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Tom Allensworth

Joshua Howard Interview with AVSIM

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AVSIM Publisher Tom Allensworth and the staff of AVSIM Online interview Joshua Howard, Team Lead for MS' FLIGHT, their next generation flight simulator. Tom Allensworth begins the interview with; "Joshua, we met in December when you and your team were gracious enough to invite a number of organizations in the Flight Simulation Community to Seattle to discuss the next product in the MS Flight Simulation genre; FLIGHT. Since then FLIGHT has been launched and the anticipation that had built up over many months has been addressed.". You can read the full interview with Joshua here.

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Alright! Now we get the scoop!
Admittedly, we waited for awhile, letting other organizations get a jump on us, but we wanted to wait and give the product a while to settle in with the market, and to give us some time to put our ear to the ground for nuances that others might not have heard, or were not paying attention to. I hope we were successful.

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Thanks very much for this interview - I feel you asked what could have been some "touchy" questions in a very positive, honest, and forthright manner. As Mr. Howard alluded to, Flight may not be going in the direction several of the "old guard' would like it to go...but I feel they're doing what they (as the company Microsoft) feel would be most financially viable for them. This, I feel, is good - they want to grow the community for economic reasons, and it benefits us for the community to grow for future development and continuation of flight sims.While Mr. Howard still leaves a lot up in the air (pun intended), I'm thankful for the interview - well done!

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I deeply appreciate the effort made to ask pertinent and salient questions, Tom. I cannot say that any of the answers surprised me in the least. The answers regarding the question of possible 3rd party involvement were encouraging.

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I think you were successful. You asked the right questions, he answered the best he could without giving out confidential information.We knew some answers from previous interviews and I appreciate his effort to broaden the scope.Thank you, this interview is quite informative.

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I still see a bright light in our 'tunnel'. :Big Grin: Flight simulation is in for an interesting journey.

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A very successful interview i think. Basically all of the questions that I would have liked asked, were. Good job Tom.

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Interesting indeed, I have to wonder how much customer research they actually put into Flight. On reading the interview I would have to say not much judging by the amount of times the word "understand" was used. They really don't know their customer do they. I am not encouraged and I think they fib when they say how surprised they are at the initial take up, unless they thought the initial take up would be nil.Oh and before I am berated for being a negative Nelly, I am having a good time yet with FS2004, and an absolute ball with FSX since I got My I7 1200K CPU.

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Thanks alot Tom. I can only see a good thing out of all this with Time and patience and the must important thing, Positive mature feedback will work wonders in our favor ...

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Interesting indeed, I have to wonder how much customer research they actually put into Flight. On reading the interview I would have to say not much judging by the amount of times the word "understand" was used. They really don't know their customer do they. I am not encouraged and I think they fib when they say how surprised they are at the initial take up, unless they thought the initial take up would be nil.Oh and before I am berated for being a negative Nelly, I am having a good time yet with FS2004, and an absolute ball with FSX since I got My I7 1200K CPU.
I also questioned how successful the new direction they took would be. But when Mr. Howard said "....our data reinforces that Flight already has a much wider audience profile than past products in the franchise......." I had to think again.

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Thank you Tom for a great interview. You have successfully touched on all of the pressing questions from the community. I think FLIGHT has many engaging and immersive features and I am enjoying it for what it currently offers. That said, I was also holding out hope that FLIGHT would slowly morph into an advanced platform with most of the bells and whistles found in our beloved FSX. I am sad to hear the development team has confirmed that will not be the direction this title will be going.

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When Howard said the DLC numbers were higher than their expectations and everyone here pretty much knows Alaska is going to do well also it makes you wonder why they don't release more. Even a every Tues a new DLC like XBox has for a new XBL Arcade game.Some things he mentioned might turn some people off.No entire world3PD not anytime in the near futureATC (Guess Fang and Tingley will continue to be our ATC)Transpacific Flights (shouldn't be hard for the option to flight or skip to waypoint)TrackIR sound promising for those of you guys that want it though.Also I am not sure where companies get their stats from when people want more challenges over content or new functions. Every company says that crap when forums are screaming the opposite so it makes me wonder if its employees writing in to their own ideas to support them or if they are right out to lunch to the rest of the world.

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Yes, excellent interview Tom, you asked the questions many would shy from. Quite pleased with their strategy, it works well. I've done a few articles on how good cheap anaglyph 3D comes up on flight too, he needs to promote that feature more ( for Nvidia only, sorry).Can I be no. 5,375 request for trackir though?

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Well to me it seems MS are doing exactly what they planned and the business model is sound and should do quite well as long as the DLC prices are maintained at a reasonable level. I agree with the senitiments that they cannot and should not kowtow to the whims and desires of hardcore simmers, these people have many titles to choose from and should take on board things said in this interview about Flight being a different approach to appeal to a larger audience.I am very much looking foward to the next expansion and hope that Flight continues to offer me a very real and 'fun' simulation experience :)

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As I read the interview I found myself rocking back and forth like in a rowboat on the north Atlantic. First disappointed, then hopeful, then back again. In the end I saw what I expected to see, and took away exactly the same impression I brought in, cautiously hopeful and moderately optimisticHere is the one single part that captures all I hope for Flight, as far as I myself want to see:JH:"... I believe that Flight can appeal to millions and millions of people, far more than the simulation sub-genre ever garnered, and our journey will be continuing to explore ways to bring the magic of flight to a massive audience. But simulation is a critical aspect of what we are trying to do – no arcade game can capture the majesty of flying the way a sophisticated simulation can. On our journey I expect the depth and breadth of our simulation to grow, as well for the product to get deeper in many other ways as well. Unlike a retail product, with our living product, our fans can join us on this journey, and we can make progress on the journey measured in weeks, not years."Kind regards,

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Who really cares about getting planes and new areas if you cant fly in the weather these areas are famous/known for. MS Flight without real weather will always come 3rd to me behind FSX and FS9. Until real weather is added and the weather acts like real weather in MS Flight its still far below my bar. In aviation, *nothing* is more important than weather.

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I just don't understand why they can't please both the gamers and the simmers. If I were microsoft I would focus on 2 versions of the product. One aimed for simplistic flying (FLIGHT) and the other aimed for realistic flying with 3PD freedom (like FSX).... As for FLIGHTs future, yes it might look bright now; however I am certain that its brightness wont last 30 years, like the MSFS franchise has done...

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3 things I take with me:

we are getting great feedback about both our basic aircraft concept as well as the deluxe

makes me believe that too many bought the mustang, just hope that amongst those 1 plane per month are not too many now w/o cockpit.

Long-haul flight is not one of the scenarios that we believe is interesting for the bulk of our audience

makes me afraid there will be no biz jet or even 737, sad.

On our journey I expect the depth and breadth of our simulation to grow

makes me hope to see AI traffic and ATC, as well as a working autopilot

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I find my self rocking back and forth like in a rowboat on the Grand Banks. First disappointed, then hopeful, then back again. In the end I saw what I expected to see, and took away exactly what I brought in. Here is the one single part that captures all I hope for Flight, as far as I myself want to see:
Just hang in there Stephen! I am confident that most of us will be happy in a while from now once we get some more DLC for Flight.

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All in all, a good interview...I have to wonder what the reaction will be to the following responses from JH:#1: "We’ve made some guesses, but fully expect to use real customer feedback to quickly replace those guesses with a better-calibrated plan. As that data is coming together, I can say that our current approach is to deliver about an airplane a month, and 3 to 4 expansions a year, as well as a variety of other kinds of content at various cadences..."Is that 'rate of expansion' adequate, or should it be faster?#2: "Long-haul flight is not one of the scenarios that we believe is interesting for the bulk of our audience. Clearly some people want this, but our research tells us that for anyone but the simmer, the idea of simulating a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu is not a highly-requested feature..."Does that effectively eliminate mid and long range commercial aircraft as future offerings for Flight?Clearly, some interesting comments and interesting times ahead...

Who really cares about getting planes and new areas if you cant fly in the weather these areas are famous/known for. MS Flight without real weather will always come 3rd to me behind FSX and FS9. Until real weather is added and the weather acts like real weather in MS Flight its still far below my bar.In aviation, *nothing* is more important than weather.
That's especially true of Alaska... the weather is so dynamic and can create so many variables that without it, Alaska could be a pretty tame place.

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Great interview, Tom!For me as a simmer, this one was definitely more interesting to read than the previous interviews with Joshua which were aimed at the general public.

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Great interview.. Great questions, reasonable answers.. I'm just as eager about Flights future as I was before I read it..

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I just don't understand why they can't please both the gamers and the simmers. If I were microsoft I would focus on 2 versions of the product. One aimed for simplistic flying (FLIGHT) and the other aimed for realistic flying with 3PD freedom (like FSX).... As for FLIGHTs future, yes it might look bright now; however I am certain that its brightness wont last 30 years, like the MSFS franchise has done...
Good point! I don't remember which of the elder sims it was but I seem to recall at least two of them had standard and deluxe issues in the past. Personally without support for my Saitek panels and TrackIR and my G940 system, there is nothing ot attract me.

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