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PhilTaylor

PSS Press Release - January 16, 2008

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PSS Press Release - 16/1/2008In an attempt to halt the current speculation surrounding Phoenix Simulation Software, the closure of their website and the lack of response to support and emails, I would like to make public the following statements.PHOENIX SIMULATION SOFTWAREREGRET TO ANNOUNCEThat the Company and Website have ceased tradingPSS have experienced severe difficulties both of a personal and financial level that unfortunately at this time cannot be remedied. The financial difficulties are mainly caused by the individuals who preferred to use sites like *(DELETED)* instead of paying to support the growth and continuation of PSS and then clogging up our forums with technical support queries for products you don

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>Plain and simple, that individual is a supporter of piracy so>he should not go on explaining why he shouldn't have to pay>because he delete's unwanted software after a week, yeah>right, what a load of you know what! There again why bother admitting to using pirated software if the "delete after a week" isn't true?

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"So I ask, why can't we stop individuals like him and people that use sites to cheat all of us"Short answer: You can't.There will always be a certain percentage of people who will steal whatever they can get their hands on. Retailers even have a term for it: "shrinkage."Well-run companies accept this fact of life, plan for it, do what they can to deter it, but go into business understanding the concept and factoring the cost into their business plan.Best we can do here is support quality developers (and I am one ... and I do.) We all generally know which developers are delivering quality products and customer support. We also know which ones aren't.Shrinkage doesn't usually kill a company. It may ###### it, but poor management, shoddy products and crap customer service usually are the death by a thousand small cuts of any organization.

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"The financial difficulties are mainly caused by the individuals who preferred to use sites like *(DELETED)* instead of paying to support the growth and continuation of PSS and then clogging up our forums with technical support queries for products you don

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I completely agree with fsxmissionguy and Craig's sentiment.To add,There is already a good method of protecting against piracy. It's called the flight1 ecommerce system, which has been regularly updated. Not only that, but flight1 allows you to try a product for 30 days and if you don't like it, return it based on a courteous honor system. Obviously someone who buys a whole bunch of products and then returns them would be a little suspect.If developers choose not to behoove themselves of this technology because, for example, they don't want to give any royalties to flight1, then that is their decision. But given the world we live in, what do they expect if they have no alternative? (Some developers do, such as FSD, Cloud9/fsdreamteam. Although they are a little too invasive, in my opinion. I don't like my registry being messed with and I don't like modules I have to manually uninstall-- But scenery bgls are harder to protect, so I understand virtuali's approach.)Where flight1, uk2000 and cloud9/fsdreamteam have it right is that people should be able to try expensive software before they buy it. Lord knows I've wasted a lot of money on software in general, not just fs add ons. The reason is that reviews are not always very reliable. People forget to mention things, and we don't necessarily have hours to spend researching a product. The best immediate source of information I have found is not the avsim reviews, but the reader responses. The point is, as is the case with viruses and other malware, you have to fight technology with technology. Banding together will not help on its own. The way I see it, the payware developers as the true companies they have largely become should be able to handle this issue. It's their investment, so realistically speaking the responsibility is theirs to protect it. If we should band together against anything it's lousy developers, with bad support, who broke their word etc. In the meantime we can feel sorry for freeware developers who have had their distribution rights disrespected. That makes more sense to me.I am also of the opinion that the vast majority of stolen software would not have been bought otherwise. So I think building a customer base is ultimately more important than blaming lost sales, not that one shouldn't be sure and protect an investment, however.

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Alot of the newer software is getting harder and harder to crack. It's no secret, you can find nearly every addon out there right now for free, it's not hard nor do many people consider it illigal. That being said, I have resisted the temptation to download an addon for free, and instead purchase what I want to support the community.I DO think that some developers are a little greedy (if you're pricing your addon the same as the Level-D 767, and it's a piece of junk, that ####### me off...) I'm a real pilot, so maybe I'm spoiled in demanding the best from each addon I fork over for, but since I DID fork over and not obtain it for free, I think that at least buys me thr right to bicth, doesn't it?

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"The financial difficulties are mainly caused by the individuals who preferred to use sites like *(DELETED)* instead of paying to support the growth and continuation of PSS"Sorry to doubt your reasoning but I believe that statement is an absolute load of rubbish and in keeping with the bizzare excuses that I have seen coming out of PSS over the years. Sure, software piracy is rampant and there is no limit to the inginuity of the underground "warez" crowd. While quite unfortunate and a drain on the industry, it is a fact of doing business. You build a bank, along comes a bank robber. You build software, along comes a cracker. You put your wallet in your pocket, along comes a pickpocket Welcome to earth. Crime has existed as long as there has been humanity on this earth and short of the second coming of Christ (if that's your thing) this will NEVER change. NEVER.PSS had much deeper problems than just financial issues. The 777 and 757 releases were remarkably horrific. It took a year just to get a load planner built for the 757 and the 777 is still broken in many aspects. Excuses during this time from PSS were: "The Internet in Morocco is down so I couldn't upload the installer", "I'm sick", etc, etc. For anyone viewing the antics over at PSS for the last few years, it was apparent that there were many holes in that boat so it should come as no surprise that it finally sank.At the end of the day, I have watched PSS go from industry leaders to perveyors of hi-fidelity wanna-be products and it was very sad IMHO. Design decisions such as having all doors in the 777 open like a subway train left me scratching my head and pirates had nothing to do with that. Taking a year to build a load editor (which too was blamed on pirates) is just inexcusable. Promising patches for the 777 and never delivering leaves no one to blame but PSS. Excuses far outnumbered deliverables.I hope that PSS is eventually reborn with a new outlook, talent and dedication to their customers because as they were, they were serving neither themselves nor their customers. You want financial stability? Then build a solid customer base built on trust, kept promises, high quaility products and customer service. If there are any questions on how to accomplish this then I am sure a quick email to Eaglesoft, Flight1, LDS, Dreamfleet, et al will set your feet on the path to rightousness.But, please, don't use pirates as the cause of PSS' woes because it is as non-sequitor as a submarine with a screen door. After all, "the fault lies NOT in our stars, but in ourselves" - Shakespear. Mike T.

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>(Some developers do, such as FSD, Cloud9/fsdreamteam. Although>they are a little too invasive, in my opinion. I don't like my>registry being messed with and I don't like modules I have to>manually uninstall-- But scenery bgls are harder to protect,>so I understand virtuali's approach.)Just a quick remark:Later versions of our Addon Manager (those that comes with FsDreamteam products, but it will behave the same also for Cloud9 and Aerosoft stuff that use it) have the ability in the uninstaller to *entirely* remove the module, asking the user before doing so. The complete removal is still an option, because making it entirely automatic would have been killing all the products depending on that module. Suppose an addon that came with FSUIPC, would automatically clean it up during Uninstall...people would scream if anyone did that.So, modules that you have to "manually uninstall" might be a nuisance, but modules with full automatic cleanup might be even worse. That's why we now have full clean up during Uninstall, but only after asking the user confirmation.About registry, there's no such thing as "messed registry" in this case. The program only use its own keys, and doesn't touch anything else in Windows. There should be some place were a program should store settings. The registry was designed to be an improvement to the .INI file chaos that plagued Win 3.1, so you should expect programs make use of it. By "messing", I'd imagine something that, by touching some registry settings other than its own, creates problems elsewhere, not simply a program that, like all Windows programs, uses the registry to store and retrieve its data.And, as you correctly point out, we don't simply protect programs, but we also give something back to the user:Trial versions. So, it's a fair exchange. I think everyone would agree that having to withstand the small inconvenience of having to activate a product online, it's certainly better that having to risk to waste money on something you don't like at each purchase. With Trials, there's no risk whatsoever.And, thanks to the activation and unlocking, since the Trial it's the same as the full version, you can follow the product growth over time. You might have download the first release, and not being convinced enough to buy it. But you can always return at a later date, when the product has received one or two patches, and download again the Trial, that would be already fully patched, so you might want to give it another chance...

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For me, this offers at least a glimmer of hope for a FSX Concorde. While The 777-200LR had it's problems, the aircraft I flew most in FS9 toward the end was the PSS Concorde. Once I got rid of the virtual FE and did it all myself, it was an absolute joy to pilot, and I miss that so in FSX. So, I am looking at the 'new PSS' as a half-full opportunity.

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It'll be sad to see PSS go.I always received a lot requests from their users wanting me to do an FS2Crew for their 777, so I think there was a lot of support for them.Personally though I'm not so sure that 'shrinkage' would be the straw that broke the camels back (personally when I think of 'shrinkage' I think of that famous Seinfield episode with George Castanza and the swimming pool incident... :-) )The biggest issue I think facing FS devs today is just the incredible complexity of dealing with multiple platforms, multiple OS's, multiple versions of FS, and a very vocal user base who want a $10,000,000 simulator for $50.It can be a very difficult and complex business, especially given that the current market is very small and competition is very stiff.Just my two cents.Cheers,Bryan

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It surprises my that piracy might be that big in FS. Most of the products are inexpensive and definately not absolutely needed for a good siming experience.Asking for support for a pirated product is pretty amazing and the excuse that they poor is rubbish excuse for stealing, it isn't food because they will starve. I have met people who seem to think that just because they have little money they have a right to steal or game the system. These days people seem to think they have God given rights to anything they desire so they don't work towards anything, they seem to think they are 'owed' somehow. However. Piracy is a broad term and dispite what some people think kids like the above really do exist. I don't hold to the view that everyone will rip you off given the chance because I don't and I can't be that special!For music, Myself and one of my daughters would never have discovered that we liked foreign music (Japanese, German, Russian and Ethiopian Pop) except for some of these pirate sites so they can be used to broaden an horizon, not just to steal. Most of the music we like on these sites we buy, sometimes we cannot get it imported or buy a download though (can't understand the web sites or there is no site!) A pirate site is generally a bad thing but the effect it does depend on how the people use it. (most people probably do just rip off I guess, don't really know for real and don't believe everything I read from vested interests)Product reviews are ok if they are timely and you trust the reviews, some FS products I cannot find reviews for even though the product has been out for years. FS reviews on the whole are pretty good (although I would like in depth flight modelling critiques from people with the knowledge) but for gaming in general they are shocking. The amount of money I wasted on games with great reviews that bore no resemblance to playability (usually just looked good) is huge.There are a number of kinds of pirate.1. A person makes a copy of and resells someone elses product2. A person that doesn't want to buy anthing because they are cheap, etc3. A person who wants to try a product without limitation4. A person who owns the product but wants protection removed for ease of reinstallation5. A person who owns product but the vendor (and sometimes law) says that they are not allowed to use the product in the way the person wants6. A person who distributes someones product for no financial gainI have:a. Met zero number 1s and someone who should be nailed to the wall.b. Know of one number 2. Unfortunately he is a friend but that is his only real fault so someone else will have to mail him to a wall...c. Know many number 3s (been there myself, especially in the old days and/or if there is no demo)d. Know of and have been a number 4 though to lazy to look these dayse. Almost all of us are number in bucket 5 whether we are aware of it or not. Especially with music. I insist on playing CD music I bought on my iPod...f. Almost anyone who uses P2P is in camp number 6 though making product available in itself does not reduce a companies profits, it only does that if it results in less salesBack in the Amiga days I knew guys that had literally hundreds of pirated titles, they did not distribute them and also never ever actualy played them more than once. These guys are not lost revenue because they would never buy it if it wasn't available for 'free' and from my experience make up most of the pirates (that I met). I played a number of these pirated games myself but found that the only good ones were ones I already purchased (arkanoid and stunt car racer rules!), I wasn't really a gamer though, I was in it for the programming. BTW. they never deleted anything, just had racks of dust covered floppies, an amazing sight to see.That is not to say that pirating doesn't cost companies money, just that the amount of money lost is usually much overrated because it is assumed every copy is a lost sale. Like plumbers and such adding the annual average cost of parking tickets to our bills, the end user pays in the end.Copy protection is a pain for those of us that pay, especially if you have multiple machines that get reset regularly (I have 6 PCs). For pirates, it means almost nothing. Often they can even get the product quicker than we can and with less hassle. I really wonder if all copy protection was abolished whether there would be an increase at all. Steven.

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There is more piracy in the FSX space than most might think, I admit I was taken aback by how much I saw and how blatant it is. MS and just about every major 3PD was represented on the one site I gained access to. And yes, I do take the extra time to report it within MS when I see it. Not sure what that does, but I take the time.Having a "sliding scale" like above feels like part of the problem, although with that statement I am not "attacking" Steven the poster of that scale. IMHO, you cannot compromise and say "this subset of x isnt a big deal, or I think it shouldnt be a big deal because of y". You are either allowed to do x or not, and it is either wrong or not to go beyond what you are allowed to do. It is a slippery slope and once you are on it, the only way is down. I do agree there is an incredible sense of entitlement in most people's heads these days and that seems to be a root cause of much bad behavior whether its theft or just plain rudeness.

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nmwell, I see that Phil posted, so I will say one part of what I was going to say...I'm glad that FSX is activation-based, so we can play without the discs.... It is extremely annoying having to change discs, especially when you play a lot of games/use different softwareThank you!

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Phil,Glad to hear you pipe in on this topic, and of course, you hit the mark with regard to the "slippery slope."I have had a lot of concerns about it (being a mission developer). It's really, really trivial to copy a mission folder and paste it onto a friend's machine - or a torrent site. The issue has kept me up nights just thinking about all the work I put into it and has kept me from investing ANY amount of money in providing mission add-ons to the community.Wish there was a solution - but frankly not optimistic.

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An ironic aside to the piracy issue... it was software piracy that made MS-DOS based applications more popular. Of course... that's so amazingly 'old-school' these days. However, I remember in those days that your company was assured success if your software was coveted by the pirates. :)Heck even MS-DOS itself grew in popularity because of pirated copies. WordPerfect got a huge boost due to pirated copies.Not that I support piracy... I just remember the 'old days'. :D

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