After recent events I could no longer refrain from trying the alpha to see for myself. Make no mistake. Elite: Dangerous is the real deal. This is the first worthwhile space combat sim in decades. It's still only an alpha and there are a bunch of rough edges. But, looking at what they've accomplished so far and the design decisions they've made, I can tell they have the capability to execute. This capability is something that must extend from top to bottom in order to produce a result like this. It's there and it's real.
They may need some help on the netcode/back-end. That's probably the biggest potential trouble spot I see.
It's going to be very interesting to see how things play out between this and Star Citizen. I certainly didn't expect this a year ago. Now, perhaps in another year the tables will have been turned again. Wow! To have such exciting times, after decades of just nothing.. it's amazing.