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End of Flight Sim?

Pro Member First Officer
Orion (ollyau) First Officer

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21981

January 22, 2009

Report: Microsoft Makes Big Cuts At Flight Sim Studio

Report: Microsoft Makes Big Cuts At Flight Sim Studio Redmond, Washington-based ACES Studio, the Microsoft-owned internal group behind the venerable Microsoft Flight Simulator series, has been heavily affected by Microsoft's ongoing job cuts.

Development sources have told Gamasutra that a large portion of the dev house's staff has been let go - with multiple reports indicating that the entire Flight Simulator team has been axed.

The Microsoft-owned Flight Simulator is possibly the game industry's longest-running continuous franchise.

The first Microsoft-branded version was released in 1982, and ongoing development stretches back over more than a quarter-century and twelve main versions.

The most recent version, Flight Simulator X, was released in 2006 and said to have been a success, with an expansion in 2007. A Microsoft representative had confirmed at that time that further editions of the game were in development.

Corroborating the reports, Twitter messages from collaborators of the Flight Simulator workers are claiming that the layoffs occurred earlier today, following Microsoft's announcement that it would immediately cut around 1,400 jobs.

The Flight Sim series is well-known not just for its official releases, but for its unusually dedicated fan base, which has produced copious amounts of user mods and resources for players.

Also in development at ACES Studio was Microsoft Train Simulator 2, the followup to Kuju's original 2001 game. The sequel was previously speculated to be releasing this year. Furthermore, ACES Studio was responsible for Microsoft ESP, a wide-ranging "visual simulation platform" based on Flight Simulator X technology.

The future of the three software lines in or out of house is unclear, particularly given how extensive the ACES Studio layoffs are said to be, but Gamasutra has contacted Microsoft for comment on the report.

Nooo!!!

This could be the end of Flight Simulator, Train Simulator, ESP, or anything from ACES...

😞

Edit: Just read a quote from Phil Taylor, previous Product Manager for ACES (he still has his connections). Source: http://www.sim-outhouse.com/sohforums/showthread.php?8794-Might-wanna-be-sitting-down-for-this-one&p=91637#post91637

it's a sad day, that is all I can say at this point.



Last edited by Orion (ollyau) on Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:58 am, edited 2 times in total
Pro Member First Officer
Bob (Traches) First Officer

Hey! your linky doesn't work.

Why would microsoft end FS? I can't see how it wouldn't be profitable... Suppose there's always x-plane; don't think that's dying anytime soon.

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

Sad? Interesting? Wait and see what the future will be.

Radar



Last edited by RadarMan on Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member First Officer
Orion (ollyau) First Officer

Sorry, just fixed the link.

Edit: The forum just doesn't like this link...

Pro Member Trainee
EdFishy Trainee

(copied from my post at Gamasutra)

Well, here's the thing. Flight Simulator X barely touched on the capabilities of DirectX 10 and Shader 4.0. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Level_Shader_Language for comparison between shader capabillities. )

Flight Simulator X's engine was based off of their antiquated 1998/2002 engine, and it seemed as though ACES studio was just going to recycle the same engine for Train Simulator 2 and Flight Simulator 11. I would love and prefer to see what a "fresh approach" and a next-gen engine coded from scratch could do for Flight Simulator.

If a team isn't contracted to make a new Flight Simulator within the next year or so, X-Plane or some other new competition will likely make efforts to fill Microsoft's void, and embrace the wayward FS community.

Pro Member Trainee
EdFishy Trainee

ACES has been confirmed to be shut down.

http://pc.ign.com/articles/947/947737p1.html?RSSwhen2009-01-23_103300&RSSid=947737

"Does this mean the end of the Flight Simulator franchise? According to Rericha, "We are committed to the Flight Simulator franchise which has proven to be a successful PC based game for the last 27 years. You should expect us to continue to invest in enabling great LIVE experiences on Windows, including flying games, but we have nothing specific to announce at this time."

"including flying games" does sound a little scary though.

Pro Member Trainee
shirke01 Trainee

This is rumor i heard was a smaller group of ex Aces Studio team members will go it alone with their own sim.Best wishes to the people who are laid off

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain
Pro Member First Officer
oldsamer First Officer

I don't see a reason for concern. After all, 3rd party developers are only now getting quality packages out for Vista/FS X. PC based FS X will remain popular as long as new add on content is available. I've advocated FS be ported for X-box. Seems a natural after seeing the graphics X-box is capable of.

My only question is, are 3rd party developers producing add on content for X-box games?

Pro Member First Officer
CaptDennison First Officer

I have read in several locations that Microsoft has basically fired everyone in the Flight sim department signalling the end of flight sims from them

Can this be true?

Development sources have told Gamasutra that a large portion of the dev house's staff has been let go - with multiple reports indicating that the entire Flight Simulator team has been axed.

The Microsoft-owned Flight Simulator is possibly the game industry's longest-running continuous franchise.

Microsoft also shut down ACES, the studio behind its long-running Flight Simulator title, let go of the bloggers behind its Xbox-centered Gamerscore blog (per Kotaku), and fired about 30 percent of its game testers (also via VentureBeat). The company plans to lay off as many as 5,000 employees by June 2010; these moves came as part of an initial round of 1,400 cuts.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2339520,00.asp

SCREW XBOX and consoles

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