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Payware makers speakout Re: MS Closes Aces

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Well FSx still shows plenty of promise, this may give XPLANE the legup it needed, developers may shift to it to keep some income, i doubt anyone would want the sim to become an online game, i am sure they would want more realism not less, but micro$ could be shooting themselves in the foot if they dont make an anouncement soon for the above reasons.

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Hello everyone.The Developers would be wise to play it safe. FSX seems to be slow off the gate and it may get slower with MS's announcement. The thing to do, in my opinion, is to develop for FS9 with upward compatibility for FSX, assuming they stick with MS. TC.

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To me, I would think it should be business as usual until FSXbecomes obsolete vs whatever else is available. And to me, it would seem that if anything, the add on marketshould still thrive for a good while. For one thing, there is not the dreaded specter of a whole newversion coming out, and making all the work done on a particularsim platform obsolete overnight.I've had this happen myself with a payware project I worked witha few years ago. We did a package of aircraft, and right about the time it was released, a new version came out, and basically kill sales in theirtracks. So that's one thing not to worry about for a while.I agree. I hate it that there will not be a FS11. I always wantto use the latest and greatest sim. But, in the overall scheme of things, it should be a good time todevelop 3rd party add on's right now. Heck, I remember when I started with FS4. It seemed like quitea long time before FS5 came out. That gave loads of time todevelop tools, scenery, and the capability to add more aircraft.I see the same with FSX. It can be a usable platform for a goodwhile before it's just too obsolete to put up with.In my view, *none* of the other sim brands are even closeas far as the total experience. If they were, I'd be running them.But I've seen them all, and while a decent effort, they ain'tno MSFS, and they have a boatload of code to write beforethey can pretend to be worthy successors to MSFS.But if I were to eventually break down and move to a newsim, I think I would prefer to hop on the Freeware Flightgearsim. It's a sim designed by simmers, for simmers, and I doubt they are going to be firing themselves anytime soon.But it has quite a ways to go before I would consider dumpingFSX for Flightgear. I see running FSX for a good while longer, so if I decided todevelop 3rd party stuff for it, I would feel pretty comfortable doing so. Who cares what MS is going to do. I'm not going tohold my breath waiting for them to decide they are not going back into the PC sim business.Myself, I think they are making a really stupid move myself.Did MSFS ever lose money? Not that I'm aware of. To my way of thinking, canning a profitable program like MSFSis way dumb. They are going to blow their foothold, and if theywait too long, it's not going to grow back.It will be biz as usual for me. I'll upgrade and tweak FSXmyself, and to heck with em. The only part that I don't like is I can't fix that stupid looking rain and snow.. :( The rest I can deal with..

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To me, I would think it should be business as usual until FSXbecomes obsolete vs whatever else is available. And to me, it would seem that if anything, the add on marketshould still thrive for a good while. For one thing, there is not the dreaded specter of a whole newversion coming out, and making all the work done on a particularsim platform obsolete overnight.I've had this happen myself with a payware project I worked witha few years ago. We did a package of aircraft, and right about the time it was released, a new version came out, and basically kill sales in theirtracks. So that's one thing not to worry about for a while.I agree. I hate it that there will not be a FS11. I always wantto use the latest and greatest sim. But, in the overall scheme of things, it should be a good time todevelop 3rd party add on's right now. Heck, I remember when I started with FS4. It seemed like quitea long time before FS5 came out. That gave loads of time todevelop tools, scenery, and the capability to add more aircraft.I see the same with FSX. It can be a usable platform for a goodwhile before it's just too obsolete to put up with.In my view, *none* of the other sim brands are even closeas far as the total experience. If they were, I'd be running them.But I've seen them all, and while a decent effort, they ain'tno MSFS, and they have a boatload of code to write beforethey can pretend to be worthy successors to MSFS.But if I were to eventually break down and move to a newsim, I think I would prefer to hop on the Freeware Flightgearsim. It's a sim designed by simmers, for simmers, and I doubt they are going to be firing themselves anytime soon.But it has quite a ways to go before I would consider dumpingFSX for Flightgear. I see running FSX for a good while longer, so if I decided todevelop 3rd party stuff for it, I would feel pretty comfortable doing so. Who cares what MS is going to do. I'm not going tohold my breath waiting for them to decide they are not going back into the PC sim business.Myself, I think they are making a really stupid move myself.Did MSFS ever lose money? Not that I'm aware of. To my way of thinking, canning a profitable program like MSFSis way dumb. They are going to blow their foothold, and if theywait too long, it's not going to grow back.It will be biz as usual for me. I'll upgrade and tweak FSXmyself, and to heck with em. The only part that I don't like is I can't fix that stupid looking rain and snow.. :( The rest I can deal with..
I agree with NM5K on the plan to tweak and upgrade FSX until I have something better. I also started with FS4. Mine was on Mac. I will have to re-program a small area of my brain to keep from anticipating the next release of MSFS every 2 years or so. But should I really be concerned if the next best Flight Sim to come along is not produced by MS? Well yes and no. I would hope that as I accumulate 3rd party addons to FSX that I would be able to completely port those products to the next version with minimal losses of products and money spent. This is a sour grape to bite down on right now with some payware GA planes that I cannot bring in from FS9 to FSX without losing gauges and functionality of the cockpit. This is a gambling table that I sit at every time a new version comes along. The not concerned part of me says I don't care if the most realistic or appealing flight sim is made by MS or Laminar Research or by whomever as long as it performs well simulated aerodynamics, instruments and systems functionality, and provides thorough ATC environment for the user. I have X-Plane 9.22 as well and I enjoy it in different ways than MSFS. I do wish the best for the former Aces developers and hope that we will benefit from their talents and efforts again. Good luck to all!Keith

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I read some of the "supposed" features we were to have seen in FS11 and it gave me pause... While I am still unhappy to see all of that talent cut off (most likely for good) and the lives of those people disrupted, it may be just as well that the dynasty ends with FSX. I don't take comfort in this: "We were starting to focus more on the game aspect of it than just the simulation." The dumbing down of EVERYTHING. The whole SimCity series devolved into the "create your own soap opera" that is the Sims. It's all titalation and tinsel apparently... Ugggghhhhh.... :(

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I read some of the "supposed" features we were to have seen in FS11 and it gave me pause... While I am still unhappy to see all of that talent cut off (most likely for good) and the lives of those people disrupted, it may be just as well that the dynasty ends with FSX. I don't take comfort in this: "We were starting to focus more on the game aspect of it than just the simulation." The dumbing down of EVERYTHING. The whole SimCity series devolved into the "create your own soap opera" that is the Sims. It's all titalation and tinsel apparently... Ugggghhhhh.... :(
Yup, FS is going to move towards the XBOX and online gaming. Then again, no more "new editions" to tweak. I still remember the hours I spent trying to get FS 2000 to run at acceptable frame rates.

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Based on the closure of ACES and the world economy in general, I would hope to anticipate price reductions, especially for the $50+ MSFS add-ons.In general, most MSFS add-on developers don't understand what a "volume" based model looks like. Just take a look at all the commercials on TV for the $19.95 and below price points. This includes manufacturing a product. With MSFS add-ons, many are downloadable, thus you just need internet bandwidth as your only overhead and some kind of a key system for activation. They haven't figured out if you sell 100,000 items at 19.95 what kind of money that would make. Instead MSFS add-on developers want to sell 10,000 copies at $40. $1.9M Vs 400K. More copies sold at 19.95 means more expertise in general via the forums. Special volume pricing, with urgency of a sale period. I am no marketing major, but this is pretty much Marketing 101. 100,000 may be too much. But if you have a good product, maybe 100K in units sold may be obtainable. (Although I wonder if ANY add-on for any version of FS, has sold a 100,000 units at 19.95 or above????) I am willing to bet that no add-ons developers will come forward with that information.I know with MSFS add-ons you have to factor in support, but you can get really good support via forums ie the beta testers of the add-on.Online version, I am for it IF IF IF you can get solid performance (its all about FPS) and not have to invest in upgrading hardware, and wasting hour upon hour of time tinkering. "Fly and not tinker". and you can use add-ons.Just a few thoughts.

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Volume sales don't really exist like that in the add-on world. In fact, the market is pretty small. While I certainly won't profess to be an expert regarding sales, in the course of many conversations with fellow developers my understanding is that if you can sell 5,000 units of a model it is a blockbuster! Most numbers tend to be well below that.

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Yup, FS is going to move towards the XBOX and online gaming. Then again, no more "new editions" to tweak. I still remember the hours I spent trying to get FS 2000 to run at acceptable frame rates.
Everyone read the posts near the bottom, and you're feelings toward flight sim will definitely change. I promise!Link to Thread:http://forums1.avsim.net/index.php?s=&...t&p=1537935

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Volume sales don't really exist like that in the add-on world. In fact, the market is pretty small. While I certainly won't profess to be an expert regarding sales, in the course of many conversations with fellow developers my understanding is that if you can sell 5,000 units of a model it is a blockbuster! Most numbers tend to be well below that.
So you are saying, on average there are only 5000 people world wide that are interested in obtaining a more realistic simulation aspect of MSFS? Most of the MSFS add-ons deal with realism and imersification (word from Former US Pres George W. Bush here), which a lot of the general discussion on the this forum is about. Wow if that is correct, that is amazing! But a product like ActiveSkyX or Advanced, based on what it does, a truely well written sofisticated application only sells 5000 units? I would find that hard to believe. But there is no official reporting mechanism for these numbers by MSFS add-on developers. Even a total global MSFS add-on revenue number? For a small team of developers (2) that would be 100K per developer, based on 5000 units sold. That doesn't include website for sales and distribution. I also think that the fact that the lack of overhead of manufacturing on the download only add-ons, causes no urgency to eliminate inventory by cutting prices. If you actually spent $20K to manufacture 5000 units, you might be inclined to reduce pricing to liquidate inventory. The FS Community will never know. Interesting business model. I just wish we had actual numbers from the base sale of MSFS and add-on developers would report sales. I understand why they don't. They don't need to???Thanks!

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Volume sales don't really exist like that in the add-on world. In fact, the market is pretty small. While I certainly won't profess to be an expert regarding sales, in the course of many conversations with fellow developers my understanding is that if you can sell 5,000 units of a model it is a blockbuster! Most numbers tend to be well below that.
Yeah, but is it the price that is holding them back from selling more? I know there are a few add-ons I'd pick up in a heartbeat if they were $15-20 instead of $40-50. That's just the simple truth. The only reason why I bought the Reality XP GNS430 is because it amounts to less than half an hour rental for any of the 430 equipped airplanes I fly. So there is some practical educational value there. Scenery and aircraft add-ons are just nice to have eye candy.

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So you are saying, on average there are only 5000 people world wide that are interested in obtaining a more realistic simulation aspect of MSFS? Most of the MSFS add-ons deal with realism and imersification (word from Former US Pres George W. Bush here), which a lot of the general discussion on the this forum is about. Wow if that is correct, that is amazing! But a product like ActiveSkyX or Advanced, based on what it does, a truely well written sofisticated application only sells 5000 units? I would find that hard to believe. But there is no official reporting mechanism for these numbers by MSFS add-on developers. Even a total global MSFS add-on revenue number? For a small team of developers (2) that would be 100K per developer, based on 5000 units sold. That doesn't include website for sales and distribution. I also think that the fact that the lack of overhead of manufacturing on the download only add-ons, causes no urgency to eliminate inventory by cutting prices. If you actually spent $20K to manufacture 5000 units, you might be inclined to reduce pricing to liquidate inventory. The FS Community will never know. Interesting business model. I just wish we had actual numbers from the base sale of MSFS and add-on developers would report sales. I understand why they don't. They don't need to???Thanks!
I'm saying that for a given model...not many people buy every plane that is sold. Frankly, I do think that the add-on buyers are a relatively small percentage of the total number of people that buy the program. Nobody I know is getting rich doing this. I would never consider doing it full-time :(

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In general, most MSFS add-on developers don't understand what a "volume" based model looks like. Just take a look at all the commercials on TV for the $19.95 and below price points. This includes manufacturing a product. With MSFS add-ons, many are downloadable, thus you just need internet bandwidth as your only overhead and some kind of a key system for activation. They haven't figured out if you sell 100,000 items at 19.95 what kind of money that would make. Instead MSFS add-on developers want to sell 10,000 copies at $40. $1.9M Vs 400K. More copies sold at 19.95 means more expertise in general via the forums. Special volume pricing, with urgency of a sale period. I am no marketing major, but this is pretty much Marketing
Take a look in the file Library the most popular aircraft is the Fokker F50 with 57000+ downloads and that is freeware Take into account how many times the same person has reloaded that aircraft Do you honestly think that Level D or PMDG has sold that many units People like us who spend our hard earned on addons are in a minority , and even we make choices about what we purchace IF there is an add on developer out there that can and does make a full time living from our hobby/obsession , then they have my upmost respect (and my money probably :( )Mark

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Whilst I am aware that buying multiple addons for MSFS doesn't come cheap, I find it hard to understand how anyone can fly around using the default scenery. It simply does not look realistic enough.

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Nobody releases sales figures, but from some chance remarks in a restricted access forum, it would seem more probable to believe that a sales volume of 500 units is closer to the average. Of course, there are numerous exceptions, both airplanes and scenery, that perhaps sell 5000 or 10 000 units, and maybe even some that sell more than that. But, it is doubtful that anybody has sold anywhere close to 100 000.It is an extremely small market, and the great majority of users probably do not even use freeware, let alone commercial add-ons.Best regards.Luis

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If the FS series stops with FSX, it isn't really a bad thing. There are enough add-ons out there already to make the sim (very) interesting and certainly many, many more to come. Perhaps now we'll have a chance to play catch up with the hardware and actually see the potential of FSX, a potential no one has seen yet. I ran FS9 on several rigs but it was only when I ran it on a fast dual-core rig with a 640 MB 8800GTS video card (a PC config FS9 developers probably never dreamed of) that I was able to fly FS9 with no restrictions. Meaning using every add on, all the GE and FE and UT there are, along with payware planes and scenery and full AI, with maxed AA & AF and getting fluid FPS in all situations. That's when I truly felt like I had FS9 running as it was meant to be.We're still (at least) a year or two from pulling this off with FSX, but it just might be worth the wait. When we can takeoff from a custom JFK in a CS 757 and fly over custom Manhattan, with full AI and all the ORBX and GEX and FEX and UTX running, at high res with 20+ FPS in all situations, then we can talk about what's next. For now, I think we have lots of catching up to do with what we already have.

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In general, most MSFS add-on developers don't understand what a "volume" based model looks like. ... They haven't figured out if you sell 100,000 items at 19.95 what kind of money that would make. Instead MSFS add-on developers want to sell 10,000 copies at $40. $1.9M Vs 400K..
I suspect you don't understand "volume" pricing, otherwise you wouldn't made the foolish assumption that halving the price will result in a ten-fold increase in sales - $40->$19.95 and 10,000->100,000.If you took Marketing 101 you'd learn about price elasticity of demand which a the measure of responsiveness in the quantity demanded for a commodity as a result of change in price of the same commodity. It varies commodity by commodity and sector by sector. It's quite possible that halving the price would result in less than a doubling of demand. In that case the developer would be worse off! Of course you prove me wrong by developing your own add-on and selling 100,000 at $19.95.

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Based on the closure of ACES and the world economy in general, I would hope to anticipate price reductions, especially for the $50+ MSFS add-ons.
Don't hold your breath :(

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In general, most MSFS add-on developers don't understand what a "volume" based model looks like. Just take a look at all the commercials on TV for the $19.95 and below price points.
You are overlooking what should be blindingly obvious. The root problem faced by anyone with a "widget" to sell is consumer awareness, i.e., advertising!Addon developers are faced with the same core problem as book authors; the opacity of the marketplace. There is simply no way that any developer can reach more than a tiny fraction of those who use any version of flightsimulator, much less a specific version of a flightsimulator such as FS9 and FSX.It's a very simple concept, all things considered: No product will ever sell at any price if the potential market does not know that it exists!How does any book make the "Best Sellers list?" Those who's publishers have invested the huge number of dollars to advertise! Believe me, there are far better books available than those that make such lists, but they languish in relative obscurity because of marketplace opacity. They are simply never "discovered" by potential readers except by word-of-mouth.As a case in point, I've been a huge fan of Science Fiction ever since I first read "Space Cadet" by Robert Heinlien some fifty years ago, and had invested thousands of dollars ever since. I recently donated my entire hard cover collection of ~4,000 books to my local library, among which was a complete first-edition collection of Heinlien, Asimov and Clarke. I remain a very active member on many Sci-Fi websites, forums, newgroups and so forth...Yet even so, it was only by complete accident that I learned about several "new authors" that've totally blown me away with their prodigious and awesome novels. Eric Flint (one of my "new authors") turned out to be a close neighbor, living as he does less than six blocks from my house! Incidentally, it was from Eric that I first learned about the "opacity" of the bookmarket...http://baens-universe.com/articles/salvos7
What do I mean by an "opaque" market? The concept is simple, and is closely related to the concept of information asymmetries as used by some economists. A lot of economic theory is based upon the presumption

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--------------As I said, this marketplace opacity issue should be self-evident. For example, given that we know for a fact that FSX sold over one million copies in the United States during the fiscal year 2008, where are they? How many millions of copies of FS9 have been sold since its release? Even if we reduce those numbers by one fourth, that still leaves a staggering number of potential sim users......so, where are they? ...how does anyone reach them?
Fr Bill- From some years as a realtor and seeing the inside of many homes- I can tell you where many of those FS copies are :-In a basement junk room filled with hundreds of unused toys and games. I would be willing to bet that 50% of those million copies of FSX never saw a plane leave the ground. "Dad, the plane keeps crashing- tomorrow, can you get me a new game ?"Flight Simming requires more than a 15 minute attention span.Alex Reid

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byoung - whatever you do, never, never start your own business. Unless you quickly change your perception of pricing.I'm a 3rd party developer. My most expensive product runs at $100, my cheapest at $20. After your logic, the cheapest should generate the most money, yes? Surprise, surprise. Not only does my most expensive product make the most money by a wide margin, it also sells the most copies by a wide margin!Also, in terms of sales numbers, as others have reported, popular add-ons sell maybe 1,000 copies a year. The best sellers sell 10,000 copies and those are probably only a handful each year. Not one developer has become rich doing this, in fact almost everyone is doing this while having a full time job.Yes there are millions of people owning MSFS. However just have a look at how many people actively post in this forum. Suddenly makes the market a whole lot smaller doesn't it.Christian

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The risk of following the 'volume based' plan is you could sell the product to customers that would have paid higher for it, and the much lower price and don't make up with it for the additional sales at the lower price.You might make the bulk of your unit sales in the first 6 months the product is released. If you priced it too low, and you don't get theanticipated high volume of sales you can't get that lost income back.But if you are losing sales solely due to the high price, there's an opportunity to entice those prospective customers to pony up lateron by lowering the price.Regards.Ernie.

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Fr Bill- From some years as a realtor and seeing the inside of many homes- I can tell you where many of those FS copies are :-In a basement junk room filled with hundreds of unused toys and games. I would be willing to bet that 50% of those million copies of FSX never saw a plane leave the ground. "Dad, the plane keeps crashing- tomorrow, can you get me a new game ?"Flight Simming requires more than a 15 minute attention span.Alex Reid
Which is why I brought up the point about only considering one fourth of the total. That's still a huge number. For that matter, even one TENTH of the total sales of FS9 and FSX would be much larger than the best "guesstimates" of the potential marketsize...

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