Frontier Developments are considering ending support for 32-bit and DX10 Windows systems in their popular space sim Elite: Dangerous. In a forum post published earlier today, CEO and nerd-God David Braben announced:
As you know 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. As you know, 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.
Frontier reckon that around 0.5% of Commanders have played Elite: Dangerous on Win32 at some point and that some of these machines should be capable of running Win64. It’s a bit tricker though for users running DirectX 10 (fewer than 2%), as this would generally mean getting a new graphics card to continue playing the game.
However, Braben believes that dropping support for Win32 and DX10 would benefit the larger player base, primarily through improved performance and “prettier” effects, as well as freeing up developer time. Given the relatively small number of people who would be affected, it’s difficult to argue with their logic.
Presently, Frontier are hoping to gauge the community’s reaction to the proposal and state that it would be at least six months before the changes came into effect, which should give people plenty of time to prepare. You can read the original post and subsequent thread here.