Elite Dangerous’s Arena no longer sold separately

Elite Dangerous: Arena [official site], the £5 standalone release of Elite Dangerous’s competitive combat arena mode, has been pulled from sale less than a year after launching. Folks who bought Arena can still play it but Arena as a separate product isn’t popular to be worth the effort. Most Arena players access it through the main Elite Dangerous client, see. This isn’t the most exciting news but if, months from now, you find yourself thinking “What ever happened to…?” you’ll know.

Frontier senior community manager explained the decision in a forum post on Friday:

“We’ve been looking at our metrics which suggest that the vast majority of new and regular Arena players tend to play Arena through the main Elite Dangerous client rather than the standalone Arena one. We’ve made the decision to remove the standalone version of Elite Dangerous: Arena in order to reduce the number of builds that have to be maintained and managed across Steam, Xbox One and in 2Q’17 PlayStation Network, as well as clarifying the choices for new players of Elite Dangerous on these storefronts.”

Given that Arena isn’t very popular in general, standalone numbers must have been small.

Arena is still playable through the main Elite client, to be clear, and Frontier say that folks who own the standalone client “will still be able to enjoy Arena as they have always done.” So, er, I guess this is them scrapping plans for a standalone release on PlayStation then figuring they may as well stop selling it on other platforms too.

I always saw the Arena standalone as a weird sort of paid demo, hoping to draw people with the pew-pew, especially as Frontier offered Arena purchasers a discount on Dangerous. The full space exploration dealio is the most interesting part of Elite to me anyway. But when we gabbed with Frontier frontman David Braben, he did suggest Arena might also be popular as one of those quick-play-go games for a burst of multiplayer.

“If you’re thinking of having a session of Call of Duty or FIFA or an RTS or whatever, this is another alternative that you can put in the mix,” Braben told us.

Probably not, yeah?


  1. CartonofMilk says:

    I’ve been playing the game for two years. Arena has been out for like what? a year a and half? Never once in the menu have i launched it. I mean i could just check it out even once. But I never even had that impulse.

    Still at the time i thought it might be a good idea as it might bring more people to the game. Apparently not.

    Cue a dozen people on the ED forums declaring the game as dying. (they do this about every month)

    • Seboss says:

      It certainly is dead to me anyway. I had some good time with it, but its sandbox nature is just not for me anymore, and online multiplayer and I mix like oil and water. Most of new content/features coming in the next few months are strongly focused on multiplayer (avatars and multicrew) and I’m just not interested.

      I could get back in the game once atmospheric flight and an actual military career mode are implemented. But if the game is really failing like some pretend it to be, it might never come to that.

    • kalzekdor says:

      I tried to play CQC. I’m interested in competitive spaceship fights (without the consequences of ship destruction). For the most part, though, I can never find a match. I played in one game (free-for-all, not the team deathmatch I would have preferred), and I had to wait 15 minutes to get a match. Of course, there was no experience/skill matching, so the entire game was dominated by one high level player. I’ve not been able to get a team deathmatch game despite probably an hour of waiting in queue, all told. So, I’d like to play it, but there’s just not enough players to make it worthwhile. Maybe if they added bots for when there’s no one around?

  2. ironman Tetsuo says:

    awful match-making (It could take up to ten minutes to find a game even when it was popular/first released, it only got worse thereafter)

    no bots (This could have made it a great practice ground for people who like the pew-pew but not the main game’s punishing re-buy screen)

    no integration with the main game (If only you could have entered a match whilst docked at a space-station in the main game, maybe that could have helped keep the population numbers up, I could have had a quick match whilst waiting for Rares to restock)

    You could have the best multiplayer game ever but if you fail at any of the above your game is doomed from the start.

    I love Elite, but boy do Frontier make it difficult, it’s a very abusive relationship. Their usual practice of a great idea, half developed and then abandoned for whatever flame war has erupted on their toxic forum makes anything they do hard to defend but I always find myself lured back to the black.

    TLDR – Frontier, Great Ideas, Great technical talent, no idea how to make a game with any of it

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Funny you should say that about Frontier; I echo your feelings but with Planet Coaster. It’s a technical marvel, oozing charm, character and truly remarkable sound design, but the final package is just this weird empty ‘meh’ of a thing. I felt much the same with Elite, but i have sunk 250 hrs into Planet Coaster so it annoys me more that there is no seeming objective, or failure state, or I dunno, life or something.

      Here’s to Frontier getting their shit together a bit in this department. I love them and will continue to support their stuff if I like it, but they are just falling short of real greatness.

  3. zeep says:

    All Arena needs (needed ?) is a few dedicated servers that run the different modes, bots to fight against when there’s no humans around, possibly a COOP game wiping out AI attacks, and a serverbrowser for the client. I hate the feeling you get from hanging somewhere in listen server limbo. Let me choose where to connect to and meet other players there.

  4. Herring says:

    Never understood why this wasn’t free. Matchmaking times solved + a gateway to the real thing.

    Elite’s flight-model is fantastic and Arena was a lot of fun. But the last time I tried it I spent more time queuing than playing.

  5. jitweasel says:

    Is there no end to this company’s greed? I mean hey at least this wasn’t a lot of money…But first they charge $75 for early adopters in beta only to fail to deliver promised features that they then charge more money for. Now the game is $60 total for both parts… Completely screwing their early supporters. Now they drop this too? I mean come on. How are these clowns in business still?