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chatman

How long will we really see dev support?

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LM has been supporting P3D for many years now, even though it is likely a money loser as it’s own division. Reason? It helps them market their hardware (the jets) and the training for that for which they can charge high fees. The same will be the case for MS with hardware (XBox), Game Pass, and (most importantly) Azure. 

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5 minutes ago, MarkSC said:

LM has been supporting P3D for many years now, even though it is likely a money loser as it’s own division. Reason? It helps them market their hardware (the jets) and the training for that for which they can charge high fees. The same will be the case for MS with hardware (XBox), Game Pass, and (most importantly) Azure. 

In the LM case its win win situation for them they will keep support . we where paying and I say we cause yes I was paying for all their updates and even after the current State of P3D is not perfect yet . Back to the main subject , they continue to do what they do because we basically pay to beta test a platform that later they turn around and sell to the other side with much more $$$$$ for training so they will continue the support and lets pray that MS thats now showing their new toy doesn’t call LM cut them off by telling them to actually stick to the rules when it comes to distribution of the software. 


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1 hour ago, MarkSC said:

LM has been supporting P3D for many years now, even though it is likely a money loser as it’s own division. Reason? It helps them market their hardware (the jets) and the training for that for which they can charge high fees. The same will be the case for MS with hardware (XBox), Game Pass, and (most importantly) Azure. 

Eh....its not really like that though.  LM has a robust training program for a variety of purposes and the government contracts that out to them for a lot of things.  On top of that they also do a variety of software simulator programs for the government.  Its less about "Oh if you play with P3D you will buy a fighter jet" because they were going to buy it or not anyways its more about "As part of our contract proposal we will provide you XX simulators for training with the latest hardware and software that can simulate X Y and Z" the use outside of the giant multi-billion sales contracts is just free development and testing and lets them point to their "good will" costs "Normally our licensing fees are X but we sell to educational markets for at 90% discount rates" or whatever.

No real reason for my post lol more just find it interesting how their business works.  We have a few contracts with them and I am endlessly amused how wildly their software quality varies division to division.  I am sure its entire development is written off as part of their cost for them.

Edited by pjs37

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Well, in fairness to Microsoft, the preceding 'version' of Flight Simulator, if you want to look at it like that, was updated on average once every two years, over a period of 24 years. Then took a break (admittedly a long one), but came back yet again this year. So from a purely historical standpoint, Microsoft have, since releasing their first version, never actually permanently abandoned it ever, merely occasionally putting a bit of a gap between progressively updated versions.

The reason? Same as it ever was. Latest versions of Flight Simulator were always the 'wow' technology demonstrator which appeared in Kiosk Mode in computer shop windows and on shelves in big computer stores. MSFS 2020 is no different in that regard and like preceding versions, it'll be one of the flagship technology pushing applications which helps to sell other hardware and software which MS develops. Everything from operating systems to APIs and PC hardware. For example, just look at how hard it is to buy a joystick at the moment if you don't think that is true. And joysticks break, so this is not a one time opportunity for the people who make them.

It's a global moneyspinner before MS even look at what else they can do with their photorealistic model of the entire planet in other applications. There's no way they're gonna ditch it; not because they want to do us a favour, we merely benefit from it, but the end result is the same.

Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

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The Microsoft Flight Sim Kiosk was always the show stopper at the annual Oskosh Air Show.

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8 hours ago, chatman said:

Mhm....for free? I can't imagine that MS would do that. I mean programmers are not for free and I would think that the target community for the game.. I mean sim, is rather small compared to other genres. And of those targeted, most will buy the game at release or short after so probably not to many revenues for MS in the coming years... 

So while Asobo programmers might be enthusiastic and willing to develop the product for the coming years it will finally be an economic decision by MS how long they provide support

Free?  Microsoft are probably taking a 30% cut off of Marketplace sales, and also have plans to sell DLC add-ons of their own.

Sea of Thieves is a Microsoft game that came out in March 2018, and is still getting regular substantial monthly content updates 30 months later, and being worked on by around 100 people.

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9 hours ago, Elvensmith said:

Well speaking from the train sim viewpoint, MS was not that reliable. I remember being invited along to the 2001 Fanstock in Seattle and given the spiel about how they were committed to the product. Instead, we got a game with some glaring bugs (though probably more complete than FS20) and a scratched together route editor which we were actually able to do more with than the pundits thought we could. MS gave us one paltry patch which fixed beggar all of what was wrong and promised two sequels, both of which were cancelled.

It took the community a great many years to put together a spin off product (Open Rails) which actually does what MSTS should have done (and more) and an independently coded route builder - both freeware.

At the moment we're seeing a lot of PR speak and promises, a scenery update that was probably just left over from the release deadline but nothing substantial about getting under the hood and reworking the current bugs and weak elements.

And I suspect the title will succeed or fail on how well it does on the Xbox market, as much as the PC platform.

And there was also FSX which they said they wouldn't remake or continue developement but I guess they changed their mind and created this. 

Edited by Isaiah53six

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They will gradually reduce the size of the team that develops/supports/maintains MSFS probably after 1 or 2 years.  There is no way they keep all 200 employees working full time on this game after a few years.  I suspect after 5 years, the full time team working on MSFS will be under 30 people or so, with continual further reductions (maybe with part time help from other employees).

According to the road map, we are getting 2 patches per month for the next few months. But don’t expect that to last forever. I can see it even becoming 1 patch per month and then maybe a patch every several months, in line with the manpower reduction for this game.

This way, they can still be making changes and supporting the game over a 10 year period.

But since MSFS is a commercial success already, the gradual staff reduction for this game may mean those staff will also be gradually shifted at some point towards the development of a future version of MSFS.  So I think the future will be bright for us flight simmers.

 


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10 hours ago, chatman said:

Personally I don't expect support for more than 6 to 12 months

 

Support for MSFS will be more than 6 months because of the upcoming XBox release.  The bugs they are fixing now for us will also apply to the XBox version.  If you look at it from a certain perspective, we are the beta testing team for XBox players.


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11 hours ago, Christopher Low said:

What happens if funding for further development is terminated? Do Microsoft say "bye, bye, chaps, it was nice knowing you", and disconnect the servers?

 

TBH, in that situation the likely scenario is they can the free servers and only make online access available to people with an Xbox game pass, whether they bought the game originally or not.

Actually long term that may happen anyway even if the game is a success , it is Microsoft after all 😄

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I think a better question would be,

"will the World as we know it allow development of FS to continue, will the internet still be functioning in two years, will people still be working for a living in two years?"

In 2020, these are more viable questions!

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Hopefully long enough for the PMDG's of the world to bring their products on-line.


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Most games have a shorter sales cycle than compared to a flight sim, so flight sims have sales on a longer term basis. I'm sure MS realizes this too, and since they are monetizing on their cuts from the addon market, that will help the long term sustainability, as least potentially, as far as how they can financially keep a few more devs on than most other games.

We've never had a Flight Sim before with near unlimited photo-scenery, sure it's not all 60cm or greater quality, but with the texture overlays working, the visuals are pretty darn good. It's compressed to about 80cm to 1m, but the custom textures give it a big advantage on making the photoscenery look good at low elevations, something we never had before.


I do not think comparing it to the old Flight Sims will account for how many gamers get into this, which is likely to be substantial.

Edited by SceneryFX
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If I may be completely cynical, I'd say "it depends"...specifically, how Microsoft is doing and who's in charge.  It's pretty much known that the original MFS was kept going for decades because Bill Gates was a big backer.  When he stepped down and Steve Ballmer took over, the ACES team was disbanded, along with a lot of other people developing games for Windows, as he decided that Microsoft should direct all its game focus to XBox.  It's no surprise that MFS, along with other non-console game development went into suspended animation while he was there.  After he retired, new management came in that was obviously more amenable to resurrecting flight simulation.  All's well and good now, and I'm sure the revenue they've seen so far from FS2020 has them feeling good about their decision to restart the project, but there's always the possibility that the leadership may change in the future (particularly if its caused by a decline in corporate profits, possibly utterly unconnected to their involvement in game development), and someone may be heading the company who "doesn't see any point in a company like Microsoft doing flight sims" (although, hopefully, it doing well on XBox may make it less likely).  But the fact is that projects like these are at the mercy of whoever is sitting in the CEO's chair and, should that change, any previous plans might go straight out the window.

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James David Walley

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I do not particularly mind if MS stopped development AFTER a robust SDK has been released or even if the SDK just gets continued improvement.   However, I'm not sure there is any reason for concern at this stage.

Edited by ErichB

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