Compared to the rest of the IT industry, Gaming Industry and other Tech Communities, Flight Simming has been quite a slow moving peaceful enclave.
But it’s about to get one of the biggest shake ups it’s ever had.
The back story is that Microsoft virtually invented and owned the hobby between 1995 and 2012. Then they suddenly ditched it overnight in 2012, leaving both it’s customers and a whole supply chain of hardware manufacturers and add on developers quite seriously in the lurch. Luckily there was Laminar Research’s X-Plane, which strongly supported open source development of add ons. And also Lockheed Martin spotted a loophole in the licencing terms of Microsoft’s last major Flight Sim release “FSX” - they exploited the loophole to develop FSX into “Prepared 3D” or P3d as we call it.
And for the last 8 years the Flight Sim community has chugged along reasonably well with these two main alternatives. Until now.
We’ve known since June 2019 that it was coming, and it’s caused a really nasty schizm within the normally fairly docile community. And to me, it’s a really interesting indicator of how well Microsoft is behaving in regards to developers, customers and communities.
Firstly, it has issued NDAs like confetti to anybody who’s been given any insight into it’s development. It’s been very cagy about it’s online worlds, and how it’s going to interact with established online environments like VATSIM, IVAO et al. It has also been absolutely brutal in it’s marketing and pre release hype. The standard of eye candy and promises it’s made have been overkill. But it’s been very difficult to understand what level of hardware and internet bandwidth is required to run it. Also what standards apply to smaller airfields, less popular areas of scenery and the default aircraft that will be the only things to fly in the first few months.
It gets general release on August 18th. But the forums and Facebook groups have already been raging with controversy.