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Tom Allensworth

PMDG Releases Statement Regarding EULAs for P3D

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As reported on the front page this morning:

 

[imgleft]http://static.avsim.net/forum/uploads/62c6ab8e56ab122439a9de6687a84c6e.gif[/imgleft]Rob Randazzo of PMDG, in response to AVSIM's query regarding their position on their End User License Agreements (EULAs) for their products and use within Lockheed's P3D, provided AVSIM the following statement; "PMDG’s position is that the EULA is an industry established process designed to clearly define any limitations of a customer’s rights to use the license that they have purchased. The limitations placed inside PMDG’s EULAs are reached after careful review with our corporate counsel and take into consideration such things as:

  • Microsoft’s EULA for FSX and/or FS2002.
  • Lockheed Martin’s EULA for Prepar3d.
  • Limitations as required by PMDG’s contract with Boeing.
  • Limitations as required by PMDG’s contracts with other licensors.
  • Limitations as required by PMDG’s agreements with contributing airlines, MROs and support centers.
  • Limitations as required by PMDG’s corporate liability insurer.
  • Limitations as required by PMDG’s business model.

Given the subtext of the discussion, I think your broader question is: “Why does PMDG specifically disallow use of our products on the Prepar3d platform?”

 

The decision to limit the EULA on PMDG’s products to prevent their use in Prepar3d has everything to do with our contract with Boeing, our insurance carrier and our business model. In the context of the first two items, the decision involves the process of limiting PMDG’s liability in the face of legal action related to an accident outcome, or a violation of our contracts with the described parties who support the development of our products.

 

Those things can be changed however and I suspect that they will change once we have had a chance to adequately evaluate that outcome.

 

The third item is of larger concern to PMDG however as it relates to our basic concern to protect the investment our customers make in our products. We have not seen a commitment by Lockheed Martin to support the “casual simmer” beyond providing methods for users to obtain a license for Prepar3d through “wink and nudge” means. Lockheed Martin has been very careful not to enter the retail entertainment market with Prepar3d and has some very good reasons for not doing so. Without taking a step to enter the retail entertainment simulator market, Lockheed Martin has (in the opinion of PMDG and our counsel) left the door open so that they could, at any time change direction and enforce the terms of the EULA on Prepar3d thus requiring all Prepar3d users to prove compliance with their EULA. When this happens, the vast majority of simmers currently exploring Prepar3d as an alternative platform will be left without a valid license or usage rights because they do not meet the very limited band of allowable users as defined by the Lockheed Martin EULA. We prefer that our customers not be left having made an investment in a PMDG product only to lose the ability to use that product because they are using it on a platform for which they don’t have clear usage rights for Prepar3d.

 

This is a mess that we are hoping to see sorted out, but when we pointed this topic out, Lockheed Martin made it very clear that they were not interested in having a discussion with us regarding customer rights. If we are to market our products to the entertainment simulation community as being compatible with Prepar3d, I feel that PMDG has a responsibility to make sure users are not asked to compromise their integrity in order to use the product we sell them. Again, in the opinion of PMDG and our counsel’s office, we still see a number of avenues in which Lockheed Martin has itself painted into a corner from which it cannot clearly support the non-commercial/non-education consumer. When these very important questions are cleared up, we will be happy to provide our customers with the flexibility to use Prepar3d as a simming platform."

 

You can also see the comparision table of vendors and EULA's here.

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I think this is a very good and honest statement from an awesome developer and I support their position, even if it is a pity that there is no immediate allowance for their products use in P3D. One of my reservations/concerns about adopting P3D is an about face by LM such as described above (after Flight I don't put any faith in the infalibility of any product's direction) and I would hate to be left in that position. I fervently hope as do they that we can see this little issue resolved in the future and P3D reach it's full potential as a next-generation sim.

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I use all my addons for entertainment in p3d as they are not certified for training, i don't own the ngx btw.

 

As long as you have the intent to learn to fly in the real world like me, ( i dont have the funds at the moment for my ppl ) then you should not run in to any issues with LM if you have the Academic version.

 

The funny thing is that people use fsx/fs9 and fsx/fs9 addons for flight training and no one cares.

 

Yea but sadly the law in this area is designed to impede progress with good intention, stifle creativity and generally hold back the human race from fulfilling it's potential so it won't necessarily be rational to the likes of you and I.

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My feelings on the matter is that this is a catch 22 situation. As far as I understand matters MS has sold LM a license that prohibits LM selling P3D as an "entertainment" product. I'm guessing here, but I think it's not too much of a leap to say that MS was happy to get some cash from LM, while preventing them from competing with Flight! in said entertainment market.

 

Problem is MS is gone from flight simulation and I don't think their coming back. Now if MS were considerate of the user community that has developed around the FS series, or simply a little business savvy, they would either sell LM or someone else the codebase without a restrictive licence (such as the one LM holds now). I know for fact that Aerosoft has approached MS some time ago and offered to buy the FSX code base, but MS simply wasn't interested. Now this was pre-Flight! so maybe things have changed now, but I wouldn't be surprised if MS simply let FSX and Flight! die rather then selling.

 

So now PMDG say "no support without a different licence" and neither P3D or anyone else is likely to get such a license from MS.

 

That leaves us simmers at a bit of a cross roads. Without the likes on PMDG, but with the likes of ORBX some of us will head towards P3D while others will go the X-Plane route, but most might sit on FSX or even FS9 for years to come. This will fracture the scene in 2, maybe 3 camps (depending on how long P3D can evolve while being backward compatibale) and I fear that is not a good thing. I think we as a community are too small to sustain 3 or more platforms, and neither platform will be as attractive as what we are enjoying now with FSX, since the add-on market will be split between these simulators. Of course one can take the view that competition is good, and I agree to some extend, but the one possibility is that the scene will simply shrink or fracture, and with that the market for add-ons which will will in turn decrease the quantity/quality of add-ons and so on. Which would be bad for everyone, PMDG and their business model included.

 

A bit bleak maybe, but that is what I'm worried about. I'm glad to be proven wrong down the track, make no mistake.

 

My personal wish is that PMDG just let the users decide to take a risk, rather then making the decision for me. All I ask for is that PMDG test their product on P3D as well as on FSX and make them compatible if issues exist, so that I can decide which sim I use their product with. I understand that is extra work for them, but I also think it is in their interest to keep the scene as unified as it is today. I'm more then happy for PMDG to make me agree to their licence agreement that I may not use their product for training purposes, and I don't even need an installer for P3D, but I want to be able to use my NGX/777 747 v2 and so on on both sims please.

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As long as you have the intent to learn to fly in the real world like me, ( i dont have the funds at the moment for my ppl ) then you should not run in to any issues with LM if you have the Academic version.

 

I suspect Lockheed Martin doesn't really care what private individuals do with P3D in the privacy of their own homes even though the individual EULAs are worth understanding properly.

 

The real problem, as PMDG point out, is that the current EULAs prohibit commercial development of add-ons for personal/consumer entertainment. This surely means that P3D add-ons won't develop in the same way as for FSX, so we are unlikely to see the breadth and width of add-ons now available for FSX.

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My personal wish is that PMDG just let the users decide to take a risk, rather then making the decision for me.

 

I understand that the current PMDG stance (well the unofficial one) is not dissimilar to the "nudge nudge wink wink" stance of Lockheed Martin - which in practice means that you might install the NGX in P3D if you know how, but dont expect us to help you if something breaks.

 

In regard of testing the products for P3D, I would not say that is financially feasible, unless a different, P3D based market exists for PMDG (commercial, certified and/or uncertified simulators perhaps?). Testing for P3D alongside FSX will bring cost, without any likely benefit, since PMDG can not sell P3D licenses as a way to support this endeavour, and is it extremely unlikely that sales of FSX version would rise.

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I understand that the current PMDG stance (well the unofficial one) is not dissimilar to the "nudge nudge wink wink" stance of Lockheed Martin - which in practice means that you might install the NGX in P3D if you know how, but dont expect us to help you if something breaks.

 

That "understanding" is a huge assumption that does not seem to be supported by either the facts or the EULA agreements for either product.

 

Kind regards,

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As a result of the article and conversations that have taken place since, Rob Randazzo issued the following statement:

 

"As a result of AVSim’s interest in this story, Lockheed Martin and PMDG have re-engaged in a discussion that we hope will ultimately lead to some changes to benefit Prepar3d customers who wish to use PMDG’s products on the Prepar3d platform. Our goal is to be certain that PMDG customers are protected when they invest in a PMDG product, and from our conversation with Lockheed Martin today, it is clear that they share this concern as well. We hope to have more news on this topic late next week…"

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I will only say that I find very interesting how things started to roll since one-two weeks...

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I will only say that I find very interesting how things started to roll since one-two weeks...

 

No Srdan. Things have been "rolling" for quite a while before that. You were told that things were happening. Too bad you weren't paying too much attention.

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Too bad you weren't paying too much attention.

 

Tom, I was honestly trying to follow. Just after 1.4 I saw couple of things - quite more users jumping in, a license allowance list on AVSIM, now the official statement from PMDG they will try, even more products now that support P3D (officially), the migrator... ORBX was one of the first companies who were there from the beginning, FSDT following not much later.

 

To me, it sure looks like the 1.4 brought things well more together.

 

I'm just very sad that we got up on such a wrong foot over this, that it brought us where we are now (me). If this thing waited for like 2 weeks, it would have probably played out quite differently.

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If this thing waited for like 2 weeks, it would have probably played out quite differently.

 

If you had waited two weeks, it certainly would have.

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If you had waited two weeks, it certainly would have.

Well, I for one am sorry that it played out like that.

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I will only say that I find very interesting how things started to roll since one-two weeks...

 

I totally agree...

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I don't know what all the above is but hearing PMDG is trying to work something out with LM is exciting. I'm waiting to see what happens I guess before jumping over.

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Uhm, guys? I dont want to go telling you how to run forums, but I am not sure you want to discuss it here, in public forum.

 

 

That "understanding" is a huge assumption that does not seem to be supported by either the facts or the EULA agreements for either product.

 

I agree that users who would use P3D and/or PMDG are violating EULA. Just saying that those companies do not seem to be actively working against such use. Then again, I can not see into what is being done internally or externally, if done discreetly, and I am not even a P3D user.

I suppose that should be all I should have said, even if that. Maybe deleting whole discussion from my first post downis the thing to do.

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Uhm, guys? I dont want to go telling you how to run forums, but I am not sure you want to discuss it here, in public forum.

 

 

 

 

I agree that users who would use P3D and/or PMDG are violating EULA. Just saying that those companies do not seem to be actively working against such use. Then again, I can not see into what is being done internally or externally, if done discreetly, and I am not even a P3D user.

I suppose that should be all I should have said, even if that. Maybe deleting whole discussion from my first post downis the thing to do.

 

I have a sneaking suspicion that Tom hasn't shared anything he isn't at liberty to share.

 

I'm interested as to how this will pan out. Not so much for the current iteration of P3D, but later updates. Good luck, infant simulator. You have potential.

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It is inevitable, perhaps, that PMDG product users get frustrated by the apparent abandonment of the FSX product by Microsoft. Thus some are looking to using Prepar3D as an alternative. However, Lockhead Martin have said nothing about any plans to develop their software in a direction that may satisfy future PMDG users. I feel that PMDG have been acting to protect those using Prepar3D as much as they can. For this, I think we should all be immensely grateful.

 

I believe that Microsoft has never had any intention of abandoning the further development of FSX. Although not privvy to any of Microsoft's development plans, the amount of money invested by them in developing SimConnect, leads me to thinking that the future of FSX is far from ended. It has taken several years of patient waiting by us to see what will happen to FSX.

 

Over recent years there have been many software developments industry-wide that could be exploited by Microsoft (or their contractors?) to make a fantastic step forward for FSX, such as the development of new gound imaging techniques, ocean floor mapping, space modelling, weather mapping and the Next Generation Navigation Systems. With care, many existing simulators could make fantastic use of these facilities to offer us a whole new and advanced simulation environment.

 

There is currently no way that Prepar3D can be an assured path forward for the hobby simulator user, so I shall certainly be sticking by FSX so as to be able to take advantage of any new Microsoft product that may be realised. I hope that current PMDG users who have decided to base their future on Prepar3D do not have to waste a lot of money to get back onto an eventual Microsoft-based simulation environment.

 

Food for thought?

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There is also currently no way that FSX can be an assured path forward for the hobby sim user. P3D is currently being developed, FSX is not. I have no problem sending LM 50 bucks to support their efforts. If LM pulls the plug on P3D tomorrow I wont loose any sleep over it. I support it cause its making an attempt to improve things.

 

As far as addons go, anything that works with P3D is a bonus. I'm not expecting any to work in P3D. In fact as it moves forward I would expect fewer addons to work. Thats a price I expect to pay for the improvements being made.

 

If MS were to announce further developement of FSX or a new sim , I'd back them also. I own Flight and I had fun with it although its no FSX.

 

And I have my own EULA that I adhere to, it reads something like this... "I purchase addon, I use addon".

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I have no problem sending LM 50 bucks to support their efforts. If LM pulls the plug on P3D tomorrow I wont loose any sleep over it. I support it cause its making an attempt to improve things.

 

Exactly my opinion.

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Feel the same way. I mean as we progressed through MSFS versions some add-ons became obsolete or sorta "broke" with new code. P3D v2 could happen as well. One can only truly protect their investment if you continue to use the same FS through the years.

 

I woulda thought the issue of PMDG would have been more along the lines between PMDG and Boeing. Thinking their could be some conflict moving an entertainment retail product into a commercial platform.

 

Not sure what is more interesting to read... the saga between PMDG and LM or the one between Tom and Srdan! :wink:

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Food for thought?

 

Richard, your positivity is admirable, and the rationality driving your argument is intriguing. However, it will take a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time for me to believe that Microsoft will ever again make a decision that is in the best interests of simmers. I won't hold my breath for them. That they allowed Joshua Howard to both "Hindenberg" and "Titanic" the legacy of our Flight Simulator shows a high degree of disregard. I can echo this as being burned time and time again by this company as a developer...

 

* XNA is the way forward for managed Direct X development... no, it's not, it's for consoles... no, it's not, it's for our phone... nah, nevermind, XNA is dead

* Silverlight is our Flash replacement, get onboard... nah, it's important in WPF... nah, Metro-style apps are the way to go

* DirectX is a one-stop shop for all your game development needs... no, it's not, you don't need that networking code, find your own... you don't need a seperate SDK, this stuff is just a part of Windows (8), just use that.

* We're totally into the mobile space, here's our tools... nah, we don't support Windows Mobile/CE anymore, here's our new toy

 

That's just what I can garner off the top of my head. They are a rudderless entity and SimConnect is far from their crowning software engineering achievement in FSX from where I stand. I would actually vote for the round-earth model and the sheer scale of the sim's data and rendering approach. But I too am not privvy to any more than I could glean from the wonderful information that the ACES team was always willing to share with us. For instance, the talented Adam Szofran shared his techniques on developing the round-earth model and other rendering and data management strategies in this talk/presentation: http://www.microsoft.com/Products/Games/FSInsider/developers/Pages/GlobalTerrain.aspx

 

No, I think the chances of Microsoft backing anything resembling FSX in the future are slim and I surely will not sit around and wait for them. It is unfortunate that things are cut and dried with LM. However, they want the "simmer's" FSX business and nearly all of the evidence since the opening of P3D points to this. First and foremost, the emergence of the academic version as well as a drastic reduction in price for the full "retail" version (notice it doesn't say pro).

 

This reminds we of eSimGames' Steel Beasts Professional Personal Edition or Bohemia Interactive's Virtual Battle Space software titles. They are pricing these things for the big-boy market, but each can be obtained if you want them.

 

I am fine with that as clearly, the "I wanna fire up flight simulator to fiddle-faddle around with rings in the sky and earn points for finding treasures" did not pan out. There must have been market reasons for this (among many).

 

Anyhow. I had Richard's attitude whilst awaiting flight and made several now-embarrassing prognostications. I had the "long investment" rationale then as I awaited Flight. I couldn't even change my tune when the writing was on the wall: http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3393516/Interesting_comments_on_MS_Fli.html

 

What a massive mistake in judgment on my part.

 

So, for me at least, Microsoft will NEVER AGAIN be a serious or viable option for flight simulation. I could be wrong, perhaps we will all hold on to FSX for 10 years and MS will do an about face. While it remains to be seen, there is an indication that this could be the case with the new Sim City due out in 2013 which will, 10 years later, resume the correct path for that software legacy last seen in Sim City 4.

 

In Microsoft's case, I have my doubts. In any case, I won't hold my breath.

 

If you are simming to enjoy a high-fidelity flying experience where one can simulate an experience in a manner that is similar to reality, I can't see a better option than Prepar3d right now.

 

Again I could be wrong. Sim City Societies stood as a terrible end to the Sim City legacy (one almost as old as Flight Simulator's). However, EA, just may bring it back.

 

So on that note, perhaps you are on to something Richard. I'll be investing in birds-in-hand until then.

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Update next week, that's all I care about.

 

I doubt that it will be good news...

 

My prediction: LM and PMDG tighten efforts to restrict EULA violations and PMDG begin to use a patching system for their products that dis-allows usage in P3D.

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I doubt that it will be good news...

 

My prediction: LM and PMDG tighten efforts to restrict EULA violations and PMDG begin to use a patching system for their products that dis-allows usage in P3D.

Well my thoughts included that they were talking about a new update next week, and, since this came up, they will take about their conversations with Lockheed Martin.

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