It looks like all the foot-dragging Hello Games has been doing about the release date for No Man's Sky is about to bite them square in the butt. Frontier Developments has announces that Elite Dangerous will be getting the Horizons expansion, a rolling series of updates starting this holiday.
The first update will add planetary landings to the Elite Dangerous universe. According to the press release this will open "countless 1:1 scale worlds" up for landing and exploration. This will also add an all-terrain rover for traversing alien landscapes.
Personally I think this is bad news for Hello Games and No Man's Sky. While they were free to drag their feet previously, as their infinite procedurally generated universe was more or less unique in that it allowed you to land on and explore planets, now they have some honest-to-God competition, and competition with a full year's head start at that. Even worse, Elite Dangerous seems like a much more involved game than No Man's Sky.
I played Elite Dangerous with an Oculus Rift and I can tell you it's already much prettier, deeper and more complex than No Man's Sky looks. In No Man's Sky you appear to wander around the universe cataloging goofy animals and mining resources. Elite Dangerous's Horizons expansion promises the ability to "map uncharted worlds, dogfight in canyons, discover items and events you’ll only find on world surfaces." To be blunt, it seems like much more of a "game" than No Man's Sky. This is not good for No Man's Sky, as the persistent question among fans seems to be "what the hell do you actually do in No Man's Sky?"
Hello Games cannot afford to be coy anymore. One look at the No Man's Sky subreddit will tell you that their fanbase is getting tired of being strung along. If Hello Games doesn't drop a release date and some major publicity soon, they might see Elite Dangerous snatch up all the fans and goodwill Hello Games has built up over three years of vague promises and rehashed trailers.