive space simulations are a rare breed. It's one thing to drop players into a space-like environment, but it's another thing entirely to truly simulate a living and breathing universe that encourages players to experience the given universe in their own way. Elite: Dangerous is one of the most promising of these titles and thanks to the reveal of a release date, gamers don't have long to wait before beginning their spacefaring career.
In its current state, Elite: Dangerous is available to early adopters through its Mercenary Edition beta program. The game will undoubtedly end up being a big part of this year's holiday launch rush though, as its release on PC has officially been slated for December 16, 2014. This formal release will mark the end of the game's early development phases and represent its shift into the realm of post-release support.
For users who instead opt for Mac OS X as their gaming platform of choice, no firm release date has been given but is expected to launch three months after the PC release. With Star Citizen still potentially quite a few years out from receiving a formal full release, Elite is looking to be one of the most prominent space simulation titles to invade the market for the next little bit.
Ever since the game found success on Kickstarter in 2012, expectations have continued to grow. Receiving comprehensive Oculus Rift support to drive home the immersion that characterizes the genre, it's clear that the team at Frontier Developments are dedicated to not only creating an enormous space-centric experience, but also pushing it forward in a way that will encourage future innovation.
While the space simulation genre may not be an incredibly crowded place, shooting for a holiday release is always a risky move. Often reserved for high-profile AAA releases, it can be hard to come out ahead when faced with so much competition. Elite: Dangerous has a good thing going for it being part of a well-defined niche, but it will take more than an established user-base and niche appeal to compete with everything else that has been saturating the market over the past few weeks.
Does Elite: Dangerous look to be enough to sate your spacefaring hunger? What changes would you like to see in future genre releases?
Elite: Dangerous is set to launch for PC on December 16, 2014 and has a tentative Mac OS X release for three months later.
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