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?