My own impression of Flight

Archive: February 29, 2012

Where oh where to begin… Well for starters, I have just had my first experience with Flight which lasted about... well, a while let’s just say. I did the silly missions and listened to the instructor chick play her ukulele thing. Honestly, my impression of this platform is simply put. It’s a game. But do I like it? Well, in a word, yes. And I believe it is this feeling of mine that Microsoft was banking on. They are playing on my love for flying, my love that is… for flight.

Honestly, I don’t know if I should feel excited to have a new flying game or to feel as if I am being taken advantage of. Because Microsoft knows we will be attracted by the beautiful visuals and exciting aircraft. Perhaps their thought process was: the new person will be attracted to a new cool state of the art flying game while the advanced flight simmer will come because they love their flying so much, they won’t be able to say no.

Well I feel as if I am at a crossroads here. I purchased the Take on Helicopters game last year thinking and hoping it would be a cool realistic helicopter game only to find that there were no clickable buttons or switches in the virtual cockpit. I could barely even read the dials. I totally wasted my money there. ToH was simply a game and nothing more. So, I hung it up in the dark recesses of one of my 3 1TB external harddrives likely to never be seen again. 

With Flight, I already know it’s a game. It’s very much what I expected. What arouses my fear about Flight is its true potential. Now don’t get me wrong, ToH can very much be made into more of a simulator or “realistic game” and if Bohemia Interactive choose to do that, then I’ll be back on board. But with Flight, I already know it can quickly become a simulator. The default graphics is not bad at all but it needs serious improvement. For those of you who played the demo, just imagine REX, Ground Environment, Ultimate Terrain, FS Global, and add-ons from the likes of FSDT, ORBX, FlyTampa, Drzewiecki Design and Blueprint Simul… Oops no not them!! But just imagine all the high quality developers going to work on Flight. It really would be the simulation that could possibly make me fully fly above FS9. But even if these developers did improve upon Flight, there is still the 900 pound gorilla in the room, and that is the Windows Live Marketplace.

There is honestly no way in hell I’ll pay just to get to fly into a region in order to then pay again for the 3rd party add-ons to go with it. Honestly, what are they thinking over at Microsoft? I need to pay to fly into other parts of the world?? Damn the freedom of FS9 and FSX look good right now. There is just no way will I agree to this no matter how well it looks or how high my FPS gets (which was very high). 
So honestly my fear has turned into sadness. Because I know just how great this platform can be. I know that is very likely that it might be great. But I also know for me, it never will be. Not as long as I have to pay for such stupid things, and know that I will not be able to spend hours combing the sites for great freeware for it. Microsoft had built a Great Wall and as a simmer I need to pay tolls, and fees to get through that wall only to find another wall to pay to get over. And as a developer, knowing I have to pay and get licenses to develop for it only to be sold by Microsoft, a multibillion dollar company that will cut into my profits. I am not a developer but you get my point.

Many developers signed NDA’s from the very start and it honestly seems that most are not happy with this. Where I am shocked is that the people over at AVSIM seem to be pleased with Flight. Did they sell their soul to the proverbial devil that is Microsoft? Microsoft is paying AVSIM to advertise on their site… Flight, a platform that very well could see the end to the likes of AVSIM should it grabs hold of the FS market. I am quite very much confused here. But I digress. 

Microsoft Flight is a game. And as a game I like it. But it stops there for me. If FSDT can make their Hawaii airports avail for Flight with GSX or whatever then perhaps I’ll pay for the entire state of Hawaii so I actually can perform reasonable flights. But ultimately it’s my budget and the fact that I despise Flight for incorporating the Windows Live Marketplace into its modus operandi that will limit me from going any further with this game. As I continue to enjoy my completely free world in FS9 with my PMDG 747 at FSDT KJFK, or enjoy a nice Cessna cruise through the misty fjords in FSX. Only one thing is sure. Flight is not the future for me. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014 

Just 4 months later after I published the above article, in July of 2012, Microsoft decided to end development on Flight stating, “Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on Microsoft Flight, but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans. For Microsoft Flight, we will continue to support the community that has embraced the title and the game will still be available to download for free.”

Microsoft Press Release: Flight Shutdown Announcement

The Flight Community Team was able to support the game and the dedicated players who continued logging hours of virtual flight time over the years. However from time to time, Microsoft Studios has to revise our portfolio, taking into consideration multiple factors regarding the continuation of support for a title.

Microsoft Flight is scheduled to be grounded on October 14, 2014 at which time the multiplayer servers will be shutdown. This will affect online features, such as multiplayer and aerocaches; the single-player experience should remain largely intact.

As an industry leader and pioneer in the world of gaming, Microsoft will never forget the role Flight Simulator played shaping the company and contributing to its place of prominence in the video game industry. As the longest running software application published by Microsoft, pre-dating even the Windows Operating System, the popularity and success of the Flight Simulator brand will always be a crowning achievement and occupy a position of prestige and honor in the organization’s records. We remain committed to preserving the integrity of the brand while continuing to invest in our portfolio of PC games.

We realize some of you will have questions regarding this announcement, so we have compiled a short FAQ to address these concerns. You can find it below:

Can I join Flight if I am a new player?

No. Product keys are no longer being issued to new players.

Will I still be able to fly single player?

Yes! You will still be able to log in to your Games for Windows Live account and play.

Will I still be able to use DLC (i.e. Hawaiian Adventure or Maul M-7-260C)?

All previously purchased DLC will continue to work and will be available to re-download via the Games for Windows Live Marketplace.

Will I still be able to earn achievements?

While some achievements will no longer be obtainable, you should still be able to obtain any of the achievements related to offline play.

We sincerely thank the thousands of virtual pilots who have enjoyed the marvel of Flight and hope wherever your next flight takes you, your flight is safe and your landing smooth.

Final Thoughts

So now with Microsoft officially shutting down Flight, I am left wondering if this might have anything to do with the recent rumors, yes rumors, about a third party video game publisher purchasing the engine Flight was developed on. Certainly the timing is interesting. As for my future thoughts, Lockheed Martin is making great strides with the Prepar3D platform and as long as we have this team on our side, there will be plenty of life in the future of Flight Simulation. As for the rumors, if it turns out this all true and a new simulator is coming our way, I sincerely hope, it will not arrive with ulterior motives. 

Goodbye Microsoft. Thanks for all the years of fun, learning, discovery, and enjoyment. 

-D'Andre Newman