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Why Xbox Game Pass is Good for Flight Simulators

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https://venturebeat.com/2019/06/17/microsoft-flight-simulator-reveals-game-passs-potential/

Good read and interesting take on why game pass or a subscription will be good for flight sims.  A few quotes below but I suggest taking the 5 minutes to read his whole article.

"lFight Simulator has a significant and passionate fan base. At the same time, it’s also not going to appeal to the 9 million people buying Marvel’s Spider-Man in its first couple of months of release. It’s a hardcore re-creation for flight fans. Players are so passionate because the game-development market is broken and no one is serving them."

"The time and money that goes toward a mid-tier game with a small-but-dedicated audience is time and money that could go toward the next Call of Duty or League of Legends. That has pushed out games like Microsoft Flight Simulator. So why is it back now? Because of Game Pass."

“So maybe I don’t want to spend $60 on a game that has a beginning, middle, and end,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t get to that point. But maybe there’s a different business model. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but we’re going to try. Because we want all kinds of games to be successful. We don’t want to see the death of [certain kinds of] games.” - He is quoting Phil Spencer here.

"That’s why Flight Simulator makes sense again. As a standalone product, the game is a tough sale to that broader audience. Xbox Game Studios could try to change it to appeal to more people. Or it could try to add aggressive monetization to generate more revenue from a smaller audience. Or it could just stop making those games.

But on Game Pass, Flight Simulator isn’t trying to win your $60 away from something else. It’s additive to the experience of subscribing to the service. You didn’t buy Flight Simulator instead of Halo — you subscribed to Game Pass, so now you get Flight Simulator and Halo and Sea of Thieves and dozens of others."

"This completely flips the thinking when it comes to funding games. Instead of making a singular product that appeals to as many people as possible, Microsoft needs to release games to build a library that appeals to as many people as possible."

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Posted (edited)

Great link & post

The short summary is really that "they want to make FS again, and great and do it right, but the economics do not make sense on its own to invest what it would take".

Basically MSFS 2020 may not be a "thing" without a new way to approach the monetization here.  

Great stuff.  It's nice to see the creativity in play to get to something that's better for all.

Edited by irrics

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Posted (edited)

It's basically the same logic behind Netflix or Hulu. Not every show on those platforms is going to be top rated but all of them draw viewers on some level. By spreading the costs out, you are able to ensure all different genres are catered to, maximizing the customer base while not having to rely on individual projects always having to create top sales numbers. 

Sure, Netflix could just sell individual shows for $2.99, but they figured out that they make a lot more money pleasing everyone on the basis of a flat fee than trying to milk each individual production. 

Some people that use Netflix only use it for one genre. Others watch all kinds of different things. But the choice is there and it's profitable for the company. That's better than just having certain genres completely dropped because the smaller viewership can't justify it's existence as a standalone. 

Edited by bonchie
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I personally have no aversion to a subscription based system as long as it's reasonable. I want MS to make, a profit. If they don't then we might well see a repeat of Flight. 

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Rick

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Posted (edited)

I don*t think this quite as simple. In fact the Flight Simulator is not one game but a playground of many tiny projects. Compared to a single game our flight simulators are configured in a totally different way. We hzave a small number of users that put a huge amount of money in their systems. Everyone uses the game in a different way. So you get small projects that use a huge amount of money. You have A2A and PMDG or FSLabs. In fact these are several tiny markets in itself. But a subscription game means firat you have a fixed amount of money that is targeted at the games that compete with each other. They fight for the time of the users. If you look at the trailer: It looks exciting.. In 100 seconds you see a huge number of tiny differwent things. But in reality you fly for more than an hour and per second very little happens. That's the problem of a civil flight simulator,

For a casual gamer the normal game is not interesting. You can try to concentrate this with a lot of tiny missions But no one will write you your PMDG kind of planes.(It is much easier to add an additional graphics artist, than put a huge amount of money for a small group of 3 to 4 guys that concentrate their time for more than a year into a single plane).

Edited by Longranger
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Karsten Schubert

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56 minutes ago, Longranger said:

 

 But a subscription game means firat you have a fixed amount of money that is targeted at the games that compete with each other. They fight for the time of the users. If you look at the trailer: It looks exciting.. In 100 seconds you see a huge number of tiny differwent things. But in reality you fly for more than an hour and per second very little happens. That's the problem of a civil flight simulator. 

That makes no sense to me. A subscription makes no more demands on your cash than anything else. Who says flight simmers have a fixed budget for a sim or add ons? 

I'm not being argumentative I'm offering a more realistic vision. I've been doing this since Bruce Artwick  released his first sim and I've owned every version of Microsoft's sim since. 

So I'm looking forward to the new version subscription or not. 

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Rick

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, 188AHC said:

That makes no sense to me. A subscription makes no more demands on your cash than anything else. Who says flight simmers have a fixed budget for a sim or add ons?

That's a normal consequence of a subscription model.You have a small number of very interested people who put alll their time into the MSFS, but they each only bought a simple subscription. They would have been able and ready to put more money into their favorite project but no one will develop such a hypothetical high fidelity project. You need people who put more work into this project than they are paid for. This project would simply not put additional content into the simulator for a very long time. In normal books he would look like a underachiever. He simply cant't show any positive results for a very long time. This kills high performance simulations in a normal subscription model. Your bookkeepers will force you to release this underachiever. So you don't get very detailed planes and these players that would really care for such planes simply don't play this game so much and simply leave this simulator that doesn't give them what they want.

As Philipp said at the FSExpo he can put a huge number of special content into X-Plane under Bens Nose. Ben simply can say : Ok, I know this content is worth it for certain users.But he don't have to defend him against bookkeepers that only look at the numbers. That's a difficulty of major companies. They have a very good controlling. You can only protect such developers if you are the CEO or something like this. Bill Gates did this for the Railway Simulator and the Flight Simulator.But I don't see such a protection at this time.

Edited by Longranger

Karsten Schubert

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15 minutes ago, 188AHC said:

That makes no sense to me. A subscription makes no more demands on your cash than anything else. Who says flight simmers have a fixed budget for a sim or add ons? 

There is a precedent in MMORPG's like World of Warcraft that charge a $15  a month subscription, and periodically release an expansion for extra cost. And yes, many flight sim fans will pay for extras.

For anyone who likes the other games MS will include along with MSFS by subscription (if that's the model), the flight sim is essentially free. It's subsidized by your interest in other games. Then you pay as you go for individual addons you're interested in. Basically the DLC model for AAA games.

The larger problem with getting 3rd party devs on board (assuming that's in the cards at all), may be more of a chicken-or-egg problem, where the popularity of something like the major study-level aircraft models depend on an entire ecosystem of other established add-ons that have taken years to build out in the sim as separate elements. You're not going to spend for a PMDG model if there aren't any 3D airports in the places you like to fly.

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I think the subscription model works if you play a lot of different games and always want the latest. However, if you're not heavily into gaming and only want flight sim, then it's not as attractive.I'd certainly think twice if I was forced into subscribing to get it. Maybe we'll also get the option of a on-off payment and only get access to the sim.

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Subscription is still a guess. Nobody knows. I had an Xbox name and account with Flight. It allowed me to make in sim purchases. That's all it was used for. I think some are reading too much into this. 

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2 hours ago, 188AHC said:

Subscription is still a guess. Nobody knows. I had an Xbox name and account with Flight. It allowed me to make in sim purchases. That's all it was used for. I think some are reading too much into this.

I agree it's not about an MS Flight simulator sub.  Think of it like subscribing to HBO just for Game of Thrones if it was a never-ending series.  Some people would simply pay the sub and only watch Game of Thrones, however; many people say I like to watch movies and subscribe and GOT would be a great addition.  Many people simply see GOT and look at HBO and find another interest and subscribe.  On and on.  It's a great model for media and it's working in 2019.  Xbox is clearly making a leap to try something similar for video games.  Obviously, no one has a crystal ball but I don't think it's hard to see the logic and potential positives.  The future is $XX.XX a month gets you access to said world.  To further the analogy we want to be the "Mad Men" cult.  The show actually had rather pedestrian viewership.  It would never have survived on a big network, but it had it's cult following.  The nuances and mystic of the show made it oddly mainstream despite a lot of people never watching it, which in turn made it worthwhile because it brought exposure to the network so they invested in it.  Visuals are sexy and global scenery might be our John Hamm per se.  The idea of Mad Men was better than the actual show if you think about it in terms of those who actually watched it.  The idea of the global simulator has that potential and I think that's why the big tech companies have invested so much in simply creating a digital super globe.  The idea is just cool.  It seduces common people into feeling a wow factor and they get drawn to the brand.  If MS Flight Simulator has this effect it will only allow the cult who participate to flourish.  Many people don't take the time to digest the majority of famous media, but they know enough they want to participate in the larger umbrella and simply want a glimpse of the smaller subcultures.  That's in my opinion where we want to be to get an amazing flight sim!

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Posted (edited)

If it`s hosted on Cloud then I suspect a subscription will be needed, but will have the option to have 3,6,and 12 months pass to reduce cost instead of monthly. 

Microsoft are doing what others are doing or planning to do they no longer see the OS as a revenue stream that's why they have been giving W10 away FREE it`s the last OS there will be no W11, and the company's will be happy no more hanging on to the old OS due to upgrade cost. 

Edited by rjfry

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, rjfry said:

If it`s hosted on Cloud then I suspect a subscription will be needed, but will have the option to have 3,6,and 12 months pass to reduce cost instead of monthly. 

Microsoft are doing what others are doing or planning to do they no longer see the OS as a revenue stream that's why they have been giving W10 away FREE it`s the last OS there will be no W11, and the company's will be happy no more hanging on to the old OS due to upgrade cost. 

Big if here...

As I said a couple of times, Microsoft doesn't have any of their current games running from the cloud right now, their service isn't even released yet (XCloud) and, based on their principles/goals until now, I would bet they will let you choose how you want to use it (buy it in the store you want/subscribe to the game pass and play it). 

The only way I see you will HAVE to pay for a subscription to a Microsoft service is if the scenery will be really streamed from the cloud. Even so, they can just sell the licenses and provide the online services for "free". A lot of PC games have online servers maintained by the publishers so the players can have an online experience.

I would rather wait and see how they will approach the features than speculating so deeper in it.

Edited by ca_metal

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Posted (edited)

But - there isn't really an "IF" is there? Microsoft presented MSFS as part of their GamePass lineup, so the only way to get it is to subscribe to that service. At least that is what they told us. If you personally like the 99 other games or not is beside the point. If 9 million people subscribe to GamePass, that translates into $100 million for running the platform and content development. The interesting part is how that money will be shared and invested, what kind of metric will be used to fund each individual title. The obvious choice could be popularity, but it usually isn't as simple as that. 

As per Microsofts strategy statements, they want to open up the titles to your "friends", and that would also require GamePass ("friends" being other subscribers). That would include MSFS, so I imagine there will be a "one-click" multiplayer option. If that is done right, and includes radio comms, that could be interesting (alternative to VATSIM?). Just saying that we haven't even scratched the surface of what may be possible with a technology like GamePass or Steam.

Best regards

Edited by Lorby_SI

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, Lorby_SI said:

But - there isn't really an "IF" is there? Microsoft presented MSFS as part of their GamePass lineup, so the only way to get it is to subscribe to that service. At least that is what they told us. If you personally like the 99 other games or not is beside the point.

I think you don't know how the Game Pass works, nor Microsoft policies. All games available on the Game Pass library can be purchased in the old way, that means you don't need to subscribe to the Game Pass to have access to any of those games. The Game Pass is just another way to get access to the games, not the exclusive way. 

Besides that, Phil Spencer already said they are willing to distribute their games every way it's possible (other vendors/stores). They already have some titles available on Steam and others are already announced to be there in the future.

 

Edited by ca_metal
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