FSX is big business - but not for Microsoft
Finally the lid is off FLIGHT! Microsoft new ... game
FLIGHT! will according to Project Manager Joshua Howard be :
bringing entertainment to those that don’t think of themselves as ‘gamers’. The plan was to turn the wonder of flight into a piece of software that will appeal to anyone at all interested in aviation, not just the hardcore simmers.
while in FLIGHT! ...
In the previous free form structure, players entered an open world and were left to it. This can be intimidating for someone who maybe just wants to get in a plane and experience the magic of flight, or simply go exploring. To that end, the team has worked hard to create more structured game play, without making it easy
(which IMO is ridiculous - like saying that in an FPS like Mass Effect someone would find himself with a gun and not know what to do ... )
With Flight you are at the controls and are free to play your way, whether that be structured or freestyle. The game is very accommodating, while not retracting from the finely honed skills that are required to be an ace pilot. If you can use a mouse, you can fly. Other titles in the past have tried control set-ups where you fly by using the mouse but it has never worked. This time, it’s perfect; it feels natural, it’s responsive and yet very forgiving to those who aren’t accustomed to flying planes.
The game will be free , and will offer more content to those that use the Games for Windows Live feature, and those willing to pay small fees for new aircraft, mission packs etc.
All this points out to the end of the FSX business model where Microsoft sold FSX and independent developers and retailers created content and made money out of it, from now on, Microsoft will not make an SDK freely available and all content will be sold directly by Microsoft using Windows LIVE.
The game being free means also that this will be a true pay as you go experience, which is exactly what most people expected FLIGHT! to be from the moment they learned that the team behind FS11, ACES, had been disbanded: FLIGHT! is a way for MS to earn money.
What is also interesting that this will be a true dumbed-down game, where no previous experience or knowledge is required to float over the scenery - you will be able to use your mouse to do it, while admiring that scenery ... sounds like fun doesn't it ?
Of course the game will feature more realistic modes of flight other than mouse controlled powered gliding, but it is bad when the developer points out that this feature is the one he feels as the being the most important. No wonder then that many developers gave up on FLIGHT early on when they realized that there would be no space for them in this new game.
All this would not be that bad if it did not also mean the end of the Flight Sim series and its replacement by FLIGHT! which is a GAME and not a FLIGHT SIM, in fact it is nothing more that an arcade game for those that want to experience "the magic of flight" without the bother of having to learn a thing about flying and to whom the "experience of entered an open world and were left to it" was too complex an undertaking ...
And of course it means that the long term viability of dozens of developers now hinges on PREPAR3D - Lockheed Martin version of FSX SP2, which is being developed in part by the same team that was developing FS11.