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Thread: Bit of interesting News about the future of ACES--READ!!!

  1. #91
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    Whatever the reason, my pity also goes out to all the staff just made redundant. No chance of you all getting together and going indie? No, M*crosoft wouldn't allow it...
    I fly through the valley of death, but I fear no evil,for I am at 80,000 feet and climbing. Let's powerdive and scare that poor soul in that Ultralight there.

  2. #92

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    In my experience - and I stress, in my experience - games that have developer tools available for them have a lifecycle that is far in excess of anything that the developers could possibly have hoped for. As well as Flight Simulator, I am a fan of CRPGs (computer role playing games). Some of those CRPGs are ten years and more old and still have a large active fanbase developing for them (me, for one). Given that the userbase for FS is almost certainly markedly much larger than any userbase in any of those CRPGs, I believe that we are looking at a minimum lifespan of at least another ten years for FS(X).

    Someone mentioned that the only two flight simulators currently left are X-Plane and FlightGear. There is another in development and every now and again a bit more information leaks out about it and that is Nomissoft's Airline Simulator 3. The developer is sensibly keeping very tight-lipped about it and there is very little information available but it does have its own website:

    www.simpilot.net

    However, before you rush over there, I stress that there is very little information about it.

    -Dai

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo112 View Post
    The same way it caused Aces to fold up because it wasn't generating viable revenue. Throughout the history of the franchise which is 20+ years we've seem hard times in the economy. Never was it a consideration of Microsoft to shut down FS's development. I don't care who's top ten list FSX was on the fact is it sold poorly on the market compared to previous versions and therefore caused the whole development department to get disbanded.

    If FSX was selling as well as some of you think Microsoft would have kept it around and we'd have a new version to look forward to. The FS community's split between the two sims really hurt FSX's sales. You can argue top ten lists all you want but it's apparent why Aces is no longer with us...
    This is rank speculation, it isnt sales that were behind MGS exec management canning the entire studio. Quit trying to act like you know what happened.

    Aces had "internal issues" in trying to develop 3 releases simultaneously ( TS2, ESP2, FS11 ) with current resources and had a schedule change as a result, note the slip in TS2 delivery. This wasnt helped with the head count freeze that came down last August in MGS as part of the exec changes, nixing adding more resources. The switch in MGS exec management after Don Matrick came in ( Shane Kim out, Phil Spencer in ) also didnt help from a relationship angle as Shane had been there for a while and had a relationship with Aces management.

    Net-net this meant MGS exec management lost confidence in Aces studio management because of the schedule change and asking for more heads. Then the dictate to cut heads came down. So do you keep the team that missed their date and asked for more resources, or keep the teams that have been quietly executing? Thus they were easier to tag; eg the squeeky wheel got greased. Its really just a case of bad timing for the studio, given another year they would have been executing smoothly and had releases imminent.
    http://www.futuregpu.net
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  4. #94

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    Many thanks for some definitive information Phil. I've seen that scenario happen myself with a (formerly and futurely) profitable division getting chopped because it was in the wrong hole at the wrong time and the parent wasn't willing to help it through the current bad time.

    -Dai

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilTaylor View Post
    This is rank speculation, it isnt sales that were behind MGS exec management canning the entire studio. Quit trying to act like you know what happened.

    Aces had "internal issues" in trying to develop 3 releases simultaneously ( TS2, ESP2, FS11 ) with current resources and had a schedule change as a result, note the slip in TS2 delivery. This wasnt helped with the head count freeze that came down last August in MGS as part of the exec changes, nixing adding more resources. The switch in MGS exec management after Don Matrick came in ( Shane Kim out, Phil Spencer in ) also didnt help from a relationship angle as Shane had been there for a while and had a relationship with Aces management.

    Net-net this meant MGS exec management lost confidence in Aces studio management because of the schedule change and asking for more heads. Then the dictate to cut heads came down. So do you keep the team that missed their date and asked for more resources, or keep the teams that have been quietly executing? Thus they were easier to tag; eg the squeeky wheel got greased. Its really just a case of bad timing for the studio, given another year they would have been executing smoothly and had releases imminent.
    Thanks Phil for giving us some information as to what happened. Usually when corporations cut back it's due to overspending on things that aren't producing a return.

    So Phil is it true that FSX was actually selling with good numbers? It would be interesting to know how better than FS9 in it's two year period but that's a long shot. We can talk about internal strife all we want to but the bottom line is this doesn't pass the smell test. I find it hard to believe a money making product/franchise would be discontinued for political reasons alone. Deadlines are missed daily by corporations look at the delay in Windows Vista (which actually helped in creating the condition FSX was released under anyway). Even though the OS example is probably a bad example as Microsoft's OS is it's main money maker just the same a company doesn't close down whole franchises for missed quotas and internal strife...
    Last edited by Leo112; 01-25-2009 at 03:43 PM.

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  6. #96
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    Hmmmm. Don't get me wrong, but if that's what had happened with any other company, Phil, then this would tell me they were in trouble. Manically trying to cut heads to stay afloat is an act of the desperate.

    Now of course, Microsoft is not in any sort of financial trouble(It's software is used billions of times a day) but I wonder what went through the minds of the execs behind this.

    Thanks for giving us some info.
    I fly through the valley of death, but I fear no evil,for I am at 80,000 feet and climbing. Let's powerdive and scare that poor soul in that Ultralight there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo112 View Post
    Thanks Phil for giving us some information as to what happened. Usually when corporations cut back it's due to overspending on things that aren't producing a return.

    So Phil is it true that FSX was actually selling with good numbers? It would be interesting to know how better than FS9 before it or should I say it's market performance at a two years point compared to previous efforts? We can talk about internal strife all we want to the bottom line I'd like to know is was FSX actually generating a decent profit. I find it hard to believe a money making product/franchise would be discontinued for political reasons alone. Deadlines are missed daily by corporations look at the delay in Windows Vista. Even though that's a bad example as Microsoft's OS is it's main money maker just the same a company doesn't close down whole franchises for missed quotas alone...
    yes, FSX had made a profit and sold better than FS9.

    yes, profit-sharing royalty checks had been distributed to the team indicating enough profit had been made to share.

    yes, the last ship date was > 1 year ago ( expansion pack ), with the main ship date > 2 years ago

    yes, we are in a "what have you done for me lately" business.

    yes, the studio had shown recent weakness.

    yes, exec calls are often political.

    oh, and yes heads eventually rolled over Windows Vista, with Allchin and Valentine being the top of the list.
    http://www.futuregpu.net
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Jevans View Post
    Hmmmm. Don't get me wrong, but if that's what had happened with any other company, Phil, then this would tell me they were in trouble. Manically trying to cut heads to stay afloat is an act of the desperate.

    Now of course, Microsoft is not in any sort of financial trouble(It's software is used billions of times a day) but I wonder what went through the minds of the execs behind this.

    Thanks for giving us some info.
    this sure looks like it has played out like a bad Hollywood movie to me.

    responsible companies and responsible execs give out guidance on earnings misses early and dont wait till the day of the earnings disclosure, for instance. Intel, AMD, nVidia, etc all gave guidance on shortfalls well ahead of time.

    and yes, it looks like some of these layoffs are indeed a rush to judgement. whoever looked weak at the time, without a thought to the long-term, was put on the chopping block.
    http://www.futuregpu.net
    ex Lead PM, Core Platform, Aces
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  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilTaylor View Post
    yes, FSX had made a profit and sold better than FS9.

    yes, profit-sharing royalty checks had been distributed to the team indicating enough profit had been made to share.

    yes, the last ship date was > 1 year ago ( expansion pack ), with the main ship date > 2 years ago

    yes, we are in a "what have you done for me lately" business.

    yes, the studio had shown recent weakness.

    yes, exec calls are often political.

    oh, and yes heads eventually rolled over Windows Vista, with Allchin and Valentine being the top of the list.
    Very interesting... Are there any write ups about all this in various blogs we can read. With so much going on I'm sure people have complained somewhere. I don't mean to be anal but I still can't believe this possible with the 20+ year history of Flight Simulator. With all this going on I'm sure there's blogs somewhere where people have spoke out about the internal problems surrounding Vista and the various gaming departments. You make it sound like a complete unraveling of the Microsoft organization. If that's the case this will affect us far beyond Flight Simulator and I'm sure many of us would want a heads up on this. So any write ups you can point us to would be great. I can't just take your word for it concerning a 20+ year franchise suddenly going away without any warning. There seems to be much more to this story...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo112 View Post
    Very interesting... Are there any write ups about all this in various blogs we can read. With so much going on I'm sure people have complained somewhere. I don't mean to be anal but I still can't believe this possible with the 20+ year history of Flight Simulator. With all this going one I'm sure there's blogs somewhere where people have spoke out about the internal problems surrounding Vista and the various gaming department. You make it sound like a complete unraveling of the Microsoft organization. If that's the case this will affect us far beyond Flight Simulator and I'm sure many of us would want a heads up on this. So any write ups you can point us to would be great. I can't just take your word for it concerning a 20+ year franchise suddenly going away without any warning. There seems to be much more to this story...
    the stories about Vista abound. it is no news that Jim Allchin retired and Brian Valentine was re-assigned and then left to Amazon. google is your friend.

    the stories about the issues Aces faced over the last year that I mention *are* news. news that I am telling you, right now, hot off the presses. but pieces of it are not news, for instance the exec switch in MGS, was reported on gamedaily http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/ne...-leaves/?biz=1.

    how all that wraps together with schedule misses ( it is also no news that TS2 got delayed ) and the other bits - I have no reason to lie, and I have been pretty straight up with the community. you will just have to trust me that this is indeed what I know and how I see it played out.
    http://www.futuregpu.net
    ex Lead PM, Core Platform, Aces
    Now LRB Title Wrangler, Intel

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