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Tom Allensworth

State of the Hobby Survey Discussion

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For the most part I'm in the largest groups when viewing the answers, i.e I'm over 40, will probably keep my job (although i actually have more than one job), I spend a little bit on hardware and quite a lot on add-ons (it's true that, being a reviewer, I get the odd add-on freebie too, although it's not all milk and honey, I spent nearly 200 quid [290 Dollars approximately] on stuff for FS this week!).But being a reviewer somewhat takes me out of the main groups where some answers are concerned, i.e I spend over the average time on FS-related websites, I do a lot more flying in FS than the average, and because more products tend to come out for the newer version of FS, I'm in the smaller group by listing FSX as the primary sim, although I also use the less popular ones quite a lot, such as Condor and Silent Wings, because they simulate my main real-world flying activity of gliding (which is probably quite a niche market for sims).There is one other interesting aspect to being a reviewer which made me answer differently to most people with regard to how I view the future of flight sims. I tend to follow what is coming out for FS and have been in the fortunate position of having a few new and innovative products thrown at me to review. And from that perspective I am extremely optimistic with regard to the future of flight sims. Generally speaking, the quality of FS add-ons has never been better in my opinion, and whilst it is true that you don't see many of them in high street stores, I think that's as much to do with the way in which people currently shop for things, rather than being indicative of any serious decline. Essentially I believe that whilst there are less sims and sim products about, their overall quality has been distilled into something which is generally of a better quality: The wheat has been sorted from the chaff, if you will.It's encouraging to see that most people went for the 'Even if I was the last simmer on Earth' answer, although given that the people who frequent Avsim are likely to say that, and they're the only ones who will see the survey and take it, it's really not that surprising an answer.Al

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I love the survey, and I found the results interesting. But I didn't complete it as I was anxious about giving my email address to a third party market-survey firm. Can Avsim assure users--categorically--that chumpsoft.inc will not use email addresses they're gathering for chumpsoft's own marketing? (Yeah, I know that's pretty paranoid, but . . . )Tim

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Users of FS9 still OUTNUMBER those who use FSX as their primary simulator. I think its time to honestly ask ourselves why that is and how this can be resolved if FSX is to be the 'future' of this hobby. What new functionality is being brought to the table for FSX that is going to turn that tide (I'm not talking about prettier graphics but REAL functionality) or are we going to be forever stuck with a split community? I'd like to hear from 3rd party developers what new technologies are being harvested for FSX that is so far above FS9 that they foresee an inevitable switch. Apparently 1m textures, DX10 previews, cockpit reflections and missions have yet to provide persuasive arguments for change to FSX and this continued fragmentation cannot be good for the hobby OR your pocketbooks.

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I am still using FS9 almost exclusively although I have FSX installed as well. For me it comes down to a couple of addons. Until somebody comes up with an equivalent to FS Navigator for FSX I wont be leaving FS9. I am a dedicated bush pilot, and I can't live without Holger Sandman's superb Misty/Tongass Fjords scenery, not yet available for FSX.Also as a user of TrackIR there are some issues with this in FSX.Most importantly, while FSX runs adequately on my current hardware FS9 runs brilliantly, all settings maxed!

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I love the survey, and I found the results interesting. But I didn't complete it as I was anxious about giving my email address to a third party market-survey firm. Can Avsim assure users--categorically--that chumpsoft.inc will not use email addresses they're gathering for chumpsoft's own marketing? (Yeah, I know that's pretty paranoid, but . . . )Tim
Yeah, that is pretty paranoid. I am the only one that sees the email addresses and the data will be wiped as soon as we complete the poll.

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what new technologies are being harvested for FSX that is so far above FS9 that they foresee an inevitable switch
The question I see here is not "which version of flight sim do you use", it's "what's the next simulator going to look like, who's going to be designing it, and for which platform."Like it or not, FSX is going to win the current "popularity contest", for the time being, anyway...that's the sim we'll all be using and designing for, but for how long? That's just the way technology works, there's no getting around it. To even have this discussion, I feel, is fruitless. How many people do you know who still run DOS games on their machines? How many people do you know who even know how to use DOS (I'm dating myself here)? You see my point here, don't you?

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I think the survey shows that half of us don't see your point, or at least see it and disagree. FSX has not yet made me want it enough, and so like a lot of people I'll stick with FS9. I think it's a shame some developers are cutting off half their potential market.

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The age range of the (mostly) men who enjoy this hobby is interesting. The X Box and to a lesser degree the PS changed the nature of the game for PC platforms which require reading a book before "playing." Any idiot can grasp the first person shooter concept in two seconds with zero thought. However, learning even the most user friendly sim, like FSX is a steep learning curve for a lot of younger folks who just do not want to invest the time in something that rewards the most patient with little more than a nice view out the window and the smooth chirp of tires in the touch down zone of an intended destination.The highest fidelity sim add ons require nearly as much work as learning the real aircraft. The PDMG MD11 product is in every way an airline style training program which is actually better in some respects. Some readers might recall the first generation of a product called FLIGHT UNLIMITED. It had a unique user interface of a pilot friendly FBO which the pilot could look around in, select his aircraft and go fly. It was a very basic, but very well done, simulation that focused on aerobatic and VFR flying. The feature I most enjoyed was feedback from the program on your ability to fly aerobatic profiles. I still think that product, updated to a Vista, or Windows 7 world, has potential. Especially these days when people 20 years younger than me are not going to bother with the learning curve required to enjoy flight simulator.The creator of Flight Unlimited went on to be in on the genesis of the XBox program. I see no reason why a product like the first generation Flight Unlimited would not be a winner on XBox and the visual presentation, as well as the multiplayer viewing / functionality would make Flight Unlimited a cool concept for the living room.

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FSX has not yet made me want it enough, and so like a lot of people I'll stick with FS9.
Personally, that's exactly what I'm doing, but as an IT professional I was merely pointing out the obvious.

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To be objective , 2 years ago there was no comparison to the numbers of FS9 devoted users and those using FSX. The numbers now clearly show the tendency for FSX users outnumbering (soon i believe) FS9 devoted users. Add-on compatibility issuess set aside , it wont be long till almost all have a system that can run FSX to an acceptable degree of satisfaction and certainly anyone getting a better system wont resist the temptation of finding out how FSX performs , only to realise that it ti actully a simulator with more potential. And lets not forget that when FSX first came out it had certain issues that have now been resolved with SP2 . The impression it made then with a good system was certainly not as good as the one that will make now . I use both FS9 and FSX , and as much as i loved FS9 , FSX is a better simulator.

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I think it is the first time in the history of MSFS, that more than 2 years after the newest version was released, the majority of users still stick to its predecessor (like myself)! In the past it took a few months after a new release and the majority of simmers was using the newest version. I think this says all about FSX! And I think also developers will notice this. Lets take Carenado. Didn't they state they would entirely focus on FSX? And now they have already released 2 planes for FS9 in recent past.Wolfgang

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I think it is the first time in the history of MSFS, that more than 2 years after the newest version was released, the majority of users still stick to its predecessor (like myself)! In the past it took a few months after a new release and the majority of simmers was using the newest version. I think this says all about FSX! And I think also developers will notice this. Lets take Carenado. Didn't they state they would entirely focus on FSX? And now they have already released 2 planes for FS9 in recent past.Wolfgang
Great Survey - enjoyed seeing the spectrum of responses and not surprised by the high numbers using FS9.I am the kind of guy who usually gets the new program on the day it is released. For FS however I have always been disappointed in performance even when I have a fast machine chosen for FS. I have FSX but I fly FS9 - it is fantastic on my machine with all sliders to the right, max traffic etc. I will likely stay with FS9 until there is a machine that can run FSX in a similar way - and as yet I don't think we are quite thereFrom the Screen shots forum it is clear that for many the visual quality of FS9 is very high and in some instances equal to FSX especially as run on many simmers machinesThe problems with OOM errors etc are still a problem for many who have not found the 3/4G switch to work or have not switched to 64 bit OS but these problems have been occurring with both FSIn any event I'm with FS9 and ainstalld but unused FSX!RichardCYHM

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How do you interpret the results? What does it tell you about the future of our hobby?
The most interesting bits of data for me were:- Fewer than 50% of respondents are optimistic about the future of the hobby. Understandable under the circumstances, but sobering nonetheless- The average age is much higher than the typical "gamer" or even the typical Internet user, so is the average income- People are very positive about the *current* state of the hobbySo you have a bunch of people who enjoy their hobby and are loyal and passionate users with lots of money, but are (rightfully) fearful that the hobby is in a state of decline. Seems like a great opportunity for someone to step in and capture some market share - a modern day Fly! or Flight Unlimited. In a perfect world, the third party devs would band together, raise some seed capital, hire a few of the talented devs from Aces, and build their own sim. This survey could be section 2A of the business case: The Market Opportunity. John

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The question I see here is not "which version of flight sim do you use", it's "what's the next simulator going to look like, who's going to be designing it, and for which platform."Like it or not, FSX is going to win the current "popularity contest", for the time being, anyway...that's the sim we'll all be using and designing for, but for how long? That's just the way technology works, there's no getting around it. To even have this discussion, I feel, is fruitless. How many people do you know who still run DOS games on their machines? How many people do you know who even know how to use DOS (I'm dating myself here)? You see my point here, don't you?
I think your right from what I'm seeing but I don't follow the popular crowd. There are still too many issues with FSX that I cant use it for my primary sim; weather simulation just is absolutely awful with winds blowing you all over the place.Like I read in another post I have so many addons I have not yet fully enjoyed and with commercial companies moving to FSX it gives my much more time to enjoy addons I never enjoyed with FS9.By the way I still run DOS games on my pc. RR tycoon the original you just can't beat for enjoyment. Dos games rarely needed patching and were always complete and well produced.SeanAll this debate between the two versions of FS seems to really be drawing a divide in the community; sort of reminds me of the state of USA with the deep, emotional divide in politics. Funny how the virtual starts to emulate the real world.

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