My thoughts on Microsoft sacking the ACES team & the future of FSX!

Hi guys,

Well after the disappointing news of the sacking I have had time to ponder and think about what will happen now. Firstly I can not see Microsoft leasing out their code to other companies Microsoft have a history of guarding everything and normally are very guarded towards other companies seeing any of their code.

So what does this mean for us the Flight simming community…..

1. Maybe X-Plane will step up and take over the mantle of the premier flight simming software …. 2 things I see why this will not happen at least for a very long time … one is that FSX still has lots of years of life left in her and software companies still are in the process of redoing all their planes for FSX from FS9 …  a lot of work and money for them to make off this yet. Secondly X-Plane to me does not have the mass appeal of the Microsoft series had after all they had over twenty odd years to develop a fan base following, that is still very strong today and getting stronger each day, I can’t see X-Plane rivalling that at least for the next 5 years or so. This is by no means to say X-Plane is bad it is a good programme but still has a way to go to catch up with FS9 & FSX fan base and following.

2. The ACES members will band together and produce their own version of a spin off of FSX, this I think will happen in say the next 2-3 years and I think is the way to go, they will have the creative freedom to do pretty much what they want and I think this would be fantastic for us the Flight Simmers,  can you imagine what they could come up with, they have the coding knowledge of the Microsoft flight sims and even though they can not replicate that coding they have the expertise to come up with something better than FSX.

3. The ACES members will be snapped up by flight simming companies who would be very eager to draft in this huge amount of talent that is now free to do as they want.

FSX will go strong for about another 5-7 years  I think there is plenty of scope to go with this product, machines are only now starting to be able to run FSX at anywhere near capacity so plenty of life left in the hardware side of FSX, Do not forget their is still a large player base that refuses to swap over from FS9 because of lack of hardware power but the time will come when they will swap when FS9 finally dies out which I can see still going side by side with FSX for another few years yet.

So there are my ponderings of this unfortunate event that has happened recently to all of us in the Flight simming community and I wish the best for the ACES members your work over the years producing these marvels of gaming software has given countless thousands of us great pleasure.


Mike Elliot

0 Responses

  1. I agree with comment number 2. It is the best thing that could happen. I remember when SubLogic parted with MS and then created Flight Assignment: ATP. ATP was the best sim in it’s time, IMHO. Too bad they didn’t continue with the series. I still hang on to my feeling that MS will come back with a new version with a new crew two or three years.

    A new flight sim that’s created from scratch would do away with backwards compatible code that dragged down MSFS at times. The same can be said about Windows OS.

  2. On the contrary, I think that FS9 will grow stronger since there are questionmarks why any developer will spend much time or money for FSX, since the next FS version if any, will have nothing in common with any earlier version.

    The investment that many simmers have done already in addons for hundred maybe thousands of Dollars for FS9, will not repeat this invetment for FSX. That is why I can see that many FSX users will go back to FS9.

    In the community I am in, within the public flightsim community, almost all members are sticking with FS9, and even considdering FS9 as their last FS version.

    That said, I am more towards that FSX is actually the version that will die after some time.

  3. FSX has a long life ahead of it as long as people still are into flight simming. With high quality addons there is no need for FS 11 for five years to come. There is almost an unlimited amount of pimping that can be done to fsx. Accurate flight dynamics etc. can be made by using programs that run side by side with FSX via simconnect. I look at FSX as an ESP plattform. On top of it you can add terrabytes of accurate and realistic virtual environments.

    Sadly I don’t see the ACES team going for it on there own. It would cost too much and in the current economic climate the guys and gals of ACES are probably looking for a safer kind of income.

  4. Uhm…. in Microsoft Careers site i have seen an announce for a work in Microsoft about a new open position in a small group for continue and expand Flight Sim Engine….. Microsoft will continue to develop a flight sim environment….


  5. FS Engine is ESP and will continue to evolve upon we lost a big opportunity with the US gov (one of the main reasons why ACES lost support). No internal news about FSX yet but some people are talking about selling the franchise (if it ever happens).

    The game development wasn’t aligned to MS strategy and hold off the product due its history, there were some rumours internally for the last 4 years and FSX was nearly cancelled a couple of times. The Consumer & Entertaiment division will continue to work as a publisher using MS games studio but the whole division was really losing money (Zune may be even scrapped) and that triggers the decision. Shame, but hey, crisis bring new opportunities.

  6. X-Plane needs to get off OpenGL otherwise it will never catch on. I can’t even get it to work on my machine with new Nvidia drivers and the workaround was to roll back to years old drivers that break compatibility with other games. So it was basically $50 wasted…

  7. I am with you Mike. #2 is the most viable for the old ACES team of course – especially if you were all fairly closely located. FSX (and to a lesser degree FS9) do still have enough life left in them for us to “await developments” and the dawn of “Aviation Simulation V1”.

    Much as the FS9 community want “their sim” to be the premier version, this is less likely. FSX has just too much good stuff not to float to the top of the swamp. New simmers will be joining the FS community with new PCs and will wonder what the moaning is about. Yes, we did spend a heck of a lot of money on FS9 – my hobby bill ran into thousands – but that does not make FS9 better I am afraid to say. The 3D value of bumpmaps and the colour values of the speculars alone make FSX many times better to look at, and the new addons that are FSX specific really are a lot better than any FS9 addon.

    But to mollify the FS9ers who are all just about to leap down my throat – you are on the best system your money and experience has been able to buy. Stick with a working system unless you WANT to spend the money on a system re-build. I don’t miss FS9, despite the cost of crossing over, but I still don’t have a perfect FSX system either.

  8. I agree eagleskinner, with what people have now and what they can afford are 2 different things, most people can’t afford to upgrade their computers just for flying a new sim such as FSX. But for others to suggest to say FS9 will stay top of the heap and FSX will die off is just not going to happen, I like you think FSX is too good a sim to fall by the wayside and when people do eventually do a upgrade or newcomers buy their first computer i can assure you that previous FS9 users will migrate to FSX as well.

    As for software companies not going to re-release their FS9 add ons as suggested by a few people i think they fail to see that the software companies will do this eagerly as they in fact will be making heaps more money out of products they have already made for FS9 really they are getting two lots of money for the same aircraft only upgraded to FSX standards so they are on a win – win situation.

  9. Hi walsh,

    You hit the nail on the head X-Plane still has lots of issues much more than FSX has, and they are a long way behind the 8 ball in getting a strong robust fan base behind them such as Microsoft has, this will be why it does not take over as a viable alternative to FSX, after all FSX still has years and years left in it, just as FS9 still has life in it.

    Until someone new comes up with something fresh and better than FSX / FS9, FSX will still reign supreme with FS9 as the premier flight sims to use.

  10. Hi Selva,

    FS Engine in the Microsoft Careers annouce is Flight Simulator Engine for Microsoft End User Lincense (FSvNext) cause the job position talk about Game for Windows -LIVE ….that is not ESP. I heard some rumors about selling the franchise … but Microsoft will continue to develop new flight simulator (maybe with less people in a small team) but maybe with another brand name….

  11. The outcome of this, will most probably be, that the developers who continue to develop for both FS9 and FSX will come out as the winners. Not the developers who chooses one of the two platforms.

    Just take PMDG as an example. They will continue to develop for both platforms.

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