lukehall

Misleading marketing of sim products

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Dear Avsim,

I am becoming increasingly concerned by the misrepresentation of 3rd party add-ons through the use of post production effects in videos and screenshots.

A growing number of developers and publishers are releasing media which in many cases, utilise more and more complex post production and lighting effects such as desaturation, motion, shading, sound and edge enhancements to effectively represent their products in a far more visually appealing way than is possible using the base platform. Whether that is P3D, X-Plane, FSX or any other core simulator, I find this practice to be highly misleading at best, or plain dishonest at worst.

If you consider that the majority of add-on products are by definition aimed at visually enhancing your simulator platform, this constitutes a fundamental misrepresentation of the product for sale. This is particularly true when, as is most often the case, the media in question is not offered with any explanation or declaration of the effects used, nor do they offer un-doctored equivalents for comparison. I suppose that they might argue that the effects used are in some cases commercially available simulator enhancements, and therefore it is valid that they be used to depict their products. However, in the absence of any disclosure explaining exactly what they have used and how they have altered the media, I don't believe that this is a valid justification.

For example, when presenting media of an enhanced scenery area, it seems fair that the media be presented exactly as it was rendered in the base platform for which it is being marketed, on a hardware platform which meets the average specifications published by the developer. If post production or integrated effects are to be used to enhance the marketing, these images or videos should be offered as additional media, whilst clearly stating what third party integrated or post production effects have been used. To not offer any "clean" media in effect makes the altered images and video irrelevant in terms of honest marketing.

I'm sure that the majority of enthusiasts enjoy watching highly produced videos of these add-ons and I am not advocating that these should not be published. I am asking that publishers and developers present a more complete and honest depiction of what a prospective user can expect to achieve with an average minimum spec platform. To do otherwise is simply false advertising and marketing.

Luke Hall 

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What annoys me more, is when a product is designated as being P3D compatible, but doesn't say for which version of P3D. With P3Dv4 being 64 bit, there needs to be a better differentiation. In fairness, many developers have taken this on board and it makes things a lot easier. But other developers seem to be grouping all versions of P3D (including v4) under the same heading. That's just crazy.

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The whole Game industry is doing this no surprise :) However, yes you are 100% true, its misleading info, nice YT videos about the products and when the final user starts to using it Performance issues and totally different experience than on the Pictures or VIdeos.

Of course, we all want a nice environment, and smooth flying experience so we chasing those videos dreams.....  and also the HYPE is another thing, saw some hypes over here too before some product release and after that, the product was a huge BUG. for 59,00 EUR :))))

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24 minutes ago, nealmac said:

What annoys me more, is when a product is designated as being P3D

To buy a kat in a bag... Personnaly I banned some very great sim-sites* for that reasons...

The only way for me in the future is to buy only when in the description of product, the compatibility for the version v4 is writed black on white without confusion possible.... Orbx or Carenado are very well, you are sure of the transaction you do.

Some knowed editors hyde this information because their products are not yet ready...

Mark

*  plus generaly the same sites make paying 5 $ to retreive your's downloads or upgrades after one year... They don't have any cost to keep some simple links in a database... Horribilis

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That's one reason I log into AVSIM several times a day. No holds barred user reports.

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I completely agree.  I've seen doctored screenshots promoting products that are clearly misleading.

We the potential customers must demand full disclosure from flightsim developers *before* we purchase their products.  If they won't give a straight answer, then don't give them your money.

Thanks for this post.

Dave

 

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There is nothing better than independent reviews.

This topic reminds me of the first time I encountered this type of issue on the Internet: The Microsoft DX10 preview...

directxflightsimulator%5B2%5D.jpg

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I will pop this Topic into Hanger Chat as its more suited there 

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I couldn't agree more with the OP. It is a shameful practice.

I believe the way it got started was the video producers (which are often not the developers themselves) doing these videos, and of course the developer signing off on them.  But it's created a monster, and it's a practice that needs to be stopped.

 

 

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Luke - to see things as "real as they actually are rather than you'd like them to be" have a look at some of my screenshot threads :biggrin: :- Bog stock FSX:SE with add-ons as installed, no post-processing!

I agree wholeheartedly with your post.

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My respect to AVSIM and Jim for reopening this topic.

To be very clear, the purpose of my OP was not to spark an inflammatory debate or to single out any developers/publishers in particular. It should be read as a call out to all parties to reign in these increasingly glossy productions as a sole representation of their products, however brilliant they are to watch. I love watching them but I do so with a growing feeling of unease knowing that it's probably not going to be what I actually get after parting with my money, particularly as we are usually told at the point of payment that there can be no refunds whatsoever if it doesn't meet our expectations.

Like most of you, I have spend thousands of pounds on these addons and hardware over the last 30 years and I don't begrudge a penny of it, particularly as I appreciate the time and effort required to produce them. We live in a golden age of hobby simulation, the likes of which would have dismissed as pure fantasy a number of years ago. I am massively encouraged by the huge numbers of people that are becoming hooked because an expanding market will surely support the development of even better products. We also live in an age where online marketing and media advancements have made it easier and cheaper than ever before for suppliers to market their products to a wider audience. With that though comes an opportunity to get carried away, so my call out is this:
Keep making the cool videos because we love them. Keep bringing us the cool pictures too, because we also love them. Please though give us the whole picture and not just the glossy stuff so that we can make a properly informed decision whether to buy or not.

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Yes, I agree.  Because of having been burned, I have learned to watch these videos with an eye of suspicion and entertainment.  I ask myself "how much of this video is actually showing me the product.  If it's an airport, how much of the time is spent showing me aircraft instead of the product...rotating tires, taxiing, turning on runways."...entertaining but, otherwise, useless footage.  I also rely on reviews from different sites and youtube.  The product reviews by buyers on Simmarket are also useful.  Doing this, I've avoided being burned many times.

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1 hour ago, Gregg_Seipp said:

I ask myself "how much of this video is actually showing me the product.  If it's an airport, how much of the time is spent showing me aircraft instead of the product...rotating tires, taxiing, turning on runways."

Yes and the same applies to screenshots of airport scenery - I always get suspicious if there seems to be a disproportionate number of night views (are they trying to hide poor texture quality?) or lots of views of aircraft with just the runway or grass visible! Those of us in this hobby for a long time get to know which developers are good or bad but the issue becomes more important when a new developer arrives on the scene with a product and only a few screenshots to go by.

Bill

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The same deception applies to user screenshots of software. It's way too easy to Photoshop screen captures and tune them so that they look perfect.

I member reading about a fantastic new weight loss remedy that was guaranteed to work in 100% of the cases. It was called the Adobe Photoshop Diet.

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The problem with lots of promotional videos is that they seem to be more artistic expression than product demonstration.

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On 10/3/2017 at 2:48 PM, Keven Menard said:

There is nothing better than independent reviews.

This topic reminds me of the first time I encountered this type of issue on the Internet: The Microsoft DX10 preview...

 

That was classic.  I remember those elusive white foam caps and 'God rays' were spoken about for years afterwards. 

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20 minutes ago, Christopher Low said:

The problem with lots of promotional videos is that they seem to be more artistic expression than product demonstration.

Come On.. Do you really expect the Big Mac you get at McDonald's to look like the one in the ad.  ;-)

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Some points in here I can really agree with, but I'll say this..where else are you going to get your products from? Note, this is not to defend any developers or those who have falsely advertised, but essentially when you have a bunch of fish in a 10 gallon tank, and your only source of food are the few dozen that feed you, are you going to eat or starve? It stinks, because I know based on just my own curiosity, it's very hard for me to say NO. The community is dynamic, and with how many new developers hit the floor each year, it's apparent that there is a race to the top! No matter what though, I believe the user would rather have honesty up front and know what they are purchasing. Unfortunately as we know, consumers won't necessarily go anywhere else to get their product due to such a limited market. 

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