Those of you who are following social media will probably know about PMDG’s Announcement on AvSim and FroogleSim’s News on YouTube. If you do not, then continue reading!
To sum these two articles up, it seems that developers for the sim will be forced to sell their creations via Dove Tail’s Steam Channel only. You can sell via your own website, but only after the addon are listed in on steam as well. This may not sound like a bad thing, but if one considers that Steam takes 30% of the sale value in revenue and that Dove Tail will also be deducting 30%, then that leaves the author with only 40% of his total income!
As a developer, we take these kinds of losses into account when we allow online shops to sell our products, but loosing 60% is not funny! Microsoft tried a similar approach in 2012 with Flight by cutting the developers out of the package all together. They announced the failure of the package five months later due to a lack of interest, but we all know that they did not make the money they had hoped for! Microsoft Flight was released on 29 February 2012 and the project cancelled and withdrawn from sale on 25 July 2012.
The only reason simulator packages like Flight Simulator 2004 and Flight Simulator X is lasting this long as due of the sheer amount of addons available for it. Flight Simulator X was cancelled eight years ago in January 2009 and it is still going strong! Lockheed Martin foreseen this and the first thing they did when they bought the code for Flight Simulator X was to get the developers on their side to develop addons for them. That is probably why the Academic Licence is not strictly enforced. People buy the Academic version to fly for fun and they buy addons which makes the Prepar3D package more competitive. They have done quite well for themselves, entering the market in 2012 with nothing and establishing themselves as a market leader only a few years later!
Dove Tail will probably follow the same business plan with FS World as with Train Sim which is to make the base package available cheaply and then cashing in on the addons which is rather expensive. They do say that every user must build the experience he likes and that probably means that you will have to pick an aircraft you are interested in build around that as you will not have the funds to experiment like in other Flight Sims!
A lot of emphasis are being placed on the General Aviation side of things. Airliners are mentioned, but no final decision has been made if these will be included in the base package or not. Helicopters are not mentioned at all.
The question is probably what we are going to do. Robert Randazzo of PMDG has summed it up pretty good by saying that unless Dove Tail changes their business model by allowing us to sell our creations on our own, they will not be supporting their FS World package at all.
We will continue to support Prepar3D and X-Plane, but Flight Simulator X including the Steam version is getting old and we will need to consider the possibility of retiring support for these packages. If Lockheed Martin is going to bring in support for 64-bit with their next version of Prepar3D, then airport packages will become so detailed that Flight Simulator X will not be able to run them.
We suppose that only time will tell!