Jump to content
Mathijs Kok

Thoughts on a new Simulator: The world

Recommended Posts

In this series of posts I will write down my personal (!) ideas on the new simulator that is at this moment on approach.  They are a combination of what we learned over the last year working with Microsoft and Asobo and my personal experiences. I hope to make one posts a day, but you know, life.... I'll start with the big round thing. The world. As there are a kazillion images and videos (check out my good friend ObsidiantAnt on Youtube) that show it far better than I can so I will stick to text. Feel free to comment. Again keep in mind these are my personal views.

 

-----------------------

 

The MFS world might not be perfect (surprisingly there are some airport missing because the sat imagery was not available, even in Germany and the US!) and there might be a kazillion places where things do not look exactly as they should, but we get a ‘believable’ world. I know X-Plane used the term but MFS's world is far more believable. Go to any place you do not know intimately, and you would not know that the sim showed something that is not there.  You will ALWAYS get a rather good impression of what that area looks like.

If you take P3D v4.5, add all the terrain add-ons you can get for a region and you get what default MFS will show. Some bits will be better, some will be worse, but overall, it will be very comparable. The difference is that MFS does it world-wide. Check out Fouleix where I live and you will see the three small lakes in my garden, the house, the stable, the workshop and the black dots on the car park are my cars.  All the very big trees on my terrain are correctly placed. That is in the middle of bloody nowhere in France. In the default sim. Not just a sat image, but 3d buildings and 3d trees. Correctly placed.  And again worldwide, that is mind boggling.

Microsoft always said that MFS would be the showcase of what Azure (the network of MS servers and storage) and Bing (the databases) could do. And boy, does it deliver.  Google might have more up to date imagery but in combining data and making it into a 3d world they are way behind. Google Earth looks childish in 3D compared to MFS.  Not StreetView, but that is just a bunch of pictures, incredibly cool, but basically amazingly simple technology. It just takes a lot of cars driving around to get the data. 

MFS is with some distance the most detailed representation of our globe we now have.  Google could do the same as they also got the data, but they have no business case to do it. Microsoft did.  In many news programs you now see Google graphics when there is a news event somewhere in the world. They slowly zoom into the location, but it remains 2D. I guarantee you; you will see Microsoft Flight Simulator used in news items. It is that good. I have spoken to professional simulator guys. They train pilots. And they all said that there is no simulator, no matter what you pay, that gives the same sense of depth, same sense of distances. 

The sim now does not have full seasons, it has 'summer' and 'snow' but a snowy landscape looks perhaps even better than the summer one. When the sun sets (those sunsets are fantastic btw) the inhabited world lights up like we have not seen before. I have been able to fly over Paris South to North following the outer peripherique . There is NO way, no matter with what add-on, I could have ever done that in any other sim. I think I like night flights even better than day time flights. Fly towards a big city and you see the light slowly build up, first a glimmer, then a dome of light and then you start to see the roads and structure. Try Paris or Seattle.

Can it be improved upon? Ohhh yes, If you know the color and EXACT shape of a building you can make a better one. Certainly airports can be massively improved, even the high definition ones made by Microsoft/Asobo. What is clear if you look in some details at them, you see they are made by people who have little or no experience with flight simulation. You see how they spend a lot of effort on parts you never see from the cockpit (the ‘car’ side of the airport, you miss the higher level of detail in the normal sightlines (mainly on final) and you see how they did not understand why details on the departure routes matter far less then on the approach routes.  I have been in Asobo’s offices a few times and I never approach charts on the desk of a modeler. Hey, don’t knock them, it took our scenery developers two decades to perfect those skills! And I have seen the modelers at Asobo learn amazingly fast.  They intend to keep on adding more content and if they listen to what customers want, they will be damned good damned fast. These are skilled and trained people.

And P3D and X-Plane? Highly respectable platforms but comparing the ‘default world’ can only lead to one winner. MFS blows the competition out of the water. You can spend hours and hours just flying around, looking at the world. From the Norwegian fjords, via the Italian lakes to the Amazon, it is stunning. Just absolutely stunning. 

  • Like 8
  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the editorial Mathijs, I agree entirely with your thoughts on the new simulator.

Now for the new graphics card, everything else is awaiting (new system wise).

 

Darryl

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! Good to read the positive vibe. A lot of people in the community are very sceptical and traditional towards new platforms. Personally I have reinstalled my PC, pre-ordered MSFS and P3D is history for now.

 

Yes, I cannot fly the Aerosoft Airbus or PMDG 737 from day one, but lots to discover... VFR has my attention for the first time in FS history!

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Er!k said:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! Good to read the positive vibe. A lot of people in the community are very sceptical and traditional towards new platforms. Personally I have reinstalled my PC, pre-ordered MSFS and P3D is history for now.

 

The key words in there are 'the community'. See we have some idea on how many copies Microsoft has to sell to make money. And we know roughly how many copies of P3D are sold. Those numbers are not in the same ballpark. Not even the same city. There might be 500 MFS users to one P3D user, It would not surprise me if it would be even more, seriously more. And though we seriously love P3D (version 4.5 that is, V5 not so much), we will go where our customers are. 

 

And as always, there is a huge difference between user and customers. We still have a lot of people in our database that use FSX, but they stopped buying add-ons around 30 months ago. So while the users are still there, development totally stopped. We will see exactly the same with P3D. In fact we already see it. sales for add-ons are very low right now. 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vor 1 Stunde, Mathijs Kok sagte:

We still have a lot of people in our database that use FSX, but they stopped buying add-ons around 30 months ago. So while the users are still there, development totally stopped.

Well, this is a question like who was first: chicken or egg?

If there are less [no] new products to buy, it's logical that we reduce [stop] buying.
And when Aerosoft told us clearly, that FSX is commercially dead, I started to give my money to other distributors who still saw a market for FSX. To show them that they are right and to keep them friendly to FSX. 🙂


Sorry for saying that, but I'm sure you will understand me in the same way as I understand you, that you have to focus on the new sim MSFS to be able to pay your developers.

 

On the other way I would like to ask you to not forget the people who can't (or want to) afford very expensive new hardware every three years.

I know that you don't focus on very rich people (like PMDG or FS Labs do), so that you want to keep your products affordable (the mass brings the money). So you should still support flight simulators running on affordable hardware like FSX and Aerofly.

The simmers can still get very good results with FSX. That's the reason why I show my screenshots in the screenshot forum 🙂

 

And I wish everbody a lot of fun with flight simulating, no matter if it's FSX, Aerofly or MSFS 🙂

 

Always safe landings
Torsten

 

Btw: do you know the strategy  market segmentation? Every supermarket and every car producer applies this strategy to be very successfully.
This is the reason why I think that there is still an ongoing chance for flight simulators like FSX and Aerofly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, TorstenFS said:

Well, this is a question like who was first: chicken or egg?

 

We kept on making FSX add-ons while we already seen that sales were not okay, we were one of the very last to still have FSX production lines for serious products.  I know you disagree and that's fine. But we have sales data, do market research and talk to customers daily, all things you do not have access to. So I believe our point of view is pretty solid.

 

And market segmentation, yes of course we know that, but if the cost of production is higher then the profit, it means nothing but a failed strategy. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I don't disagree. I fully understand your opinion and your strategy 🙂


What I want to say is: if every super market and car producer is practising market segmentation, why should this not be successful in flight simulation?

Not more and not less 🙂

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, TorstenFS said:

No, I don't disagree. I fully understand your opinion and your strategy 🙂


What I want to say is: if every super market and car producer is practising market segmentation, why should this not be successful in flight simulation?

Not more and not less 🙂

 

 

Because FSX users stopped buying add-ons. It really is that simple. We only stopped making them after they stopped buying them. And with our marketing, advertisement, multiple shops, Steam etc etc we do have the access to the customers, finding them is and was not the issue. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you can imagine that the new MSFS and its wonderful marketing bring a lot of new people to the community?! I think the same way.
And I'm convinced that not everybody can (or want to) afford the hardware that is necessary for MSFS.

So you suppose that those people will fly MSFS with X-Box, as I assume?
And I suppose that a lot of those people might give FSX a new chance . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vor 1 hour , Mathijs Kok sagte:

 

The key words in there are 'the community'. See we have some idea on how many copies Microsoft has to sell to make money. And we know roughly how many copies of P3D are sold. Those numbers are not in the same ballpark. Not even the same city. There might be 500 MFS users to one P3D user, It would not surprise me if it would be even more, seriously more. And though we seriously love P3D (version 4.5 that is, V5 not so much), we will go where our customers are.

 

 

That really surprises me! May I ask why there are so many customers less for P3d? For me it has always been the logical choice after FSX (which has never really been good for me). Were people really so anxious because of the EULA?? Well, at least here, nobody has knocked on my door to ask me if I had fun while training so hard ...because we will all be real airline pilots one day^^ :)

With P3d v4, I've found a very good, stable simulator that I've always hoped to see one day. With my new hardware, it's simply amazing how well and stable it works with complex scenery AND aircraft. And if I look at the addon market, I've never seen a simulator which was so "complete" in one single sim: We have amazing renditions of the Dash 8-Q400, B717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, A32X, A330, CRJ, E-170-195,... and of course a lot of GA planes. Looking at the sceneries, there is hardly anything left to do, at least in the areas that are less popular to fly to for "the community".

 

So, as good as MFS looks in the previews, I could imagine that it takes me a long time to switch, because there will be a lot of things that are probably not availible or will cost a lot of money again, mainly complex aircraft.

 

Cheers, Dominik

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vor 15 Minuten, BudSpencer sagte:

That really surprises me! May I ask why there are so many customers less for P3d?

 

I know, you did not ask me, but I can tell you: MSFS (and its marketing) fulfills the dream of flying. This dream for flying is as old as mankind.
P3D (and its marketing) only fulfills the wish for flight simulation. This is an immense difference.

 

So MSFS adresses nearly "everybody", while P3D only adresses real life pilots or hardcore simmers.

 

EDIT: Sorry Mathijs, please read over these lines:
And I'm convinced that FSX could gather all these people, whom Microsoft and Asobo has re-awakened the dream of flying, but who can't (or don't want to) afford the expensive hardware.
Just do not make marketing for FSX like marketing for flight simulation (e.g. flying with Airbus over LC-sceneries) but make marketing for the dream of flying (e.g. flying over photoreal sceneries).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, BudSpencer said:

 

That really surprises me! May I ask why there are so many customers less for P3d?

 

Many reasons. First of all, Flight Simming is at this moment a very small hobby.  But the main reason is that P3D can only be bought at Lockheed and it clearly states that it is not intended for hobby use. That the practise is different might be the case but the EULA is totally clear, not for entertainment use.  MFS will be sold everywhere, at MS, at steam, in over 500 retail shops, the amount of marketing is massive, I counted over 200 YT videos uploaded in the last 36 hours, P3D never had anything like that. For Lockheed the hobby simmers were just the people who paid to create the platform for professional use. We worked on a box version with them for 2 years but we never got anything done. That, and selling it everywhere online, would have changed things.

 

Where the product is sold makes a HUGE difference. When Dovetails sold FSX on Steam they sold many many tens of thousands. It tripled the amount of simmers in 6 weeks. Most of those did not end up buying add-ons but I can tell you in confidence, for many companies it was a lifeline. 

 

And after all, just look at the MFS. It is so much more attractive, so much easier to sell. 

 

 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, TorstenFS said:

And I'm convinced that FSX could gather all these people, whom Microsoft and Asobo has re-awakened the dream of flying, but who can't (or don't want to) afford the expensive hardware.

 

We simply do not believe that. Sorry.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even before I was allowed to see MSFS on my own screen half a year ago, it was clear to me that this would be the beginning of a new era. Or continuation of the Golden Age which I was allowed to be part of (as an Aerosoft customer already) from FS4 to FSX. 

 

While I have always defended Prepar3d, even at a time when it was not yet popular, it became more and more clear that it includes so many hurdles it never would attract the masses as its forerunners. As Mathijs states, the combination of distribution channel, mandatory credit card, the clumsy update mechanism (despite improvements far from today's standards,), the dubious EULA, limitation to English language, strict LM information policies... all that factored in.

 

I never had the illusion of getting the perfect God sim with MSFS, as some seem to believe, but I am sure it will be the way into the future. And no, I don't think Prepar3d (and also X-Plane) to disappear anytime soon, notably X-Plane has a devoted user base keeping it alive while I see Prepar3d focusing on the enterprise market - which it originally was made for.

 

Kind regards, Michael

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vor 1 Stunde, Mathijs Kok sagte:

 

We simply do not believe that. Sorry.

Okay, accepted 🙂

 

So if you're experience is that FSX is commercially dead, you can sell all FSX products ahmmm not for free but for 30% or 20%.
So maybe you can bring people from the second or third world to flight simulation.

 

Better to earn 20% or 30% from existing products than earning nothing from existing products if these products are commercially dead.

And if these people like flight simming then there is a good chance that they switch to MSFS some day . . .

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, pmb said:

Even before I was allowed to see MSFS on my own screen half a year ago, it was clear to me that this would be the beginning of a new era. Or continuation of the Golden Age which I was allowed to be part of (as an Aerosoft customer already) from FS4 to FSX. 

 

While I have always defended Prepar3d, even at a time when it was not yet popular, it became more and more clear that it includes so many hurdles it never would attract the masses as its forerunners. As Mathijs states, the combination of distribution channel, mandatory credit card, the clumsy update mechanism (despite improvements far from today's standards,), the dubious EULA, limitation to English language, strict LM information policies... all that factored in.

 

Some very good comments in there. The fact Lockheed never wanted to do the product pages in anything but English robbed them of 45% of potential sales. French, Italian, Spanish, German, Polish (and many more) customers are hesitant to buy from a product page they do not fully understand.  In download sales it is normal that 45% of customers who put a product in the buy basket do not complete the sale. When they got to pay they look for any reason to abort. A stupid typo somewhere is reason enough. Amazon spends millions (really) on the last few pages before a customer actually pays. An almost invisible tweak of a color is tested to death. All because they know you got to make the customer feel 101% confident. And 95% of French people will not not feel 101% confident on an English payment pages. Having that in French means getting the sale or not getting the sale. 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TorstenFS said:

Okay, accepted 🙂

 

So if you're experience is that FSX is commercially dead, you can sell all FSX products ahmmm not for free but for 30% or 20%.
So maybe you can bring people from the second or third world to flight simulation.

 

Better to earn 20% or 30% from existing products than earning nothing from existing products if these products are commercially dead.

And if these people like flight simming then there is a good chance that they switch to MSFS some day . . .

 

 

Again, I simply do not agree. We would not sell loads more if we would reduce the price. In fact sales actions on these old product do next to nothing. People did not stop buying them because they are too expensive, they stopped buying them because buying add-ons for a 12 year old platform seems like a bad idea.

 

The prices stay the same because we know that customers who do want them, will buy them. We do not want to be like Dovetails on Steam where price means everything, we feel the product and its value should be leading. We are not fans of sales actions. They raise the price for everybody in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Mathijs Kok said:

 

Again, I simply do not agree. We would not sell loads more if we would reduce the price. In fact sales actions on these old product do next to nothing. People did not stop buying them because they are too expensive, they stopped buying them because buying add-ons for a 12 year old platform seems like a bad idea.

 

The prices stay the same because we know that customers who do want them, will buy them. We do not want to be like Dovetails on Steam where price means everything, we feel the product and its value should be leading. We are not fans of sales actions. They raise the price for everybody in the end.

 

Very true.

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that most people who are still using FSX have been doing so for a long time. They already used FSX when it was still a new and popular platform, and that's when all the add-ons for FSX were released. That's also when they bought those add-ons.

 

And now that FSX is old and outdated, they don't buy add-ons for FSX anymore for the simple reason that they already got every FSX add-on they're interested in. They already bought these add-ons years ago and they're still using them. Therefor it doesn't matter what you do with the price, people ain't going to buy what they already own.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much will Aerosoft charge for scenery add-ons? 

 

$10 USD for an airport sounds reasonable and I would certainly buy dozens at that price.  For me airports are "disposable", you use them for a while and then you get bored with the location and forget about them and are flying to other places.

 

Aircraft are not "disposable", I must have spent hundreds of hours in PMDG's 747,777,737... so I'm happy to pay $100 USD.

 

As far as XBox is concerned I think you will have trouble getting XBoxers to pay anything for scenery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must be out of place in many ways: :D

 

- I've never cared about English payment sites.

- I've never had a problem with LM's EULA.

- I've hardly cancelled any purchases after the products were in the shopping cart.

- I'm mainly flying where I'm NOT living, BECAUSE I want to see something new and "exotic".

- I still wouldn't mind investing some money into P3d addons - because I'm sure I will stick with it for quite a while.

 

vor 6 Stunden , Mathijs Kok sagte:

The prices stay the same because we know that customers who do want them, will buy them. We do not want to be like Dovetails on Steam where price means everything, we feel the product and its value should be leading. We are not fans of sales actions. They raise the price for everybody in the end.

 

- Oh yes, I'm clearly buying more if things are cheaper - at least for sceneries! That doesn't mean at all that I'm buying a lot of low quality things, it just means that I will invest in quantity IF quality and price are right. Only aircraft are a differnt thing: If I can get the best that's availible, I don't care about the price, because I use them sooooo often if they are good, and because there aren't too many of those.

But here, I also seem to be an oddball.

 

So, have fun with all the goodies of MFS, but this time, I will jump onto the boat way later than many others. I'm happy for every interesting addon released for P3d, and if not, it's still too good and too complete to lay it off, now that it finally works so well.

 

I'm still very surprised about the facts Mathijs mentioned above.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Mathijs Kok said:

 

We will see exactly the same with P3D. In fact we already see it. sales for add-ons are very low right now. 

 

 

I think the transition from FSX to P3D vs. P3D to MSFS will be vastly different. Even hardcore P3D users will not be able to hold out for long once MSFS is out and the 3PD's start releasing products for it. I think P3D will fade much faster than FSX did, even by the 3PD's themselves. I don't think P3D v5 will come anywhere close to being able to keep up. What will be interesting will be LM's long term plan......

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"sales for add-ons are very low right now"

Vendors have to bite the bullet and offer 100% discount against the MSFS product for FSX/P3D purchases from now, e.g. if Milviz said that if I bought the P3D Beaver now, then when the MSFS Beaver was released I would get 100% credit for the money I paid now then I might buy it..otherwise, absolutely NO P3D purchases for me.

That way they can keep some sales going.

Sadly I couldn't get a similar credit note from Aerosoft as I've already bought all the planes...tell a lie, don't have the DC-8...

Cheers

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being careful about what i'm saying as i've been testing MFS for a long time now, to sum it up, it will be worth it. Will it be the best home flight sim currently out there? Without a doubt. Will it blow the others out of the water, XP and P3D? Without question. If we're talking about the unenhanced, out of the box standard version of MFS.

 

As has been alluded to already, as an avid flyer of P3D, i've invested heavily into my chosen flight sim, with ORBX, with Aerosoft and a few other companies. Only when i run these addons in P3D 4.5, (not v5 as i've already uninstalled that due to the insane amount of issues with it), can i get my virtual world to resemble what comes out of the box in MFS as standard. The attention to detail is staggering in the new sim and most people will be happy with most of the sim from the outset.

 

That being said, there is always room for improvement, and thankfully Microsoft have left the door open for 3rd party developers like Aerosoft and ORBX and all the others to do their thing and enhance the world even more with their fine products. There are areas that need enhancing, airports primarily which already look amazing in a lot of areas, but if you want perfection and 'as close as it gets' style sceneries, you have to go to the 3rd party developers to get your fix, and i for one will be quite happy to do so, as without being rude, that's what they are here for.

 

Bear in mind for those thinking you will get absolute perfection with MFS, you won't, but you will get a sim that's as close to it as it can possibly be, straight out of the box. I've seen the improvements from the first alphas, all the way up to the current beta, and it's very impressive i have to say. I've already got my copy, just waiting for the 18th so my name will disappear from the screen when flying, and i can finally enjoy the biggest leap forward in flightsims since home flight simulators first came out. Get your wallets ready people, it will be worth the wait.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditto, gotta be careful but agree ... except for the aircraft - you can see from the published lists that they are mostly new, mostly electronic ... and you could guess that the bigger they get the less 'study' they are. Plus no helicopters, no gliders, no military (yet).

So there is still a place for the legacy sims for a while...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still with FSX (I had serious doubts about P3D EULA for me) and this last weekend I bought Flightbeam KIAD scenery because they had a sale of 50% discount with a very good price.
I don't have all the add-ons for FSX that I wanted to have.
Of course now I'm waiting for the 18th August to move to MFS but I will continue to made some flights in FSX for my virtual airlines until MFS is "stable".

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...