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Navigraph 2020 Survey Results out

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2 hours ago, mpo910 said:

Add me too to this.

And honestly.......new techniques/"fresh code" may be important for more performance. But also this has it´s limits.

MSFS is/was extreme pretty looking especially with EVERY building shown AND rendered.

At the cost of some other "part" performance had to increase for mainstream users....and THAT "part" is probably the visual one (reducing LOD, reducing sharpness, reducing dynamic lights (as EVERY light in MSFS is a Dynamic one).

Now we got better performance and have less stunning looking sim. This may not be that noticeable from nearby/low level flying. But from bigger/higher distances it is awful "blurry" at ground level.

My big question is, will they really shift attention to "us tubeliners" or will they keep their attention to the mainstream casual pilots who like to take a snapshot from their house, work, beach, hotel, mountain....etc.

I am really not so sure how this will be round about summer when DX12 (AKA XBOX 😉 ) is there.

I think this is an open end for now.

BUT: P3D will deliver, that is for sure. They are already on track to enhance the "visuals" and we have already tubeliners (AKA complex Aircrafts).

And on top: In VR I´ve got better performance AND more stability compared to MSFS without VR at some spots.

SO my 2021 route is still P3D.

Marcus

+1 for 2021 😉


Shom

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Simbol,

I respect your opinion, but it's hard for me to square your optimism about future P3D addon development with the data in this survey and elsewhere.

Rather than go point by point, maybe it's enough if I just present the same chart of "how often do you fly simulator X" from the 2019 survey:

4403382ec116f5db2c58194a0936667bc0c7f0a8

How many addon developers are going to look at the trendline for P3D between 2019 and 2020 -- namely, "most of the time" use for all versions of P3D went from more than 40% (higher than X-Plane, and the highest of any sim) to about 23%, the lowest figure of any of the "big three" sims -- and devote resources to new P3D projects?

I don't doubt for a minute that there are some, and you're obviously one of them. But it seems clear to me that developers whose products can currently be developed for MSFS have already overwhelmingly taken their business in that direction.

I will add one other point: the lower prices in the MSFS marketplace for addons compared to the P3D ecosystem does not reflect that "sales must not be going very well." Rather the opposite. Greater volume of sales means you can turn a profit at a lower price point.

James

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10 minutes ago, honanhal said:

I will add one other point: the lower prices in the MSFS marketplace for addons compared to the P3D ecosystem does not reflect that "sales must not be going very well." Rather the opposite. Greater volume of sales means you can turn a profit at a lower price point.

Is not how it works in this niche market.. trust me on that... 

Re-read my post, re-read the chart.. it is telling you different data.. it is how often people use their sim.. not how much people are using that sim.

Developers don't use fully these surveys, they use their "own" data to take decisions.. I work in partnership with many devs.. don't forget that.. and I will also do add-on's for MSFS.. I am not reminding static.. just waiting for the blasted SDK to be done one day.. neither I am abandoning P3D.

A good example is to follow what ORBX does.. pay attention how they are serving all markets.. nothing has stopped on their side..

S.

 

Edited by simbol
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9 minutes ago, simbol said:

Re-read my post, re-read the chart.. it is telling you different data.. it is how often people use their sim.. not how much people are using that sim.

Point taken. Makes sense that MSFS brought a number of new people to the hobby, although did it really bring that many new people to the Navigraph survey? (Just checked; from 17,800 to 23,500 respondents, a 30% increase, so I guess yes!) In that case, though, another implication is that X-Plane actually significantly increased its user base responding to this survey between 2019 and 2020, unlike P3D.

9 minutes ago, simbol said:

Is not how it works in this niche market.. trust me on that... 

Ok, so tell me -- how exactly does it work? Are you saying that demand for flightsim addons is price inelastic? Or that they are all Veblen goods?

James

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1 hour ago, honanhal said:

Ok, so tell me -- how exactly does it work? Are you saying that demand for flightsim addons is price inelastic? Or that they are all Veblen goods?

A very successful add-on is the one that can reach 4,000+ copies in less than a year, that would be a super popular airport, utility, etc. However on average add-on's would sale around 2,000 copies in their lifetime if they are lucky..

So you want to always sell at the highest price point since the beginning in order to get the maximum revenue while the product is new, this is very important because with time the product will de-valuate due to many factors, and once a product is de-valuated you cannot go about to increase any price.. in addition this niche market always de-value software with time, each year people expect add-on's to be sold cheaper and cheaper or at least keep the same price forever (no increase) despite of inflation rates, etc. driving living cost and operational cost up for you.

So while your developing tools and distributing fees will always increase costs each year, you still need to sell your product for less amount and continue to provide support for FREE for many years during the product lifetime.

Now remember with each sale, you need to pay a fee for transaction + a share percentage to the distributor, the MS market place sits at 30% with a pay delay for 2 months. Do you think it is logical to reduce your price to $5 USD if you are selling lots of copies? specially when 30% of that will be keep by Microsoft and paid to you 2 months later? :wink:

Do the maths.. 5$ USD - 30% commission = $3.5 USD left for you.. and from that $3.5 you need to pay corporate tax, license handling fees, give support, etc. 200 copies in a month at that price point is just  $700 USD, even with very wishful thinking, if you sell 500 copies in a month at that price point you would receive only $1750 USD. That is 21,000 a year working all day, nights, weekends, festive days, etc. since people is always contacting you for one reason or another.. and bear in mind it takes sometimes years to complete an add-on.

so when you reach the average 4,000 copies at the price point of 3.5 USD, it would mean after paying fees you would have $14,000 USD paid to you with a 2 months lag.. then you need to pay corporate tax out of it, your developing tools, etc.. such figures would not cover any developing costs.. You would do more money working at MacDonald... it is clearly a tactic to move the product and get at least some money out of it.

Is not surprising to find out the same airport cost more for P3D / XP than for MS2020, price vs market demand / consumer needs is driving the prices..

S.

 

Edited by simbol

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Simbol,

Your numbers about how many copies an addon can expect to sell are based on rule-of-thumb guides to how the P3D (or "mature FSX") addon market historically behaved. Why are those probably not a good guide for a developer entering the MSFS market?

1) The number of MSFS users is multiple orders of magnitude larger than what P3D or FSX saw in the last 10 years = market is no longer confined to a "niche" (unless you price your product into that niche).
2) The demographics of the MSFS market are different. Younger, more likely to play other games, less self-proclaimed "hardcore" = less willing and able to spend large amounts of money on addons (NB that this does NOT mean they are not potential buyers, just that they are highly price sensitive).

You repeatedly mention a "niche market." If you're aiming to reach a "niche market" in selling your addon for MSFS, you're doing it wrong. For the reasons above, you're looking at a much larger market that is also much more price sensitive than the P3D one. 4,000 sales in a year is no longer the limit, but the old pricing strategies won't work. Or I suppose they will, but you'll be chasing the 50% or so of the "Avsim market" that have switched to MSFS, instead of a new market that is massively larger.

You're right that you don't make much selling 500 copies a month at $5. What if you're selling a lot more than that? The freeware Gatwick on flightsim.to has been downloaded nearly 30,000 times in the last two months. You don't think some percentage of the people who downloaded that would be willing to spend $5 for a payware Gatwick?

What I still don't understand, though, is that in your post you consider nearly every factor in how to set the price except how price affects demand. That's bonkers! You really don't think more people are willing to buy a flightsim addon at a lower price than a higher one?

James

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James.  I'm following your logic about MSFS no longer just applying to niche flight simmers.  But I wonder two things. 

1. Are these "new to market" gamer types actually going to buy addons in the first place?  

2. Are we over-stating the fact that we think MSFS has made the market that much bigger?  I don't know but I'm pessimistic.  In the beginning MSFS was on all the blogs, streamer sites etc.  But it's not anymore.  In fact I would say it hardly has any buzz anymore.  The giant user numbers we saw included gamer pass members.  It would seem very likely to me many of these users installed the sim, used it a few times and then moved on.  You see where I'm going?  Gamers like to move on to the next thing.  Perhaps they stay loyal to some core titles.  So my theory is the market may not be as big as we thought it was going to be.  

I'll say that when MSFS is released for xbox there will be a new wave.  But I think the purchase/user behavior will follow point 2 above once again.  Just my thoughts.  But I don't think the "new" flight sim market is as big as some suggest.  Not even close.  But this is all my opinion

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1 hour ago, micstatic said:

1. Are these "new to market" gamer types actually going to buy addons in the first place?  

2. Are we over-stating the fact that we think MSFS has made the market that much bigger?  I don't know but I'm pessimistic.  In the beginning MSFS was on all the blogs, streamer sites etc.  But it's not anymore.  In fact I would say it hardly has any buzz anymore.  The giant user numbers we saw included gamer pass members.  It would seem very likely to me many of these users installed the sim, used it a few times and then moved on.  You see where I'm going?  Gamers like to move on to the next thing.  Perhaps they stay loyal to some core titles.  So my theory is the market may not be as big as we thought it was going to be.  

These are very good questions.

1. Yes, I think they will (gamers are a very lucrative market for microtransactions, for instance). But as I said above, price is key. The psychology of a lot of new simmers might be fine with spending $2 or $3 several times a week but be inclined to laugh the idea of a $60 addon airplane out of the room.

2. Hard to know for sure from where I'm sitting, but even if only a small fraction of that initial "wave" stays, it would be a much bigger market than we've had for the past 15 years.

My two cents, anyway.

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@honanhal

My freeware was downloaded 35,000 times, today my payware sale copies don't reach 10 percent of that (yet), this after 1.5 years.

Freeware downloads are not equal to numbers of sales. Normally you can divide that figure by 10 at it gives you the potential market you can target.

And you just confirmed what I also explained, MSFS has a very strong freeware airport selection with very good quality, therefore the competition is harder, why buy an scenery when default is good enough or a freeware is good enough? This is driving prices lower as you can see.

The customer base in MSFS wants something else, I bet the day PMDG or FSlabs push their products to this platform, they will beat all records sales in their entire history.. 

People think we all developers sell addons in huge numbers, we don't.. Only very few addons go under such categories (PMDG, FSlabs, GSX, Orbx global regions, etc., check their prices, have them drop? Let me know when PMDG or Orbx global regions are 60 to 70 percent lower).

We create multiple addons for a reason.. We cannot live from a single release, and most 3rd party developers including myself have also a full time job..

Once again, I have published many different addons, I work behind the scenes as well with many different developers, different addons and platforms..

My objective is to bring awareness as always, I am very passionate about our community. You guys will have plenty of addons for P3D for years to come, the market is not exclusive to MSFS yet.. In the meantime, XP users increased.. Hmm and P3D also continue being developed.

The future is still shaping wink..

S.

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53 minutes ago, simbol said:

My freeware was downloaded 35,000 times, today my payware sale copies don't reach 10 percent of that (yet), this after 1.5 years

But that's because of a malady known as "freeware addiction". The addict sees a piece of freeware and downloads it just because it is free. Often the specific add-on is quickly forgotten.

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26 minutes ago, jabloomf1230 said:

But that's because of a malady known as "freeware addiction". The addict sees a piece of freeware and downloads it just because it is free. Often the specific add-on is quickly forgotten.

Exactly, you can't use freeware downloads figures as a mean to fully measure the market size.

In my experience 5 to 10 percent the number of freeware downloads becomes a purchase of a payware. 

S.

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1 hour ago, honanhal said:

...price is key. The psychology of a lot of new simmers might be fine with spending $2 or $3 several times a week but be inclined to laugh the idea of a $60 addon airplane out of the room.

Agree.
Most, but *not all*, developers appear to take a 'full cost-plus pricing' approach (inward looking), rather persuing a 'competitive pricing' or 'value-based' pricing strategy (outward looking).

You say $60, but PMDG have suggested that the 737 NG3 will be priced at ~$149. This thinking prices out all bar the hardcore flight simmer, while a $3 add-on is many, many multiples more likely to be purchased by hardcore and casual gamer alike.

Of course, just because 1 million people have used MSFS, doesn't mean even half of those people will buy even a single add-on.

 

4 hours ago, simbol said:

A very successful add-on is the one that can reach 4,000+ copies in less than a year, that would be a super popular airport, utility, etc. However on average add-on's would sale around 2,000 copies in their lifetime if they are lucky..

Take a look at Euro Truck Simulator 2. It's not a Triple-A gaming title, but is a comparable software title (also in the simulation genre) and is apparently very popular on Steam - according to Steamdb.info.
ETS2
Train Sim World 2

MSFS

I think they have the add-on pricing spot on, especially when compared to train sim or flight sim titles.

DLC is usually just a few £, whereas expansion packs are either half or the same price as the original game, but there is a lot of new content in the packs.
Dovetail's Train Sim stuff falls down (IMO) as every train DLC is priced at half the cost of the original game and every expansion is the same price as the original game.


Finding the correct price point for MSFS add-ons to drive hundreds of thousands of purchases, rather than just hundreds, is going to be incredibly difficult. Yet, I think a developer that reacts to this new potential market size, and is willing to think differently and be bold with their pricing, could do extremely well.
 

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Which people did they choose to answer this survey?

I believe only Lockheed, Laminar and Microsoft can do such a survey, asking all their customers to take part.

Navigraph is not the one to do a trustable survey, I believe.

Karl


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16 hours ago, honanhal said:

Read in that light, it really is somewhat astounding that this survey shows just how much of the hardcore market MSFS already holds. You'd get a very different picture browsing these forums.

Probably because of the timing of that survey.  People (myself included) were still riding the MSFS wave when I took the survey.   Now...it would be answered a bit differently. 


Rhett

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1 hour ago, kaha said:

Navigraph is not the one to do a trustable survey, I believe.

How is that when they don't sell any sim which makes them independent and more suitable to conduct such a survey?  

Any of the ones you would suggest could bias their surveys and findings to suit business interest. You think they would be more fair? 

Edited by BobFS88

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