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Microsoft Flight Is No More

More than 30 employees reportedly laid off, Vancouver studio still operational.

Though the excitement around flight simulators isn’t what it used to be (try telling that to Dave, Vinny or Drew, though), most folks agreed the revival of Microsoft Flight Simulator via Microsoft Flight was pretty great.

Unfortunately, the party’s over.

In a statement, Microsoft confirmed reports about the demise of Microsoft Flight and the unannounced Project Columbia. The result is apparently 35 employees laid off at the Microsoft Game Studios office in Vancouver.

Project Columbia was reportedly going to be a Kinect-enabled shooter.

The company said the Vancouver office is not being shut down, however.

Microsoft Studios has decided to end development on Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia. As a result of this action, some positions within the development teams have been eliminated. Microsoft human resources is working with the affected individuals to find new roles within the company.

Microsoft Studios is invested in British Columbia and still has several teams, both in Vancouver and Victoria, which will continue to produce the best entertainment and gaming experiences possible.

The free-to-play Microsoft Flight remains available for download at www.microsoftflight.com.

86 Comments
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Posted by mtcantor

@BurningStickMan said:

@mtcantor said:

THey should reboot the entire series. But this time it should be in space. And you should fight giant cat people.

"Microsoft Wing"?

Yeah! That's the ticket! But don't think small... think BIG! What if you could actually COMMAND that wing?

Also, as a side project, they could release a tie-in game where you took on odd jobs for different factions as a private pilot.

Posted by Ravenlight

@Megasoum said:

Now if they would have made a true successor to Flight Simulator X and put it on steam (and even better, with steam workshop support!) it would have sold a bunch. Sure in the end it's still a niche market but at least it's a market...

That sounds awesome! Why is this game not being made RIGHT NOW?

Edited by BluPotato

Awwww... his is bad new's I though MS Flight was a good intro for people who wanted to get into flight sims (like me)

I'm not sure if I can jump into an A10 situation.

Posted by fisk0

@patrickklepek: While it's sad, I'm not sure most really agreed with "most folks agreed the revival of Microsoft Flight Simulator via Microsoft Flight was pretty great.", I think both in the quicklook and most other places, people though it was a kinda competent beginner's flight sim, but with a really strange business model, and weird decisions all around. Like only 2 out of 7 of the already kinda overpriced DLC planes having a virtual cockpit. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in thinking the delight with flight sims is the feeling of being in a plane - complete with first person view of a scaringly complex dashboard with dials, gears, meters, MFD's and buttons all over the place. I would've thought that Microsoft's decision to finally give up on GFWL and release the game on Steam would've helped it, but all things considered, I'm not surprised the game failed to attract much of an audience.

Edited by fisk0

@mtcantor said:

@BurningStickMan said:

@mtcantor said:

THey should reboot the entire series. But this time it should be in space. And you should fight giant cat people.

"Microsoft Wing"?

Yeah! That's the ticket! But don't think small... think BIG! What if you could actually COMMAND that wing?

Also, as a side project, they could release a tie-in game where you took on odd jobs for different factions as a private pilot.

I love you guys, just had to put that out there. The commandeering of Wings was my favorite pastime throughout the 90's. On a related note, Microsoft did have their own space combat game franchise, made by the Wing Commander creator himself - Starlancer (and by extent, I guess, Freelancer). Though you fought space russians there.

Posted by Deusoma
@Sooty said:

@IceColdGamer said:

These free-to-play things are just a sad fad.

Couldn't be any more wrong if you tried.

Cheers, friend Sooty.  

Saying that a free-to-play game failed because it was free-to-play would be like saying that Final Fantasy XIV failed because it required a regular subscription fee. Ignoring anything that might be wrong with, you know, the actual game in favour of focusing on the pricing structure is a terribly silly way of placing blame.
Posted by l3illyl3ob

And now, Microsoft will try to say that it failed because people don't like flight sims anymore, instead of the much more obvious answer that it failed because Microsoft Flight was a poorly managed piece of trash with an awful "micro" payment structure.

Posted by cruxking

@Deusoma said:

@Sooty said:

@IceColdGamer said:

These free-to-play things are just a sad fad.

Couldn't be any more wrong if you tried.

Cheers, friend Sooty.

Saying that a free-to-play game failed because it was free-to-play would be like saying that Final Fantasy XIV failed because it required a regular subscription fee. Ignoring anything that might be wrong with, you know, the actual game in favour of focusing on the pricing structure is a terribly silly way of placing blame.

I don't agree that FTP games are a fad i think they're a big part of the industry now. But at the same time its just plain wrong to say that the fact that it was a free to play game had nothing to do with this. Because I can say with total confidence, Free to play games are almost always less polished and well put together than a game that you actually have to buy. I think that if Microsoft flight was developed as a $60 product we would have got a much better game, plain and simple.

Posted by zedman

This was always going to happen, I was never sure who it was designed for, as a long time flight simmer myself the no cockpit in most dlc planes and 'arcadey' feel to it, it had no interest to me at all and to people who aren't into planes and flight simms was never going to suddenly get into it. Why not just cater to the long time fans albeit small community of simmers and over charge us for flight sim 11 I would have paid a scary amount of money for a decent upgrade to fs10

Posted by geirr

If only they had huge, yellow ads bordering 40% of the interface when you played they could've stayed alive dammit!

Posted by AiurFlux

Microsoft Flight was neither a true simulator nor a revival of Microsoft Flight Simulator.

It was a stripped down, hollow, empty shell of what it used to be and it's a fucking shame that this is probably going to be the last we see of this series. It deserved much much better. But if one positive comes out of this at least there won't be another shitty Kinect game on store shelves. That's always nice to see.

Posted by ch3burashka

@IceColdGamer said:

Unfortunately knew this was coming. These free-to-play things are just a sad fad. Good luck finding some new jobs in the company duders.

Every other game, MMO or otherwise, that has gone free-to-play has reported record profits due to in-game purchases. This is an issue that goes beyond the monetization aspect, namely the genre itself.

Posted by Cameron

I've only played a few hours of it, but it was just boring as all hell to me. The planes were super slow and the missions were pretty boring. Even if they didn't want to get into big planes, they could have thrown in some small jets. Maybe I'm just not cut out for flight sims, but if that's the case, then I imagine a casual player would be even less cut out for them, which makes the whole idea of this product crazy.

Posted by Marshermallow

This is disappointing thought this was an alright introduction to flight sims, and I was planning on using it to start my flight sim career

Posted by Bunny_Fire

Well judging by this there will be no more MS flight simulator titles i saw flight as a way for them to try and test the waters. But with the serious lack of actual company support flight received ... and the really bad decisions that managment undertook it just looks as if they were planning to kill it off anyway.

I enjoyed flight I played it a lot... I enjoy FSX i play that equally as much a flight ...

Posted by BurningStickMan

@mtcantor said:

@BurningStickMan said:

@mtcantor said:

THey should reboot the entire series. But this time it should be in space. And you should fight giant cat people.

"Microsoft Wing"?

Yeah! That's the ticket! But don't think small... think BIG! What if you could actually COMMAND that wing?

Also, as a side project, they could release a tie-in game where you took on odd jobs for different factions as a private pilot.

Think BIG, huh? Well... ahh... well... ok, how about if it starred Mark Hamill and "Biff" from Back to the Future!

No, wait, no... that's not BIG, that's just silly.

Edited by Brackynews

@BurningStickMan said:

Think BIG, huh? Well... ahh... well... ok, how about if it starred Mark Hamill and "Biff" from Back to the Future!

No, wait, no... that's not BIG, that's just silly.

They should get that guy from LOST, he seems really authoritative. Looks good in a coat. Wossisname... Candle? No, Halliwax...? No that's not right either...

@fisk0: Nein herr Fisk! By Freelancer the Russians had made way for Space Germans.;)

Posted by Poppduder

I'm really disappointed with this news. I think if they put out more planes even for a few hundred microsoft points less, that would have helped. 20 bucks for hawaii and alaska respectively was fine, but 8-15 dollars for planes and only like 4 planes with full cockpits was ridiculous. I guess we wont be getting the helicopters that are hinted at in some of the challenges. Nor do I think we'll get a plane that will get up to sr-71's altitude.

Posted by CaptRocketblaze

Good thing the Flight Club moved over to DCS: World. Figurative bullet dodged, virtual bullets to come.

Posted by 617_jbug
Edited by Winsord

I quite enjoyed MS Flight, but I didn't end up picking up any of the DLC. For me, it was mostly just that I needed more base-content to keep me interested, but with some of the DLC planes not having cockpit views and the like, I just couldn't be bothered to sift through that stuff. For as much fun as MS Flight was though, I feel like I'd probably just pick up MFSX if I were to ever buy a flight stick. Glad to hear that they're not just flat out firing everyone though, and rather just looking to move them around within Microsoft.

Also, can't say I'm terribly heartbroken about Project Columbia being cancelled. I have a really hard time believing any Kinect shooter could be compelling and/or not horribly broken like Steel Battalion.

Posted by envane

@zedman: yeah :/ id buy an engine update for fsx to "fs11" at the drop of a hat. heck thats mainly why i even supported this game .. there were soem fun mission elements , and after they added trackir suppot i had a bit more fun ..and lets face it the seamless ui/freeflight/mission and always on multiplayer were a good thing ... something id like to see in further flight sims ... felt alot less jarring and clunky than fsx.

Although it all makes sense now , with the devlopers working in BC , that the only real goal in the game is to get stoned and fly around admiring the skyboxes and landscapes.

ohwell ..lets hope dcs world actually becomes a game and doesnt crash and burn now after biting off way more than they can chew

Posted by subyman

That's too bad. The initial game was good, but they kept adding war birds without interiors, so the flight sim guys left in droves only leaving the casuals, which don't particularly care to stick with flight games. At least they got alaska out before shutting down.

Posted by eccentrix

Aw, I liked that game. And I still don't understand why people don't like GFWL.

Posted by dagas

The 90's was the time of flight games. I loved the Novalogic games of the late 90's.

Edited by Khann

Good.

Looks like people voting with their wallets was a success. Put out poorly-produced, overpriced DLC in a casual F2P game that nobody wanted and your game will fail.

Unfortunate that people lost their jobs, but blame that on higher ups that fucking suck at knowing/delivering what people want.

Posted by scottygrayskull

That's a bummer, but at least they're trying to avoid any job losses.

Posted by atomic_dumpling

@Forum_User said:

@IceColdGamer said:

Unfortunately knew this was coming. These free-to-play things are just a sad fad.

Yeah, TF2 and League of Legends are due to stop making money any day now.

TF2 already made more than enough money during its original run. I see it as a unique case that should not be lumped together with "proper" free-to-play games concocted by marketing people with dollar signs for eyes.

However, I agree that both subscription based MMOs and F2P games are pretty much a recipe for financial failure at this juncture. I am frankly puzzled why publishers keep insisting on pushing those outdated concepts. The argument that those games generate enough money "just 'cause" is simply not valid anymore (if it ever was). The Old Republic debacle was completely foreseeable, too. MMOs are simply done, even WOW is barely holding on to its subscribers. Only the most cheaply produced games are still going to turn in an acceptable profit if they manage to fool enough people into paying for stuff. But the masses are not that dumb anymore.

Posted by selbie

Good riddance. Microsoft completely butchered a potentially awesome sim community that could encourage newbies with easy mechanics while also supporting the pros with all the sim bells and whistles they could ask for including official community mods.

Edited by Forum_User

@atomic_dumpling said:

@Forum_User said:

@IceColdGamer said:

Unfortunately knew this was coming. These free-to-play things are just a sad fad.

Yeah, TF2 and League of Legends are due to stop making money any day now.

TF2 already made more than enough money during its original run. I see it as a unique case that should not be lumped together with "proper" free-to-play games concocted by marketing people with dollar signs for eyes.

However, I agree that both subscription based MMOs and F2P games are pretty much a recipe for financial failure at this juncture. I am frankly puzzled why publishers keep insisting on pushing those outdated concepts. The argument that those games generate enough money "just 'cause" is simply not valid anymore (if it ever was). The Old Republic debacle was completely foreseeable, too. MMOs are simply done, even WOW is barely holding on to its subscribers. Only the most cheaply produced games are still going to turn in an acceptable profit if they manage to fool enough people into paying for stuff. But the masses are not that dumb anymore.

I can assure you that free-to-play is not a "just a sad fad," which is what IceColdGamer said. In fact, we're only beginning to see a significant number of games do free-to-play intelligently. It's easy to point out certain free-to-play games that don't do well and say that the model is destined for failure, but by that kind of logic, I can say the same thing about traditional boxed games, because there's a ton of those that don't live up to expectations. That so many studios have been in financial trouble over the last several years has nothing to do with free-to-play, seeing as how most of them weren't making free-to-play games. It has more to do with the ever-escalating cost of game production.

And if TF2 isn't a good enough example for you, then how about Tribes: Ascend? Not everything needs to be a mega-hit to be a successful product. A lot of people seem to have this perception that free-to-play games are not very profitable, but in fact, the reason that more companies are making them is that the ones that people like and keep going back to actually tend to be extremely profitable.

MMOs aren't anywhere near done. New MMOs that mostly just ape WoW's structure are probably just about done, however.

Oh yeah, there is another factor to free-to-play games that I often forget: Most free-to-play games are online games, and piracy (making crappy pirate servers which do not offer the same experience, in this case) has little impact on them. People also seem to be a lot more willing to accept a required internet connection if the game is free. (What are they going to do? Say they're not buying it?) That's the part nobody is talking about publicly.

Posted by mtcantor

@BurningStickMan said:

@mtcantor said:

@BurningStickMan said:

@mtcantor said:

THey should reboot the entire series. But this time it should be in space. And you should fight giant cat people.

"Microsoft Wing"?

Yeah! That's the ticket! But don't think small... think BIG! What if you could actually COMMAND that wing?

Also, as a side project, they could release a tie-in game where you took on odd jobs for different factions as a private pilot.

Think BIG, huh? Well... ahh... well... ok, how about if it starred Mark Hamill and "Biff" from Back to the Future!

No, wait, no... that's not BIG, that's just silly.

No no! That's a great idea! What would be silly is if they could also get Malcolm McDowell and John Rhys Davies.

Edited by Uberdubie

@fatpat268 said:

@R3DT1D3 said:

1) Make sequel stripped of all the features past fans liked

2) Use GWFL

3) Fail to advertise to supposed casual target audience

4) Get shut down

Surprised it took this long to be honest.

Yup, pretty much this. Microsoft Flight was ultimately an insult to us who played the previous flight simulators for thousands of hours in the past. MS Flight was just a half assed effort (evidenced by the lack of modeled cockpits in dlc planes) in order to make a quick buck.

You two both nailed it. Regardless of F2P, this product was a watered-down mockery of what originally made the series great. I still love FSX, and the incredibly detailed world it provided me endless hours with. That's right. The title that came *before* MS Flight was not set in a measly couple of US states, but the entire WORLD in similar detail. Heck, it even had my tiny hometown in Pennsylvania in great detail (landmarks, tiny airport and all), which I was pleasantly shocked by. Not to mention it had a ton of planes all with functional cockpits (as one should expect).

Wow, I can't believe this game failed!! *rolly eyes*

Posted by buft

My main problem with the game was that even when i bought one of the planes i was still unable to do a lot of the missions which seemed to all revolve around needing a plane that could carry x amount of cargo or passengers, i tried it out for a while and i liked the way it played especially since i only have a control pad to use. shame it wasnt more engaging.

Posted by nothingreal

Flight failed because they messed up the execution - not because it wasn't 'hard core' enough. They launched a half-done product, followed it up with a steady stream of planes without cockpits - which is insanity - and failed to finish the much-hyped Alaska before they crapped it out for a low, apologetic price point. Their DLC store was empty, so even if you wanted to buy more aircraft, missions etc.. you couldn't. It's a shame, because the underlying engine behind Flight is very, very good, it just wasn't put to use. It's like someone took them to Laguna Seca, tossed them the keys to a GT-R and they drove along the edge of the track for half a lap at 20MPH, wetting their pants and crying.

Posted by BurningStickMan

@mtcantor said:

@BurningStickMan said:

@mtcantor said:

@BurningStickMan said:

@mtcantor said:

THey should reboot the entire series. But this time it should be in space. And you should fight giant cat people.

"Microsoft Wing"?

Yeah! That's the ticket! But don't think small... think BIG! What if you could actually COMMAND that wing?

Also, as a side project, they could release a tie-in game where you took on odd jobs for different factions as a private pilot.

Think BIG, huh? Well... ahh... well... ok, how about if it starred Mark Hamill and "Biff" from Back to the Future!

No, wait, no... that's not BIG, that's just silly.

No no! That's a great idea! What would be silly is if they could also get Malcolm McDowell and John Rhys Davies.

Dude, you are HIGH.

Posted by ghostNPC

Non-stop job losses. This is crazy.