We accepted that by doing something different with the franchise, we were going to upset some of our existing customers, but that’s the cost of trying something truly new.
New doesn't always mean better. Never automatically equate trying something new with meaning it is an improvement or evolution.
However, we believe deeply in the value of that underlying simulation, and invested a lot in Flight to create a more sophisticated simulation than we ever had before.
He said that Flight is more sophisticated with a straight face?
If anything, the unwillingness of the simmer audience to accept that Flight was intended to appeal to whole new audiences prompted the team to focus on areas where our engagement with our players is more productive.
Our problem isn't that you changed the direction to target a new audience - I just think that the audience that is targeted is going to play Flight and quickly lose interest...
Given that is the case, do you anticipate that your pace of DLC releases will keep the FLIGHT user happy with the content buildup and frequency of release?
Good question AVSIM...
As to our ability to keep up with what our customers want, we’re not yet able to gauge that. While there will always be customers on either edge of the curve – those who want new content every single day, as well as those who would be happy with new content every few years – we have yet to understand what the right frequency of content is for the bulk of our customers.
I can translate this: "We need to see how much money we make on the follow up DLC before we figure out if we are all going to lose our jobs and shutter the development office or if we can continue to grab $15 here and there from our subscribers.."
Both of the airplanes are selling better than expected, which is a nice surprise, and we are getting great feedback about both our basic aircraft concept as well as the deluxe.
I can translate that too: "We can't believe people have paid for a P-51 with no cockpit and airplanes that have comm radios with nothing to listen to..."
However, our data reinforces that Flight already has a much wider audience profile than past products in the franchise, and those people are asking for us to improve the product in a variety of other ways (many of which are about improving the quality of the game, like adding leaderboards, multiplayer missions, or new challenge types). The art, as we see it, is to find places where we can invest in some significant area of the product that increases its appeal to as many people as possible.
Leaderboards? Really? New challenger types? (Balloon Slalom #2) If they want Flight to be a successful game, they had better put a WHOLE LOT more "game" into it..because right now it is a snoozer of a game..
As we get an ever better understanding of what the Flight customer wants (as opposed to what customers of the previous franchise products want), I see us meeting those needs through both internal and external development.
And there you have it really..they don't actually lump us "previous customers" in with the current Flight target audience. That any aspect of Flight might actually appeal to FSX users seems to be implied as accidental at best.
Long-haul flight is not one of the scenarios that we believe is interesting for the bulk of our audience.
But endless monkey and people transports between islands where NOTHING IS HAPPENING AT ALL between the takeoff and destination ARE somehow interesting..??
As I mentioned before, TrackIR is one of the requests we are getting from simmers. In an effort to balance our investments, we are considering how we can accommodate this request along with all of the other ways we want to grow the experience. I can say that we understand that the experience of Flight with TrackIR would be very cool, even for the non-pilot, and even if the total number of TrackIR users is pretty low.
The term "grow the experience" tells me all I need to know about the corporate double-speak coming out of this guy's mouth. It sounds more to me like he has a product he has to justify rather than saying he has a product that the world really needs.
We do intend to reach back out to these developers, as well as to new developers, as we work to scale up our content offerings.
Don't be surprised if after you "reach back out" to those guys you don't come back with a bloody stump. Those guys (third party developers) made the enormous community that loves the Microsoft Flight Simulator series the attractive $$$ lure that it is. Despite Flight seeming to target a completely different "gamer" audience, they knew that most of us flight simulator hobbyists would also pony up (at least once) for content. Microsoft actually benefited enormously by the hard work of third party developers and they seem to have been more than happy to take the money and run without reciprocity.
Some reviewers have better understood our goals, while some were merely angry that we dared to build something that wasn’t exactly what they decided we should build. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but our business is not about trying to please that kind of person.
This is where the guy really misses the mark. The reviewers aren't mad that you went in a new direction Dudley..we are mad because you went the "game" route with very little "game" to be played. I have no objections to a good game..but Flight is not a good game.
The further into this interview I got, the more angry I got at Mr. Howard. I agree with the previous posters observation that Mr. Howard appears to not like simmers very much. I can assure Mr. Howard, the feeling is mutual. Good job by Tom over at AVSIM lobbing some good questions to Mr. Howard..it was actually quite a revealing interview when you wade through the corporate double-talk.
After reading it, I'm fairly certain that Flight will eventually sort of fizzle out as more and more people progressively check out of the pay for mediocre content scheme. Gamers won't find enough satisfaction in the lack of end level game bosses and most won't want to be along with their thoughts for that long. The type of person who will plunk down $40 for a 767 to fly between Nome and Honolulu is not the target audience for Flight..but oddly enough, is the exact person who WOULD be willing to pay for the opportunity. And, would also probably spend $1000 on additional content if it were "sim" quality.
It is an interesting direction that Flight has taken and while I'm not rooting for it to fail (which is hard to do after reading THAT interview), I'm not very confident that the "hook" of Flight is compelling enough. Of course, Flight's producers will blame it on those of us that took a critical eye..they will say our reviews and opinions put off the public and contributed to its failure. Don't believe that for a second though. Flight made its bed..now lets see who stays in it.