Elite Dangerous on Mac will shut down later this year

Frontier Developments massive online multiplayer space adventure game Elite Dangerous has had quite a bit of success on almost every platform it has launched on, from Windows to PlayStation; however, its struggled on macOS.

Today, Edward Lewis from Frontier Developments took to the forums to announce that support for Elite Dangerous on Mac would be ending.

"It is with great sadness that we must announce the upcoming end of Elite Dangerous on Mac. Firstly, we want to reassure you that this decision did not come lightly and is something that we have been investigating for some time. As many of you will know, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to bring Elite Dangerous Horizons to Mac since launch due to technical barriers. With the planned improvements coming in our Chapter Four update of the Beyond season we have felt it necessary to make this difficult decision to allow us to bring in content and features in the way that we felt was best for the overall Elite Dangerous experience. It is for this reason that we wanted to give you as much notice as possible."

As for when exactly Elite Dangerous won't be compatible with Mac, Edward Lewis went on to say this:

"With the release of the Q4 update, coming towards the end of the year, you will no longer be able to play Elite Dangerous on Mac. As soon as we have a date for the update to share, we will do so here.At the point of the Q4 update, you will no longer be able to access Elite Dangerous products through the Mac OS. However, you will still be able to log into your account on PC (or via Bootcamp.) We hope you will understand why we have taken this course of action and would encourage those of you who have questions or concerns, to please contact our Support Team HERE who are on hand and ready to help!"

It's sad to see such a beloved game (both by the community and the developers) fail to succeed on macOS due to system requirements that can't be accommodated.

How do you feel?

Have you been playing Elite Dangerous on Mac? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

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  • Could anybody explain what exactly these technical limitations are? Is this a macOS or an ED limitation?
  • It's an ED limitation, plenty of developers keep their games up to date with no issues whatsoever. Guess I'll be getting a refund
  • There could be additional limitations that have come up for new features, but the original reason the Horizons expansion with planetary landing was never released for Mac OS is that the planet generation uses something called compute shaders. You can't do them with the old version of OpenGL that is present on Mac OS and there is no support for them in Apple's Metal either. They probably could find a different solution, but I can understand why they won't rebuild a major part of their game engine just to support Mac OS, especially since if Apple decide they care the least about games they'll support newer version of OpenGL or at least bring feature parity to Metal at some point.
  • Metal has plenty of support for compute shaders - clearly Frontier just doesn't want to bother with having a separate code base for Mac. Disappointing but then again this game is also quite a let down for anybody who ever played the original Elite for the BBC Micro
  • Indeed, it's just lazy on their part. Plus everyone who has bought this game with only a Mac available is now screwed, not everyone has a copy of Windows to use with Bootcamp.