I know. And I got to be a bit careful here because I can't share too much of our plans and I have seen on FSelite that some folks read the most strange things already in what I posted, lol.
Aerosoft has been in business for close to 30 years. We have been through the change to a new MSFS simplatform 5 (6?) times. It's always a bit traumatic, when the new sim is announced a lot of people are reluctant to buy more add-ons for a platform that is going to be replaced. We have to make sure we get new add-ons ready for a new platform that does not have a lot of users. It's above anything a very expensive transition for us and for many developers. You got nothing new to sell and the old stuff sells badly. These are the moments when you see shops, developers and publishers go bankrupt (or avoid that by closing shop). It is the main reason we decided around 6 years ago to support ANY new platform. That's why we are now the biggest publisher of X-Plane add-ons and why we make AFS2 add-ons. We needed to diversify to create some stability. Look up 'pig cycle' on Google, it describes perfectly the issue we had to solve.
Aerosoft did manage to handle the transitions. We are larger than ever, we have grown every single year of our existence. We now have more staff than ever. We now cover more product ranges than ever. And one of the main reasons is that we learned the hard way to work on what customers want in 10 months time. That's where the sales are. And we need a whopping lot of sales to keep doing what we do. Our overhead costs is not the what a company like PMDG has. We got warehouses, marketing departments, legal staff, people who only do server maintenance, we got offices in three countries. That's why we can't aim for the focussed markets that other can aim for. We need to sell a lot more of each product and you only can do so when you aim for a larger audience. And those are not in the over $100 market. They are in the $30 market. That's where you sell the real numbers.
Back to MSFS... We do market research every few months to see how our customers demands change. And even at this moment we still know there is a massive amount of FSX users. I am not spilling beans to help other companies but it is big, huge, substantial. But commercially it means very little because they are not willing to buy add-ons. I do not blame them, compared to what we can do in P3D at this moment a high end FSX product will look seriously outdated most of the time. We just do not have the memory, CPU cores and GPU power to make it look modern. If we would do a FSX version of our A330 we would need to lose 50% of textures and 65% of the polygons. It would look like ..... uhhhhh.... a 2012 product. And does not sell and that is the trap we need to avoid by all means. We have to take some risk and look at what will sell around Christmas this year.
Now it is no secret that the relation between Microsoft/Asobo and Aerosoft is pretty good. We have the experience of 5 (6?) new versions of the MSFS sim and 2 new versions of X-Plane (as you know we are deeply involved with X-Plane as well, handling it on Steam etc. We think we know what we are doing. We love what MS is doing, we love the fact they are so open and responsive, we love the fact they see it as a platform and not a product. It is a far cry from the Microsoft of a few years back. Working with them is pleasure.
And that trust, above anything else, is why we are betting so heavy on the new platform. There are some very nice things to come for P3D and we hope that Lockheed will bring new goodies in P3D V5 (if the choose to to a new version) we can use so we can do new cool stuff. At Aerosoft we love all sims. We always have. We still love FS2004. But we need to make sure we have products to sell and sometimes that means making choices that are not easy to explain.
Will not stop me from trying to do so.