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Tom Allensworth

The Demise of ACES Studios

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Folks, we have been working all morning to get details on the demise of ACES Studios beyond the rumors flying on the various game sites. That news is starting to roll in. Most of it is non-attributable because of NDA's and slight chances for some members to have continued employment with MS in other studios / home rooms. The picture that is emerging is not pretty. Of the over forty ACES members assigned to MSFS, all but six appear to be immediately impacted. Those six will be left to button up the product, burn master DVDS and then be forced to look for employment within the greater MS. TrainSim is dead. There will be no further releases of this product, according to our sources.We are working on this and developing the story. In the meantime, you may want to read my blog.

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Folks, we have been working all morning to get details on the demise of ACES Studios beyond the rumors flying on the various game sites. That news is starting to roll in. Most of it is non-attributable because of NDA's and slight chances for some members to have continued employment with MS in other studios / home rooms. The picture that is emerging is not pretty. Of the over forty ACES members assigned to MSFS, all but six appear to be immediately impacted. Those six will be left to button up the product, burn master DVDS and then be forced to look for employment within the greater MS. TrainSim is dead. There will be no further releases of this product, according to our sources.We are working on this and developing the story. In the meantime, you may want to read my blog.
http://www.futuregpu.org/2009/01/end-of-er...flight-sim.html

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No matter what happens we still have FSX (thank you Phil and team) which will have a very long shelf life with processor hardware just now starting to catch up to it in terms of high end use. and many are still on FS9Personally I find it hard to believe MS would completely dump a franchise like MSFS since it has been a cornerstone product since nearly the beginning of Microsoft and sports such a large following.

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Folks, we have been working all morning to get details on the demise of ACES Studios beyond the rumors flying on the various game sites. That news is starting to roll in. Most of it is non-attributable because of NDA's and slight chances for some members to have continued employment with MS in other studios / home rooms. The picture that is emerging is not pretty. Of the over forty ACES members assigned to MSFS, all but six appear to be immediately impacted. Those six will be left to button up the product, burn master DVDS and then be forced to look for employment within the greater MS. TrainSim is dead. There will be no further releases of this product, according to our sources.We are working on this and developing the story. In the meantime, you may want to read my blog.
Tom, congratulations on becoming a member AOPA. It was a good move. I have been a member for 55 years and have enjoyed every minute of it. I have a low number compared to the ones today. It is 134195.Jesse CallahanBrookeland, Texas

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Folks, we have been working all morning to get details on the demise of ACES Studios beyond the rumors flying on the various game sites. That news is starting to roll in. Most of it is non-attributable because of NDA's and slight chances for some members to have continued employment with MS in other studios / home rooms. The picture that is emerging is not pretty. Of the over forty ACES members assigned to MSFS, all but six appear to be immediately impacted. Those six will be left to button up the product, burn master DVDS and then be forced to look for employment within the greater MS. TrainSim is dead. There will be no further releases of this product, according to our sources.We are working on this and developing the story. In the meantime, you may want to read my blog.
If FS is truly a profitable enterprise as we have been led to believe, then some organization (either MS or through sale) will move the title forward. I am bullish on America and the free enterprise system (when it is allowed to be free) and understand that businesses need to make difficult and often unpopular decisions in order to position themselves for future success. My heartfelt sympathies to the folks at ACES and elsewhere that are affected by today's business climate. Here's to better times ahead.

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This really sucks, I hope they restart MSFS development when the economy stabalizes...It's a damn shame to see ACES go, I may not agree with everything they did with FSX, but I have to admit that even losing one Flight Sim franchise, let alone the biggest one out there, is a MAJOR blow to the flight simulation community...

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TomApart from being disappointed at the loss of FS, if I interpret things correctly I am very disappointed with Microsoft in the way they have handled this layoff. I think sending a terminating e-mail to an employee is unconscionable. The pschological impact of termination can be devastating.In the 80's for a couple of years I sat at the management table of a very large utility that had to go through a major downsizing - several thousand staff. A key part of this process was the human aspect - treating the employees with respect, fairness and providing assistance. Great emphasis was paid to the psychological impact on the terminees. We set up a counselling and employment seeking unit where the unfortunate employee was directed to go the following for assistance.I hope the layoff process is not as cold and hard as it is sounding.NigelVancouver

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No matter what happens we still have FSX (thank you Phil and team) which will have a very long shelf life with processor hardware just now starting to catch up to it in terms of high end use. Personally I find it hard to believe MS would completely dump a franchise like MSFS since it has been a cornerstone product since nearly the beginning of Microsoft and sports such a large following.
Yeah, FSX has a while to live yet given our add-on developers.I have been through two retrenchments. There is zero consideration as to whether the cost cutting is sensible, it is purely to bring down the expense. In both my occasions the only people left on the team was the newest junior with everyone that had any actually knowlege (and paid more) let go. The fact that the section actually made money and could not survive without someone that knew what they were doing really didn't seem to mater. Shareholders can be their own worst enemy.Personally, X-Plane could certainly use the talents of the FS devs. Seeing it has a low third-party development base I would think there would be a fair oportunity there. Still, I can't imaging dumping FSX as my primary sim for a fair while yet.

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Yeah, FSX has a while to live yet given our add-on developers.I have been through two retrenchments. There is zero consideration as to whether the cost cutting is sensible, it is purely to bring down the expense. In both my occasions the only people left on the team was the newest junior with everyone that had any actually knowlege (and paid more) let go. The fact that the section actually made money and could not survive without someone that knew what they were doing really didn't seem to mater. Shareholders can be their own worst enemy.Personally, X-Plane could certainly use the talents of the FS devs. Seeing it has a low third-party development base I would think there would be a fair oportunity there. Still, I can't imaging dumping FSX as my primary sim for a fair while yet.
X-Plane has the capability, it's just that there isn't enough of a user base there for groups such as flight1 and pmdg to consider developing on it. I wish that they would reconsider ACES closure, but if nothing else, they should release it as open source.

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TomApart from being disappointed at the loss of FS, if I interpret things correctly I am very disappointed with Microsoft in the way they have handled this layoff. I think sending a terminating e-mail to an employee is unconscionable. The pschological impact of termination can be devastating.In the 80's for a couple of years I sat at the management table of a very large utility that had to go through a major downsizing - several thousand staff. A key part of this process was the human aspect - treating the employees with respect, fairness and providing assistance. Great emphasis was paid to the psychological impact on the terminees. We set up a counselling and employment seeking unit where the unfortunate employee was directed to go the following for assistance.I hope the layoff process is not as cold and hard as it is sounding.NigelVancouver
Nigel-My thoughts completely.Email-come on-get some compassion/(other terms not allowed here).I had the good fortune to meet the team many years ago-enthusiastic rw pilot/fs addicts that gave more than what they were required..In other words-they gave more than their job description required-dream team employees.An email to dismiss -shameful. Still sick to my stomach.

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Apart from being disappointed at the loss of FS, if I interpret things correctly I am very disappointed with Microsoft in the way they have handled this layoff. I think sending a terminating e-mail to an employee is unconscionable.Nigel
Please be crystal clear on this point: no one was officially notified via email of this layoff. As has been reported, it was announced at a studio meeting at about 11:15am on Thursday. There are a few members of the Studio who work remotely and they were notified via personal phone calls from the former head of the studio immediately after the meeting. It may be true that one or more of these remote people was sent an email by someone else in the studio before the boss was able to call them, but that's not what was intended.

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I don't believe for a second about management sending emails to employees with notification of layoffs. One thing HR departments in corporate world know how to handle layoffs and I myself was laid off in software industry a few times. Lets not spread unfounded and damaging rumors or outright lies about Microsoft without knowing hard facts.

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To be honest, I sympathise more with the guys who were looking forward to TrainSim 2. The last version of that product was released a long time ago, whereas FSX is relatively new.

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