• Products of the Year: 2004

    Products of The Year 2004

    By Mad Max Merlin

    2004 was a boffo year for flightsim payware products. Looking back over the flood of amazing add-ons, outstanding utilities, impressive hardware and sensational scenery that came to market last year; it's a tough job to whittle it all down to one top product of the year in each category. So, I polled my colleagues on the FlightSim.Com home front and we came up with this year's list of  the best-of-the-best payware products that every flightsimmer should have.

    Tough Criteria, Hard Choices

    We scoured the flightsim world to find the very best products that offer solid value. After all, this stuff isn't free and we feel that if flightsimmers are going to shell out hard-earned cash, they should get only the very best in return. In order to be crowned Product of the Year it ins category, these winners had to meet the following criteria:

    • Added Value. Add-on does not always mean "worth adding on." In order to win the coveted POY 2004 award, the payware had to truly enhance the flightsimmer's experience. The airplanes had to be better than the stock aircraft that come with FS2004. And that's a tall order on a good day.

    • Unique. The payware had to have some unique new spin on the simulation experience.

    • Product Quality. Hardware had to be robust and not flimsy. Software had to be easy-to-install and use. Add-on aircraft hand to be a snap to install, reliable and easy to use.

    • Quality of the Company That Makes It. Each publisher, developer, manufacturer was evaluated on a multi-point scale for customer care and tech support. We didn't just look for companies where there was never a tech support or customer service issue, but how companies handled it when those issue came up (which they ALWAYS do). Did they respond well to the customer? Was the technical support accurate and did it solve the issue to the customer's complete satisfaction. And above all else, were they prompt and courteous. We even did Secret Shopper tests throughout the year to test each vendor from the customer's perspective. Lots opf companies talk the talk, to win POY 2004 status, they needed to walk the walk, too.

    • Price. Was the product priced right? Did it deliver value above and beyond the price. Did the company offer incentives and other bonuses to buyers?

    And The Winners Are...

    Payware Category Product of the Year 2004 Winner
    Accessories eDimensional and NaturalPoint for the TrackIR3 and Vector Expansion
    Aircraft:  Long Haul  Jet Airliner Captain Sim for the Legendary Boeing 707
    Aircraft:  Short Haul Jet Airliner Flight One and DreamFleet for the Boeing 727
    Aircraft:  Turboprop Airliner Flight One for the ATR-72-500
    Aircraft:  General Aviation Jet Eaglesoft for the Cessna Citation X
    Aircraft:  Modern General Aviation
    Piston Prop Twin
    Flight One for the Cessna 421C Golden Eagle
    Aircraft:  Modern General Aviation
    Piston Prop Single Engine
    Australian Simulations for the Piper Warrior III
    Aircraft:  Modern General Aviation
    Turboprop Twin
    Flight One for the Cessna 441 Conquest II
    Aircraft:  Modern General Aviation
    Turboprop Single Engine
    Flight One for the Piper Meridian
    Aircraft:  Jet Fighter or Bomber Captain Sim for the Legendary F-104 Starfighter
    Aircraft:  Vintage Warbird Shockwave Productions for the Wings of Power Collection B-17
    Computer System Alienware for the Area 51, Aurora and ALX desktop and notebook PCs
    Flight Controller CH Products for the USB Throttle Quadrant
    Scenery:  VFR PC Aviator for MegaScenery Volumes 1, 2 and 3
    Scenery:  Feature Enhancement Flight One for USA Roads
    Traffic Flight One for Ultimate Traffic
    Utility eDimensional for Voice Buddy 2:  The Flightsim Collection Editions with Audio FX Headset

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