Posted 21 January 2010 - 11:56 PM
Captains-We have been reading some truly ridiculous statements in this forum during the past 72hrs regarding FS2004 vs. FSX development.I have stated PMDG's position on FS2004 a number of times, but it appears that some folks are under the misguided impression that there is a debate to be had on the topic.There isn't.As I have stated many times, PMDG has at our fingertips a wealth of data on current market trends for the entertainment flight simulator market. These trends for some time have been making it increasingly clear that the market for FS2004 customers is shrinking at an astonishing rate.When analyzing the sales data available to us, we are seeing trends that make it clear that the long-awaited migration from an FS2004 centric community to one centered on FSX started in May of 2009. This trend began to accelerate rapidly in September, and has continued during the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first two weeks of 2010, leading to year-over-year increases for FSX products, and very steep declines in demand for FS2004 products.The reasons for these trends, in our opinion, have everything to do with the steady advancement of computer hardware during the past three years combined with the performance gains seen in the conversion to Win7. In fact, the release of Win7 coincides with the VERY dramatic shift in sales performance of FSX products and a VERY dramatic decline in the sales of FS2004 products.With these trends in mind, let me be abundantly clear on two things:1) The future of an FS2004 based 737NG2 is doubtful at best. We will make this decision while the FSX version is in beta testing. While we do not doubt that some of you would be very interested in this product under FS2004, we are less and less certain that such a development cycle would recoup its own costs, especially when compared to the growing strength in FSX sales. One of the most critical factors that we will consider in this decision will be the projected costs in dollars and TIME to product this product in FS2004. I will be candid and tell you that right now, I am not comfortable sustaining FS2004 development- and this is based upon my review of 4Q09 trends and our considerable experience with development of complex add-ons. We will make a decision when the FSX version of this product is in beta testing, as that will allow us to evaluate against data that is current at the decision making time.2) Aside from the 737NG2.0, no other PMDG product announced or in development will be considered for the FS2004 platform. This means that the Dash-8, the 777 and the recently announced 747-8 Extension will be in FSX only. I am sorry if this was not clear in our announcement from Saturday- but this has been stated before in previous discussions, so we thought it was understood.Now- some folks (on both sides of the argument) have taken to becoming extremely emotional about this conversation. There is nothing emotional about the decision. It is based upon mathematics and economics.We have seen some folks write some really off-the-wall comments in this forum of late, accusing one another of being cheap, snobby, rich, poor, smart, stupid, etc. We have also seen some folks make up information and pretend to speak with some authority on our data-based decision making.ENOUGH. This forum is not a venue for such behavior- so please take it off-line. We are not interested in a debate about the merits of one simulator versus another- nor are we interested in a debate about whether we are making the right choice or not in consideration of your own opinion.When making decisions we must consider what is best for the long term vitality of PMDG, and this means evaluating information in a cold, detached manner.The numbers dictate the rules in the game of business- and the numbers DRAMATICALLY favor us simplifying our development process and focusing on the platform where our customers are heading.Does this mean that a percentage of you will not buy one or more future products? More than likely... But sentimentality will not keep the lights on, nor will it recover development costs for products that the market is communicating quite clearly that it does not want.So- once again, we will evaluate the future of FS2004 development as it relates to the 737NG2 in a few months. The major factors in this decision cannot be controlled by any argument here in the forum- they are controlled by the numbers we see in our systems- and MOST IMPORTANTLY by our assessment of the time and monetary costs associated with converting a project this complex to the older platform.
Robert S. Randazzo
Precision Manuals Development Group
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