Henry Street

How about a lively discussion

Recommended Posts

Some thoughts...as I've previously mentioned in 2015, DTG's only competition in their desired marketplace is themselves, and only themselves. Most of you reading this are not in their target marketplace and would move to P3D, Xplane, DCS, or even (shrugs shoulders) Aerofly (if you dont already have one or more). All DTG has to do is stop selling FSX-SE for FSW to flourish.  The business of software is quite a bit different from the hobby of FlightSim despite how important the current user community believes itself to be.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

This doesn't strike me as the basis for a lively discussion so much as it appears to be a thinly veiled go at DTG's business model. If you disagree with their business model fair enough, that's your right, but merely not liking something doesn't make it wrong. I don't like rhubarb and custard, but that hardly makes it evil.

Of course competition drives innovation, but as far as a business is concerned, most of the time a business wants to be leading, ahead of any competition. Wanting to be a successful business doesn't make DTG bad. Have you ever heard of anyone setting out to create a business they hoped would fail? It's plainly untrue to suggest that DTG only want themselves in the marketplace when we know they have already teamed up with numerous third party developers before FSW is even a finished product. They know they cannot do it alone and plainly have no desire to do so either as they have already quite clearly demonstrated even at this early stage.

So who says we are not DTG's target market? Their target market is people who want to buy flight sim and train sim add ons, and they will by definition have to provide the things people want to buy, or facilitate the production of such things, for if they do not, people will not buy from them.

We are not Lockheed Martin's target market either, that's for sure, despite the fact that many of us have bought P3D. Most of us don't qualify for the Academic Licence (I actually do since I am a teacher), nor are we running our own defence contractor companies or military training establishments, we are using it for entertainment when it is marketed as a learning and training tool. and that's not even taking into account that Locheed Martin's core business at the moment is making the Joint Strike Fighter for numerous nations, as far as they are concerned, pleasing casual or even keen flight simmers is about as critical to their business success as selling cheese and onion crisps is to Tesco.

Nor if we want a commercial rather than a combat sim, are we the target market of DCS either. If we do want a combat sim then yes, it suits what is desired, but nobody is going to be flying a 747 from New York to Heathrow in DCS world any more than they are going to be hopping across the channel from Biggin Hill to Toulouse in a Cessna 150 in a combat sim. If we want to shoot up a MiG or A-10, great, it'll let us do that, but if we want to fly around outback Australia landing a Piper Cub on farm strips, it's not the sim for us.

If we want to fly heavy metal, we're not yet X-Plane's target market either, because although there are some decent add on airliners for it, there still isn't any killer IFR flight content in terms of weather, ATC or flight planning and it seems that is not on the near horizon either. Yes you can get some utilities to sort of make IFR airliner ops kind of workable, but htere is still a long way to go before that is really a convincing experience.

AeroFly is in flux since it is early access. It lacks ATC, lacks dynamic weather, lacks complex avionics and lacks complex flight planning. Additionally, it is limited in the terrain it covers. It remains to be seen how it fares, but at present it is not a complete solution for many flight simmers unless they want a simple VFR experience in a limited geographic space.

If DTG stop selling FSX-SE, that doesn't make it cease to exist any more than when MS stopped selling FS made FS9 cease to exist. But even if it did, why is this a bad thing? FSW is a new flight sim which promises much. Even the dumbest business person in the world knows that to make a business successful, you provide what people want. Producing what people want doesn't make DTG some kind of evil empire any more that a car company making cars is indicative of some kind of evil plot.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree that any business action DTG takes regard FSX-SE is not evil. And, I am not, personally, opposed to the phase out of FSX-SE.

EDIT: Great synopsis of the product marketplaces.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone knows that there's a bit of 'nudge, nudge' going on where P3D and the purchase of it is concerned and it would be disingenuous of anyone to suggest that this is not the case unless I've missed my guess and the entire populace of Avsim are all teachers in IT and software CGI FX or something similar, such as myself, thus having a reason to actually use it academically, as I on occasion do for training. I don't use it as my 'fun sim' (FSX-SE is the one I use for that). LM don't appear to be too bothered by that so it generally just doesn't get mentioned, and as such I'm not going to labour the point here because of that, particularly since it isn't Avsim policy to enter into such discussions. Suffice to say that if we want a workable 64 bit ESP-based sim which is using the GPU to best advantage, then we should at least want one we can honestly say we can use legitimately.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Chock said:

then we should at least want one we can honestly say we can use legitimately.

 

Why? That "nudge nudge" has been going on successfully for years. Whats changed? (or is in any way likely to)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, nothing as far as I am aware, but that doesn't make it legitimate. Personally, I hold my own conscience in high regard when it comes to adhering to licensing agreements. Far be it from me to suggest others don't do that, not to mention that it would be difficult to prove otherwise anyway, but if you put temptation in people's way and turn a blind eye to it, then it should come as no surprise to surmise what the result of that is likely to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, HiFlyer said:

Why? That "nudge nudge" has been going on successfully for years. Whats changed? (or is in any way likely to)

I've been suspicious of LM's motives since day 1. But, I will concede, that if P3D is comfortable supporting the "nudge, nudge" community, they are likely to keep using it as a user test base at the very least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say something else that may generate some controversy....

As the ratio of (software complexity/dev shop size) increases, the lifespan of continued development for that complex software generally decreases. This is the primary reason for my bearish take on Aerofly FS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess a point is that unlike a regular game, there really is nothing to stop LM pulling the plug on casual simmers at any point they choose, since they are not who it is marketed at. Let's say for example, LM decided that it was getting too militarily secret in terms of it sim capability or whatever, after all, it does have accurately simulated littoral waters, and presumably some nefarious military nation could use that to plan how to sneak a submarine into Faslane Naval Base for a torpedo attack. This is after all the kind of thing P3D is supposed to be for.

If you ever look up the specs for modern nuclear submarines, you will see that militaries always say that they have a dive depth 'over 500 feet', since they don't want people to know how deep they can really go (apparently well over 1,500 feet down if most 'sources' are to be believed). Likewise if it had accurate trajectories and ranges for missiles and such, which it would need to be any use as the combat and mission training software it really is. If that kind of info was in P3D, do you really think they'd still be knocking it out to anyone who was prepared to throw them 60 quid? Of course that kind of thing could be kept out of it and only put into custom versions for certain clients, but do they really want to do that? If this sounds far fetched, let's not forget who we are talking about here, this is not Dovetail or Flight Sim Labs we're talking about, it's Lockheed Martin, you know, the guys who made all those stealth bombers and stuff and who make the latest strike fighter for several nations.

I'm not suggesting they LM would pull it, but where would we all be if they did and we'd spent hundreds of quid on add ons for it? I would suggest that such a scenario is far less likely to occur with something genuinely sold as a piece of entertainment software. Remember, MS always marketed FS as a game, it even said so on the box. I'm looking at the FS2002 box right now and it quite clearly has a little red oval on the front of it right next to the picture of that 747 with the words 'PC-CD Games' in that oval in white text. The day LM start marketing P3D as a game is the day it would be up on Steam.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Chock said:

I would suggest that such a scenario of far less likely to occur with something genuinely sold as a piece of entertainment software.

I don't think history supports that. FLIGHT? Gone. Microsoft sims? Gone. Flight School? Gone (with extenuating circumstances)

In fact, I think it's the sims with alternative (read military or other) backing Like-Xplane and P3D that have actually shown the most longevity.

It could be argued that the only reason any Microsoft sims lasted as long as they did was because the CEO at the time was a fan.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, HiFlyer said:

I don't think history supports that.

In fact, I think it's the sims with alternative (read military or other) backing Like-Xplane and P3D that have actually shown the most longevity.

It actually does support it. The first version of Flight Simulator (FS1 for the Apple computer) was released in 1979, and although it went through numerous iterations and ownerships, FS spans from that date right up until 2014 with FSX-SE. That's 35 years (with some gaps of course). One can even argue that intellectual property notwithstanding and it forbidding DTG from calling FSW something like Flight Simulator XI, FSW is kind of its spiritual successor, since it is a direct descendant of FS-SE.

X-Plane doesn't even come near that longevity, nor does Prepar3d, it being the baby of the three at eight years old. Of course one could also argue that P3D is the spiritual FS XI, but it's a more broken lineage than that of Dovetail's since it was never called FS, so that's up to you. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Chock said:

The first version of Flight Simulator (FS1 for the Apple computer) was released in 1979, and although it went through numerous iterations and ownerships, FS spans from that date right up until 2014 with FSX-SE. That's 35 years (with some gaps of course).

Again, I believe that most of that history was only because Bill gates wished it so. Pretty much as soon as the center seat began to lose the heat of his butt in it, Microsoft was out of the FlightSim business.

And FLIGHT had to have had the shortest run in history.

One wonders what Laminar would do if Austin ever wandered off or lost interest/retired? :unsure:

Now, DTG seems to have bet the farm on its recent expansion into other areas, with unknown success, so I can only wonder about them. 

Which leaves again (to me) the most stable bet actually looking like P3D, especially since its entire budget probably amounts to unwanted pocket lint from Lockheed Martin. And is probably actually (or close to) paying for itself.

Aerofly.... has the advantage that its developers are actual Flightsim enthusiasts, and are willing to pretty much work themselves crosseyed to create something new. It also has the great disadvantage of being new, to a community with decades of inertia towards only Microsoft based products.

Passion vs marketing. Big money vs the little guys. The jury is in recess.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, HiFlyer said:

One wonders what Laminar would do if Austin ever wandered off or lost interest/retired? :unsure:

I think the crucial person for x-plane is Ben, not Austin. In the last years he did nothing short of a miracle, with very longsighted choices for scenery, rendering, and the 64 bits thing. Yes, a lot of other people contributed immensely to xp, but if it weren't for Ben, I even doubt today xp would be commercially feasible, let alone being the 2nd most used flight sim (according to google trends). If you ask me, the majority of profits should go to him. :-)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Murmur +1 to this. Ben is an incredibly clever guy and for the most part is the man behind the scenery and rendering in the sim. His blog posts on development are also incredibly interesting. Judging by the 11.02b1 with the performance improvements, the new developer is doing a great job as well. v11 is shaping up very nicely and it's still early days

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, whoever it is who is the driving force behind X-Plane, it is regardless of who is in the driving seat, a distinct advantage to have people at the helm who are passionate about flying. There is no denying that Austin Meyer is quite evidently more driven toward his own personal interests in what he is flying at the time in the real world, than he is in the wider sense for the sim, a fact which has held several areas of development back for X-Plane for a long time, notably ATC, flight planning, and weather/season depiction, so it does benefit from a broader input from someone other than Austin alone and it would seem Ben is that guy. Don't get me wrong, I love Austin's passion for flying and having chatted to him once, I found him interesting, forthright, transparently honest and just plain likeable, and that is a real advantage for Laminar to have someone in there like that, a guy who is not full of cr*p who one can take at his word.

As we all know, it was indeed Bill Gates' enthusiasm for flying which kept FS up there in the MS product range for so long. It's just sad that by the time the need for a transfer to 64 bit and GPU dependency was becoming apparent, Bill was beginning to head for the door. Two more years in the driving seat with Bill and we might have seen FS go 64 bit and GPU driven at that time, but alas no, it's taken another decade for that to happen. when Gates left, it placed  Steve Ballmer at the helm, until his retirement in 2014. Gates and Ballmer did not, and still do not get along, often having stand up shouting matches in board meetings, they are poles apart in terms of policy, and whilst the bottom line does show Ballmer increased MS profits, he did so at the expense of culling anything which was not a complete cash cow for MS, so it was inevitable that FS would be a casualty of that, although personally, I think it was a short sighted move, as FS was definitely a product which made MS seem more of a likeable entity than Windows or Office ever would or could. I think MS would have been better off regarding the development of FS as a corporate identity marketing expense and staying with it, as the lack of having done so has definitely created a disconnect with many PC users now that you can no longer buy a PC with Flight Sim on it as it came, which many may recall used to be the case.

Philanthropic as both Bill Gates and indeed Steve Ballmer are these days, Bill is no angel, but he is perhaps more than any other person apart from possibly Bruce Artwick, the man we can thank for the flight sim world being where it is today, which ironically enough right now what with all the new stuff flying around, is actually quite an exciting place.

The journey toward flight sims with up to date graphics which make use of modern hardware properly has been a long and often bumpy road, but it seems we are getting there.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for a great discussion...not quite what I expected but very erudite and interesting.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now