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mazex

Thoughts regarding third party pricing...

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Posted (edited)

There definitely is a small enthusiast market right now where there are enough customers willing to pay 50-150 USD for aircraft both in P3D/FSX/XP and DCS to cover the costs of producing them. The buyers are people like us here in this forum. I guess the median customer here is 47 years old and works as an engineer. Maybe has a PPL and to some extent regret that we did not go for a professional pilot career when we were young. But we didn't and it's too late now 🙂 And to be honest it's nice to be home the same time every day... But the median customer does not have financial problems and our main problem is actually to hide our software and hardware purchases from our wives/husbands/partners that would get very upset hearing that we spend hundreds of dollars a year on this hobby.

But anyone that has the most basic understanding of the economics of supply and demand know that if the potential customer base is ten times larger a lower price of 30-40 USD might very well bring more revenue to a company selling an advanced model of a 737 than 100+ USD. What happens otherwise is that someone else understands the market potential and does it. And if you sell it at 100+ now, it will be very hard to go down to 39 USD in a couple of months without getting loyal customers annoyed.

There is no doubt that we will continue to think that 70 USD is actually a fair price for a simulated aircraft. But the newcomers that will pour in now will not. And unfortunately, I think that in 6 months when the hype is over, we will be left with hopefully a customer base of MSFS that is twice as big as the community today. 

If I was responsible for the pricing strategy of one of the companies producing addon material for MSFS I would for sure consider the strategy that ORBX seems to go with. Reap the hype rider revenues now in the upcoming 6 months and rest confident that there will be a bigger customer base for a LONG time that will buy addons / DLC for 30-40 USD. But that's really the defacto high limit outside the niche enthusiast markets. And we hope to move away from that to some extent - don't we?

 

Edited by mazex
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I think Orbx's strategy is in part based on the idea that, unlike previous versions, the default scenery is apparently not going to suck and therefore convincing someone to replace it will require either lower prices or *vastly* improved quality over stock.

I suspect the aircraft addons aren't going to face that kind of hurdle. We already know the defaults aren't going to be in the same league as the elite 3pd's. And all a 3pd has to do is make a plane that isn't in the base sim that people want to fly and they can charge a lot more than 8 bucks.

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The problem is that newcomers became harden simmers over the years and demanded ultra detail addons, aircraft and scenery and now spend $100 on a aircraft there choice.

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I’m new to flight sims and was shocked to learn that people will pay $130 for a plane. But then, I suppose these are the same buyers that spend $1000 on a yoke. I think the flight sim enthusiast economy is really screwed-up. 

Hopefully this new sim resets this with an addressable market that is now likely to be several orders of magnitude bigger, especially when the game launches on Xbox. 

But from the developer perspective, the marketing guy in me says that if sim enthusiasts have been paying $130 for aircraft, then any developer would be wisest to initially offer it in MSFS 2020 at the same price point. Then after all the enthusiasts have picked it up, have a “Holiday Sale” where it drops down to something that will appeal to a much broader audience.  And maybe offer a “Lite” version (if that makes sense) at an even lower price point. 


Ultimately, I think prices for add-ons need to fall into the same model as apps on the Apple or Google app store, where a good app is $5-$10. Then I think you open up your market to millions of potential players.  I think if developers stick to current pricing models beyond the first few months, they’re not thinking big picture.   

 

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16 minutes ago, Virtual-Chris said:

But then, I suppose these are the same buyers that spend $1000 on a yoke.

I've spent more on a plane than my current flight stick setup costs.

 

17 minutes ago, Virtual-Chris said:

Ultimately, I think prices for add-ons need to fall into the same model as apps on the Apple or Google app store, where a good app is $5-$10.

Yeah, sorry, no. That's not going to happen. Even the low-tier developers are putting more effort into making an addon airplane than the guys who made Angry Birds. They're simulating flight here, not making casual games.

As for big picture, the big picture is that the last time a significant *user experience* update happened with this sim was FSX, 14 years ago. And people today are still plunking down $100 for add-on airplanes.  If you think there isn't gonna be a market for the expensive stuff in this new one, you might wanna revisit those marketing fundamentals. 😉

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/14/2020 at 12:00 PM, Virtual-Chris said:

I’m new to flight sims and was shocked to learn that people will pay $130 for a plane. But then, I suppose these are the same buyers that spend $1000 on a yoke. I think the flight sim enthusiast economy is really screwed-up. 

All I am going to say is if they lower the pricing to $5-10 as you suggest then they would just stop making addons.

The thing with PMDG,FSLABS, Aerosoft and others these aren’t just a model slapped into a sim with basic gps etc. they are modeled with as much detail as the actual aircraft is. The time and money invested into their projects would bankrupt them at $5 a pop. There is no way you will get a quality plane for that price. 
 

They don’t do “lite” versions but cause that’s not the market they are targeted at. They know their market and what people are willing to pay and also for them to cover costs.

when TDFI talked about the development and the all of the stuff they had to do just for the 717 it was crazy and it wasn’t cheap either.

Welcome to the sim world, I’m sure people will make “freeware” models etc and have basic functions that might not even cost you anything but I would not get your hopes up or ever expect these big companies to put out addons for that pricing. It just doesn’t make sense.

Edited by n4gix
Removed unnecessary long quote!
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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Virtual-Chris said:

I’m new to flight sims and was shocked to learn that people will pay $130 for a plane

Much of that is because when we all started out years ago, it wasn't even the full-on internet, it was bulletin boards and people posting mods, then it went to loads of freeware, with the odd add-on for ten quid (often compilations of aeroplanes), then gradually better realism, including basic FMCs and EFIS (anyone remember EFIS 98?), so twenty quid per plane, and before long you had PMDG making a 737 NG for FS2004 which was somewhere around fifty quid on disk if I recall correctly, and Wilco made a Classic 737 which was another good one that everyone rated.

Next it was seventy quid, then just under 100, and what tipped it to the 130 mark was that nobody thought you could simulate an A320 realistically in FSX, (there were many abortive attempts by developers to do so) but FSL eventually managed it, and people were, if not happy, then at least understood that seven years of developmental effort deserved a reward commensurate with the effort involved. The moment they did that, PMDG went, well we'll charge that for our plane as well.

So it's been a gradual feed which has made that kind of price tag more acceptable in dribs and drabs. It's really not that long ago that add-on aeroplanes for FS98 were touting the fact that their model had a twelve-sided polygon tube for the fuselage as a major feature (yes really). Now people have a tantrum if the tray table in seat 57 isn't functional.

Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

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I think no one here seriously wants a PMDG or FSL aircraft for 5-10 bugs. Most of us were ok to pay the old prices. That's where we need to go. However, when it comes to scenery, yeah the new ORBX system seems attractive and fair.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/14/2020 at 12:00 PM, Virtual-Chris said:

I’m new to flight sims and was shocked to learn that people will pay $130 for a plane. But then, I suppose these are the same buyers that spend $1000 on a yoke. I think the flight sim enthusiast economy is really screwed-up. 

Well, most third party aircraft are not $130 , so don't be skewed by that figure.  

Edited by n4gix
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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, joec63 said:

Well, most third party aircraft are not $130 , so don't be skewed by that figure.  

The ones that are worth buying are $130.00+

To me Aerosoft/QW are worth what you pay for at $60-80USD while PMDG/FSLABS/Leonard are worth that $120+ price tag as well.

Depends on how much system depth and extra features you want etc.

Edited by Mroberts95

Mark Roberts 

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Mroberts95 said:

The ones that are worth buying are $130.00+

If you think that's true, then allow me to introduce the Majestic Dash 8 Q400. Best study airliner in FSX and P3D, 60 quid. Even has a budget version minus a few features that is 40 quid.

Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

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Speaking of, have we heard if Leonardo's gonna bring the Mad Dog to the new sim?

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1 minute ago, Mroberts95 said:

The ones that are worth buying are $130.00+

To me Aerosoft/QW are worth what you pay for.

Understood , but for a newcomer I can see where they would be put off at that price level. Hence my comment. 

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Just now, Chock said:

If you think that's true, than allow me to introduce the Majestic Dash 8 Q400. Best study airliner in FSX and P3D, 60 quid.

I would say the Majestic is up there as well. I dont own it and for some reason I though the Pro version was like 80-90eur.

I will never buy an aerosoft plane and the only reason I got the 787 was because I had a Flight1 gift card and there wasnt anything else that looked decent.


Mark Roberts 

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1 minute ago, joec63 said:

Understood , but for a newcomer I can see where they would be put off at that price level. Hence my comment. 

That is true. However flight sim is a hobby and not just a "game".

I posted on another post the other day saying what you pay for is what you get out of it.

If you only have a budget of $100, Dont go spend it on the pricy payware 747/A320/737 etc. You have to pick and chose.


Mark Roberts 

I9 10900k @ 5.2GHZ | 64GB DDR4 3200 Ram | EVGA 2080ti @ 2GHZ | ROG MAXIMUS XII FORMULA Z490 | 5x 1TB SSD   | Lian LI Dynamic XL ROG Case | Hotas Warthog Joystick and Throttle, Crosswind Rudder Pedals | Corsair Nightblade | K95 RGB|  | LG 28" 4k, Dell 34" AW3420DW Ultrawide| Windows 10 Pro | P3D V5.0 Professional HF1 | Custom Water Loop |

 

 

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