Is Microsoft building a new FS Dev Team?

Following up on a lead from one commenter on another story we checked Microsoft US Careers Website, that is the place where MS puts up job offers, and found two very recent offerings related to ‘Flying Games’. Does this mean that MS will continue development of the Flight Simulator after the recent slash of ACES-Studio?

The most recent job on offer, dated Feb, 06th (that’s today!) is for a Lead Program Manager and here MS is looking for: “…Microsoft Game Studios is looking for a veteran Lead Program Manager/Producer to help lead the development of a new broad-attraction flight-oriented game on the PC. ”

And the second offering dated  Jan 30 is for Project Art Lead in Game Design reads: “…Does working on a small, innovative team that delivers the most immersive flight experiences available today on the PC intrigue you? Our technology makes available entire continents – potentially the entire planet – for a detailed and dynamic 3D experience. We are looking for a Project Art Lead who can define, refine, and extend the visual elements while balancing the need for fun and approachability for a broad set of users.”…

Is there hope? we thought this to be quite interesting.

0 Responses

  1. I believe they will have a version for Xbox AND the PC. On the PC you will be able to purchase and install individual commercial addons or pay a monthly fee and go online. Xbox users will have to log on to the Internet and use on-line gaming only in order to take advantage of the commercial addons (or simply use the basic functions of the FS software on the Xbox at home). This will be good for the commercial addon producers as they’ll have more choices and can service a larger community. It will be interesting to see what commercial addons Microsoft allows to be added for on-line gaming! But, if it’s only the Xbox, then that will be alright with me too as I won’t have to purchase a high powered PC anymore and can simply use a laptop to surf the Internet and handle my mundane photo editing/processing and word processing chores.

  2. Yes FSY or FSZ on XBOX or a future console they will develop is a realistic thought and it can stabilize the whole performance of this monster game…

    The future of virtual reality is wide and the oldschool way of developing games for home PCs will fade out in my opinion with the headaches that brings when companies touch reality simulation such as flying sims…

    Crisis like the one we are living these days are oportunities for companies to review their production and development strategies and MS is doing that in my opinion

    Trashing a 25 years old flight simulator is a silly thought in my view, they can put it on ice yes but not terminate the franchise

    So viva FSX until a new face of FS shows in the horizons with the revival of a world wide economy I hope!


  3. My gut feeling is that they plan on converting FS to an online arcade-like game (with major emphasis on the word GAME) and the ‘technical’ aspects of it will go out the window. It’ll be geared towards ‘kids’ that want an easy, simply and fun way to fly an aircraft without even knowing how to spell the word ‘airplane’ correctly. If I am proved to be correct, then the included aircraft will practically fly themselves since the 12-year-old kids won’t know how to control them and their attention span would be easily lost without a simplistic simulator at their control.

    As long as mom and dad pump money into the coffers of MS, everyone will be happy, except us!

    Online play is unfortunately (for us at least) a very popular pastime with the teen generation. That’s evident by the huge success of the role playing games and first person shooters that attract millions to online gaming. Some FPS games (which I confess I have purchased) sell a million copies in the first week or two of their release alone.

    As I see it, this doesn’t bode well for us. As Bogart said, (slightly modified) ‘“Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of a bunch of little flight sim aficionados doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world of MS and money.”


  4. Only time will tell, but as a developer who makes add-ons for Flightsim, I think in all likelihood we’re going to have to start learning to program in the XBox environment.

    That should be fun 🙂

    Hope I’m wrong, though.

  5. Hmm, I hope not. I’ve been there, and there are some severe restrictions using the XBOX (and the Play station for that matter) as a developer. For example, the memory is tight, and you can only utilize few segments at a time. This is fine, when you make games that are well defines and only function within a sandbox. How an open-ended “game” like flightsim could function within these restrictions are anyone’s guess. Another thing – how we are supported to interact with a VC I don’t know…
    However, I’ve read the line:
    “Lead Program Manager/Producer to help lead the development of a new broad-attraction flight-oriented game on the PC. ”
    To me it’s clear that it’s a PC game, I’m not sure how this is interpreted as a console game?

  6. If future versions of Flight Simulator go XBOX FSX and FS9 will be viable a very long time. I predict FSX will be the mainstay for the next 10-15 years like Falcon 4.0 (Allied Force) still is. You think the revolt against FSX was bad in favor of FS9, you haven’t seen nothing yet. If Austin of X-Plane fame fully embraces this community and brings X-Plane up to FS9/FSX standards in the coming years that’ll be our future sim. Otherwise FSX will be our only choice for years to come. Most of us aren’t going to tolerate a dumbed down XBOX title geared towards children. Unless the XBOX concept is revamped the add-on market can’t thrive on that type of restrictive environment. Every FS version has needed various sizable updates to bring them into prime time. FSX needed the deserts of the southwest adjusted which in turn we got Flight1’s Ground Environment X to correct these and other vegitation issues (you couldn’t get that broad scope of an update on an XBOX title. We would have to settle for it). PMDG saw a need for a better 744 than the default which is what they gave us (something that detailed might not be possible as well on the XBOX). Xbox games code is mostly on the CD not saved on the XBOX hard drive. The XBOX hard drive is mostly for saving your place in the game not modifying it… Most don’t fly the default aircraft especially in previous versions prior to FSX (FSX’s performance has kept many this time around on the default longer than what’s been the case in the past).

    So at this point I guess I’m gearing up to install and enjoy FSX in a couple of years maybe three. Today FS9 is outstanding and I feel FSX will be the same way with all sliders turned up in years to come. A fluid FSX is what I’m waiting for. After that I’m fine for the next 10-20 years if that’s the only choice. Like I said before, at least FSX is farther along than FS98. I refuse to accept a dumbed down version of FS just because it’s ‘new’, I didn’t do this for FSX. Now that FSX is our last version as things look now our community will be rallied around it and X-Plane in the next 10 years if Microsoft doesn’t get their head out of their a#@’s. Microsoft Executives seem to be more concerned about the bottom line where as most of us are aviation enthusiast, I guess that’s to be expected. The problem is there’s money to be made on our side of the tracks too (maybe more so) but exec’s rarely deal in the world of innovation unless their lead by a founder like Walt Disney, Bill Gates, and/or Steve Jobs. These nome college educated robots are like sheep who run out like a deer when your headlights meet it for the quickest perceived dollar opportunity. Even if more dollars could have been made with a slight since of creativity the go the other way, look at the music industry and the garbage on the radio. It’s no coincidence these bone heads got us into this global financial crisis and now everyone from Hollywood to GM need bailouts…

  7. Although anything can happen, didn’t all of these want ads specifically mention developing for PC? where are you getting the XBOX certainty from, paranoia perhaps? Yes, that’s where the market is headed right now, and it will probably become reality at some point, but speculation is just speculation, there’s no use getting all ramped up about this unless you actually know something.

  8. I started my post stating, “If future versions of Flight Simulator go XBOX”… There’s a big emphasis on ‘IF’ if you take the time to read things in context and understand I was responding to the various posts above mine…

  9. I wonder why it says “… makes available entire continents – potentially the entire planet …” where FS gives you the entire globe now. Maybe one has to license continent by continent in future ?

  10. Dillon, I wasn’t responding to your post specifically, most of the responses had some sort of unfounded certainty about this being an XBOX development, in fact, I’m not sure your post was even up when I typed my response, certainly was not directed at you.

  11. Hey there,
    Mixed feelings on this one. I use FSX for fun and for practicing things as part of my flying training and find it excellent for those purposes. It has surely fallen prey to the “Vista” phenomenon however – better looking but bloated and slower on any given machine and requiring a wholesale upgrade to be as snappy as the old version. Even then, FSX is nowhere near fs9 or xplane for smoothness. Given that, I see a definate market for someone to do a “linux” version of the classic Sim – lighter and with superior utilisation of resources. X-plane is best I guess but less immersive at this stage. If this occurs, this decision will ultimately lead to a better simming experience I reckon.
    I will continue using FSX and hope that a proper multi-core patch is brought out. I see this as the biggest mistake MS has made – finishing the multicore implementation before pulling the plug would have guaranteed 2 to 4 years of strong sales as hardware slowly catches up with their coding – a way to use the expensively developed engine to its best and to ensure the continuation of interest and investment by the whole FS community. A poor decision but consistent with the disappointment of Vista – 2 years late but a year early. I see MS as being a bit like General Motors now – too big and/or too poorly run to correctly conduct their core business – providing products that customers either want or should want. I am no MS-hater either – this is just relatively simple stuff they have mishandled in my opinion.
    regards, John Hogan in Brisbane where its 34 deg (celsius!) today 🙂

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