Our friends of simFlight Benelux enlightened a (German) poll about the Microsoft intentions to integrate a MarketPlace in the next MS Fligfht. This means all Flight add-ons would be found directly in-game but hosted/marketed by Microsoft themselves as well, raising simmers and expansions developers / publishers interrogations.
Only 110 visitors have voted at the time I’m writing, so use google translator if necessary, but please add your vote on the Flight! – German – magazine website. Their magazin issues are for sale here.
This is a very laudable action indeed from Simflight Benelux.
I expressed my views on this topic a few months ago on this site and got shot down by a “know-it-all” who pretended that there was not enough information to take such position! It is rather surprising to see that most “simmers” are prepared to see their hobby placed entirely under the control of Microsoft with their new business model, “à la Apple”, where third party developers will be working like the newspaper using the IPad, paying 30% (or whatever the amount) of their revenues to Microsoft to have the privilege to be distributed through their marketplace…
This is hardly acceptable and will turn this hobby into an expensive and less flexible one, but yet, everyone seems quite happy with this approach! No such poll was started – to my knowledge – in English speaking fora, what about starting one here as well to get a grip on the perception of simmers for this new business model for our hobby?
You can read my thoughts on it at a thread on the forums here:
Personally, I can see why Microsoft are doing it, it will do superbly for the large, high-turnover developers who are prepared for the inevitable grossly increased support problems it brings and it will kill off huge amounts of support for the hobby in other ways.
Personally, I suspect that if you ran a poll, the majority of users and the developers who think they will get rich through it will think it’s an excellent idea… after all, everyone who develops for the iToys has become an instant millionaire… I mean they have… haven’t they?
@jean-claude, actually no one in the industry that i have spoken too is happy about this move by MS.
as you say no one wants to loose every single customer to MS, as this will be the inevitable consequence.
it will kill not only diversity and support channels, but also freeware, MS will claim that they will support freeware but i could see that the hurdles to place freeware in this marketplace will make things quite difficult for free time developers and simply take their motivation to do so.
it remains to be seen if MS will hermetically close off Flight to the outside… something i find will be difficult to do if they will still support the PC platform, which they will obviously do with at least the first version of Flight. but i could see where the voyage is going to end on the much longer run… windows 8 and xbox are waiting.
Brilliant excerpts from your thread Ian:
(Answer from Microsoft): “The basic idea is to make the entire user base more aware of all the third party applications as only a small percentage of the total user base are currently aware of all these add-ons”…
Seriously? What a lame excuse! Would any serious simmer willingly be kept in the dark about new developments and avoid reading this site among others to be kept informed about his hobby? Or would they not be smart enough to find information when needed?
So to summarise: Developers will be controlled by Microsoft (since they will have to sell through the MarketPlace), Publishers shall be controlled by Microsoft (Aerosoft already made clear their intention to stay away from Flight), Distributors… shall be absorbed by Microsoft (Is it goodbye Simmarket?). That is undoubtedly a great step forward for Microsoft to maximise profits, but what about our freedom that we had (still have) to pick and choose who our supplier will be? Is that the real promise of Internet to make markets more open and free?
We should really think about ways to resist against these huge conglomerates like Microsoft, Google, Apple that do not hide their intentions to watch, store and thus control what we do, read, listen to, play with, learn, and so on, that is not the free world Internet was meant for in my humble views!
There’s been a statistic bandied around for years (since about FS98, I think) that less than twenty percent of people who buy a copy of MSFS ever buy an add-on for it.
How accurate that is, I don’t know, but given that MS wouldn’t keep making it if the sim only sold as many as people buy add-ons, it rings very true indeed. From that perspective, Microsoft’s decision makes sense. Most users of the serious most certainly are not “serious simmers”. That’s why the CLS and similar jets sell more units than the “serious” sims and why so few users bother with a flight planner or even know they exist.
My issues with the internal store are not the fact that it will bring more sales of released add-ons, that’s pretty much a given fact. However given how much of the “community” is funded by add-on shops (all the major sites with forums are, without fail) and given how many add-on developers are far from professional in their methodology and ethos, it will seriously damage the hobby in general. What will be left. Will it be better, or worse? I’m certain that we’ll lose more as a community than we’ll gain new members of the community.
What I think we are seeing here is the first incarnation of the exploitation of Microsofts belief that they can out-market and outwit those who strive to take a profit – whether modest or exploitative – from the marketplace.
While I don’t doubt the figures that Ian quotes, it is also a simple fact that the tiny percentage who comprise the `Serious Simmer` base cumulatively probably spend more than the rest of the casual purchasers put togethr, no matter the 4-1 manpower advantage of `casuals`.
MS clearly believe they can manipulate that spend toward their own coffers…
This is so misguided as to be actually very funny.
As MS will no doubt find out, probably within hours of Flight being released.
And it’s not like there won’t be alternatives.