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Very Pricy Addons

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17 minutes ago, Jim Young said:

To throw my thoughts in the hat I think the P3D sim is very expensive at $199.  It is based off of FSX and Microsoft updated their FS products about once every 2 years and charged less than $75.  It is only the basic engine for which the other addons use.  What makes it so special they have to charge $199?  I realize that academics can purchase it for about $50 but that sounds like a fair price for everyone.  X-Plane is not that expensive and FSX Steam Edition is ridiculously low too.  I would like to see LM reduce the price to no higher than $80 for everyone which I think is very fair and would bring in many more buyers as it would be more competitive in the markets.  I do not know how they calculated the pricing but the $199 is obscene. 

They also charge a large sum of money for developers.  As everyone knows, developers and corporations do not lose money.  You raise their taxes, they will increase the price of the product they are selling.  You raise the price of development to a particular sim, the developer will raise his/her price so profits will not be lost.  So, if LM brought down the price for consumers and developers, everything would be a little cheaper.

I do believe those talented individuals who have the capability of developing creative products should be paid for their efforts but pricing has gotten a bit out of hand IMHO.

The 'fair' price is what people are willing to pay, you don't want to spend £199 on P3D then don't, stop buying it and either the price will drop or they will stop development and end the product.  The fact that they offer a reduced price for students (that they don't check in any way) suggests that it might not be LM dictating the price point.

Your second point is not born out by the facts, PMDG, FSL etc...were already charging +£100 per aircraft when FSX was the primary flight sim, again coming back to my first point, companies charge what they think the market will take and again nobody forces us to buy the products; as the consumer we can change this simply stop buying products if you think the price is unreasonable.

I am curious, do you think that £120 is "obscene" for a single aircraft?

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Ian R Tyldesley

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25 minutes ago, Jim Young said:

I do believe those talented individuals who have the capability of developing creative products should be paid for their efforts but pricing has gotten a bit out of hand IMHO.

Ditto.

I was wondering if your post was tongue and cheek but I guess not. What I am getting at is the extra some manufactures and developers charge Over and above what is reasonable. The lets stick it to these suckers mentality. The Con, Mark dynamic

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14 hours ago, W2DR said:

Ever wonder how much Disney World prices have increased been since the opening? Mind blowing.....but still not "gouging":  https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/entertainment/how-much-disney-world-cost-year-born/

One thing I learned going to Disneyworld is to stay at least for one week, because the prices would go down averaged out over the week, and if crowded we could still see our fav attractions over and over in all four parks.  We stayed at one of the finest Disney resorts in 2009, the Beach club.  When we checked in we heard a commotion behind us, and turned around to see a bunch of hotel employees with balloons and a camera.  We thought to ourselves, "what a place, someone must be lucky". Turned out it was us, we were voted "Family of the Day" by the staff on our way to the resort, and we were upgraded to the concierge floor of the Beach club which included free breakfast, which saved us alone a small fortune and got us going every day.  There were also free cocktails in the afternoon and a light brunch, and free evening food.  Of course they knew we would come back again, which we did in 2013 for the last time, since my daughter was growing older and I was nearing an early retirement due to illness. 

Disney service is just that and as the market, we bore the price knowing we would have a happy time.  But my fav park for my daughter's enjoyment as a younger girl was Legoland California.  It was very clean, geared towards family with pre teens, and just a good place, not too expensive, with a good staff and polished service and kid friendly attractions.  Universal Studios Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa and Six Flags Vallejo and Six Flag Magic mountain were runner ups for my wife and I since the big coasters scared my daughter, although my wife and I went to Magic Mountain five years before my daughter was born, on our honeymoon. 

My last visit to Busch Gardens Tampa, in '99, was free--my client, the Best Western there, the only hotel on park grounds, gave me a free ticket there for my services rendered, courtesy the owners and management.  I did a LAN installation and Business Systems training for that client just before my daughter was born, in the midst of an oncoming tropical storm that I later had to fly partially thru on the way back to Phoenix, via Dallas.  I have been to the Disney resorts more than twenty times since 1966 (my first year in California was in Burbank).  Many changes to the resorts on both coasts over the years.

I am thinking of buying another add-on today, either Carenados DA62 or their Piper turboprop.  I tend to fly Xplane11 more but whenever I buy an add-on that is the sim I use for a while.  However there is an inexpensive Mig for Xplane11 I've had my eye on too--so who knows.  I always buy an add-on on my payday to extend the enjoyment of the hobby.  Price is no matter to me, just what the add-on does and the niche it fills.  However $50 is about my add-on limit, just a number but everyone has their limits.  It boggles my mind to think of how much I have invested in P3D Pro and Xplane11 consumer edition, but it is my one vice.  I don't drink, seldom smoke (bad habit I picked up in 2013 but helps with tenseness I found), otherwise I stay drug free and sober as most flying nuts do.  Simming is up to the user, lol, a beer when simming, oh well--cannot hold that against someone.  And it makes the prices of add-ons less painful, even if I do not have alcohol in my home I still remember the taste of beer when flying for real on my first overseas flight, when I was only fifteen and had a liver to spare and brain cells to spare.

Cheers and Happy Holidays, and good, inciteful and civil thread...

John

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As others have said: this is just basic economics. The 'right' price for anything is the price that the market is prepared to pay that makes the vendor an acceptable profit margin.

Some stack it high and sell it cheap, operating on wafer-thin margins and relying on selling a large volume quickly and continuously -- great until for whatever reason sales hiccup, and then the wheels come off very quickly. Others sell fewer units at a higher price -- more difficult to make the sale in the first place, perhaps, but you don't need to make as many sales to cover your costs.

The thing about software development is that unlike physical widgets, volume of sales is not always everything.

The more units you sell, the more customers you have and the greater support burden you have. And if there's anything which is more expensive than spending years developing a piece of software, it's supporting that software ad infinitum!

Higher prices might mean less volume of sales but it also means a lower support burden and, invariably, a less casual clientele (also easing the support burden)...


Simon Kelsey

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2 hours ago, WotanUK said:

Your second point is not born out by the facts, PMDG, FSL etc...were already charging +£100 per aircraft when FSX was the primary flight sim

The current and updated PMDG products for FSX are not even $100.  Back in the old 737 days, I do not recall paying more than $70.  So you are wrong with your "correction" of my facts on just the PMDG products alone.

2 hours ago, WotanUK said:

I am curious, do you think that £120 is "obscene" for a single aircraft? 

Depends.  For PMDG products no.

2 hours ago, Avidean said:

I was wondering if your post was tongue and cheek but I guess not.

None of my comments were tongue and cheek.  About every hobby can be expensive and many do not like to partake because they simply cannot afford it.  Tennis, golf, car racing, and other hobbies can get very expensive depending on how far you want to take your hobby.  I think it is worth mentioning that software pirates are taking your money too as developers have to cover those losses.  The more popular and expensive the product, the higher the liklihood of piracy.

 


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I can only think of one of my sim-related purchases that I thought was seriously overpriced, and that's the Saitek Multi-panel.  

It works, but the knobs and switches on this $150 item look and feel flimsy and cheap. Not just the look and feel, but I've heard reports of the mode selector breaking after a while. I use it mainly as a passive repeater display, selecting functions in the 3D cockpit because I just don't like the cheap feel of the switches. Products like this can only sell at this price with flimsy construction because it's such a niche market without any competition.

I don't mind paying a lot of money for a hardware peripheral if I can "see and feel the money." Like my Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS setup. It's expensive, and I could wish for a bit less plastic with some of the switches, but the build quality is there. I don't think it's overpriced.


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7 minutes ago, Jim Young said:

I think it is worth mentioning that software pirates are taking your money too as developers have to cover those losses.  The more popular and expensive the product, the higher the liklihood of piracy.

There are no "losses" unique to piracy in a purely digital world - it's a lost sale, but from the developer's perspective the economic impact is the same than if a person chooses not to buy for any other reason. You may have a moral issue with someone getting something for nothing, but economics has no morals, only supply and demand. 🙂

By and large, the biggest problem to a commercial add-on is not piracy, it's lack of interest. I'd love to have my products pirated.

Back on topic - writing simulator add-ons is tough, mostly because the market is so small and any dev competent enough to make simulator add-ons can easily make guaranteed six figures working for a larger corporation. I keep trying to figure out a model that would work for me and let me quit my job.... I would need to sell 5,000 subscriptions a year. Tough.

Cheers!

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Luke Kolin

I make simFDR, the most advanced flight data recorder for FSX, Prepar3D and X-Plane.

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We need  to consider the quality of the product as well. A2A GA addon aircraft generally cost around $70 while Carenado and others charge around $40. When I consider the difference in quality - systems depth, flight dynamics, "immersion" (e.g., cabin vibrations) - I am happy to pay the difference. Likewise PMDG produces high quality, expensive airliners. I would prefer to have more high quality addons, even at higher price, and fewer low price, low quality addons. I regret that over the years I have bought so many low quality, inexpensive aircraft, when I now only fly the "expensive" PMDG DC-6,  A2A Bonanza, A2A Cherokee, and the Realair B60 Piston Duke. Of course, there is the Manfred Jahn DC-3 - higher quality than most payware addons, and it is freeware. So there are rare exceptions. But I think we should be demanding higher quality addons, not cheaper addons. 

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6 minutes ago, Luke said:

There are no "losses" unique to piracy in a purely digital world - it's a lost sale, but from the developer's perspective the economic impact is the same than if a person chooses not to buy for any other reason. You may have a moral issue with someone getting something for nothing, but economics has no morals, only supply and demand.

I know what you're saying but I know one developer (who shall remain nameless) whose sales stats were stark.

The day the product was 'cracked' and put on one of the pirate sites, sales immediately tanked by over 50%.

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Simon Kelsey

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These skyrocketing prices and significant barriers to entry on the P3D side are, obviously, the main reason why XP11 is rapidly gaining market-share. I think that, not too long from now, P3D will be mostly be used by PMDG/airliners afficionados. Most of the newcomers will start with XP11 and this will have/is having a significant impact on the market as a whole.

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1 minute ago, skelsey said:

I know what you're saying but I know one developer (who shall remain nameless) whose sales stats were stark. The day the product was 'cracked' and put on one of the pirate sites, sales immediately tanked by over 50%.

I'd love to know who that was, and how much of a cut 50% was.

Reason being that as your price goes up, your number of legitimate sales is going to go down (economics 101). All piracy will do is cause a "moral loss" where people are getting something undeserved - you likely weren't going to make that sale anyways. At price points low enough, people will pay a small amount to get support and other features that come from legitimate purchases.

By and large, people who can afford to pay, do.

Cheers!


Luke Kolin

I make simFDR, the most advanced flight data recorder for FSX, Prepar3D and X-Plane.

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42 minutes ago, Luke said:

I'd love to know who that was, and how much of a cut 50% was.

Reason being that as your price goes up, your number of legitimate sales is going to go down (economics 101). All piracy will do is cause a "moral loss" where people are getting something undeserved - you likely weren't going to make that sale anyways. At price points low enough, people will pay a small amount to get support and other features that come from legitimate purchases.

By and large, people who can afford to pay, do.

Cheers!

I've had "cracks" posted of my freeware programs, as many such cracks are loaded with malware or viruses or both.  Sleazy operators, those who write cracks, and those who use them should beware that they are made to "punish" pirates.  Raising prices, you are quite right, vendors punish themselves forgetting that this is an entertainment market with many young members on low budgets, or many older ones like me on budgets.  As a product ages and years go by, common sense suggests lowering the price to increase sales and interest, but so many vendors are not professional retailers and do not understand retail economics.  My own career started in retail, then hotel marketing, then selling my man hours as an instructor, and finally working as a developer.  I tried to keep in mind my value and give my clients what they paid for, or I urged the companies I worked for to price their product and software support wisely, which most did.  Those that did not heed my advice I left because I knew they would either go under or have to lay off management, which I was, and the staff that worked for me.  I always kept in close touch with my staff when I left companies in those circumstances, we helped each other find work elsewhere immediately and sometimes I would go to work for former staff, quite happily--does not matter who is boss as long as their is a worthwhile paycheck.

Vendors in our hobby have it tough no doubt.  Computer Aided Design, just a visual aircraft model, can take hundreds of man hours in a market where every rivet is counted, and every gauge is expected to work, and every button expected to have a purpose.  It took me a week just to write four xml gauges and get the bitmaps I wanted for them, Rotax and ultralight gauges which were non existent.  On my trike, a fellow aircraft maker lent me his great and perfect set of Rotax 2-stroke sounds.  Another vendor, a commercial one, lent me their pilot since mine was a freeware project.  On Landclass Assistant, commercial vendors helped me, such as Pete Dawson with FSUIPC though I switched to someone else later on.  Even though the program works without connectivity to MSFS it worked better with it.  Dave Eckert lent me his Eclipse source when I made an Eclipse for FS2009, which I improved and added a virtual cockpit.  But many commercial vendors are on their own and have no one to collaborate with which drives up their cost.  We should not forget that most sim vendors have day jobs and work on sim projects after hours.  Their projects supplement their income, they do not always feed their families.  What would I pay for an add-on?  Anything as long as the vendor is not using me to subsidize their bug fixing with an incomplete project.  I prefer projects free of Sev 0 and Sev 1 bugs, I do not quibble over Sev 2 and bugs lower on the scale.  Showstopper bugs stop me from buying a product or recommending one if I get caught buying a product with them.

John

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1 hour ago, skelsey said:

The day the product was 'cracked' and put on one of the pirate sites, sales immediately tanked by over 50%.

^^^ This! That is where the loss for the developer potentially comes into play.


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1 hour ago, Luke said:

I'd love to know who that was, and how much of a cut 50% was.

Reason being that as your price goes up, your number of legitimate sales is going to go down (economics 101). All piracy will do is cause a "moral loss" where people are getting something undeserved - you likely weren't going to make that sale anyways. At price points low enough, people will pay a small amount to get support and other features that come from legitimate purchases.

By and large, people who can afford to pay, do.

Cheers!

I can't say who, but I understand it was very much a statistically (and financially!) significant cut.

Before I started speaking to developers about the measurable impact I would have agreed with your assessment that 'those who can afford to pay do' -- however I am now somewhat more cynical about the general populace, which is a rather depressing state of affairs but the numbers are the numbers... either the market for those who had the cash was suddenly exhausted, or there are rather more unscrupulous people out there than all of us would like to think 😞


Simon Kelsey

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6 hours ago, Jim Young said:

To throw my thoughts in the hat I think the P3D sim is very expensive at $199.  It is based off of FSX and Microsoft updated their FS products about once every 2 years and charged less than $75.  It is only the basic engine for which the other addons use.  What makes it so special they have to charge $199?  I realize that academics can purchase it for about $50 but that sounds like a fair price for everyone.  X-Plane is not that expensive and FSX Steam Edition is ridiculously low too.  I would like to see LM reduce the price to no higher than $80 for everyone which I think is very fair and would bring in many more buyers as it would be more competitive in the markets.  I do not know how they calculated the pricing but the $199 is obscene. 

They also charge a large sum of money for developers.  As everyone knows, developers and corporations do not lose money.  You raise their taxes, they will increase the price of the product they are selling.  You raise the price of development to a particular sim, the developer will raise his/her price so profits will not be lost.  So, if LM brought down the price for consumers and developers, everything would be a little cheaper.

I do believe those talented individuals who have the capability of developing creative products should be paid for their efforts but pricing has gotten a bit out of hand IMHO.

I guess I find myself on the opposite side of the spectrum here.

First, I can't grouse too much about $199 for the core software that makes it all possible when I routinely spend an average of at least $1000 a year on the hardware upgrades needed to run it well on the high-performance end of the curve.  I guess when the day comes P3D will run acceptably on a $400 Dell Back-to-School special, then $199 will then be reasonably considered to be wholly out of proportion to the other costs of the hobby.  The complaining about P3D's pricing sort of reminds me of a guy I knew who groused about paying a $100 golf course green fee even while he proudly kept a $2500 set of clubs in the trunk of his $97,000 Audi A8.

Many folks, I think, don't really grasp the costs of producing, testing, and supporting the software.  How many copies have to be sold to keep even a handful of $90,000/yr+ software engineers working at LM?  Keeping in mind that the licensing agreement for ESP doesn't lend P3D to a large mass market like the gaming and entertainment side does, it follows that pricing is going to be higher at those lower sales volumes than it was during the era of gaming titles like FSX and XPlane that are marketed on a high-volume gaming platform like Steam.  And from LM's perspective, it may actually be desirable and an intentional element of their pricing decisions to eliminate the support burden that thousands of casual gamers would likely bring to the mix if P3D were mass-marketed at game prices to teenagers looking for something to do between marathon sessions of Battlefield V.

The cost of a two-copy developer license for P3D is just $10/month.  The really big costs if you want to develop commercially are for labor and also for third-party tools...try pricing an annual subscription to the 3DS Max modelling software, for example.  $10/month doesn't even rise to noise-level in comparison to payroll for even just a couple of capable software engineers, 3D modellers, computer graphics artists, etc.

If it were all about money and nothing else, XPlane, at $80, would have already sent P3D the way of MS Flight and FSW.  The fact that the P3D user base is still flourishing says clearly that there's something more than just price behind the value we place on a simming platform.

Regards

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