Microsoft Flight Simulator series grounded after layoffs

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Screenshot from Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004, an older version of the series

The future of Microsoft's Flight Simulator series is uncertain after the company fired all of Flight Simulator's developers this January. Microsoft still insists that it is "committed" to the series, although the ACES studio, which develops the simulator, was closed when the company shed 5000 jobs.

Nels Anderson, the founder of FlightSim.com, a MSFS enthusiast website, called it a "dark day" for the simulation market. "Microsoft have apparently cancelled a 27 year franchise. Flight sims were one of the few things about Microsoft people actually liked. It made them money and had an enormous following. To cancel something like that is an amazing thing to do," he said in an interview with the BBC.

Derek Davis, who is the editor of the PC Pilot Magazine, however, said that there could be a bright side to the news: "I don't know what the eventual fate of Microsoft's Flight Simulator series will be, but I think we're going to see a rise in sales and an increase in third-party development. There is now some stability to be had — we're all going to be using FSX for some time — and that is going to make it far easier for developers to produce new aircraft," he said. Flight Simulator X (FSX) is the current edition in the series.

The Flight Simulator series is possibly the longest-running computer game series ever, with the first version of the game released back in 1982. It is known, not only for its official releases, but also for its dedicated fan base, which has produced large amounts of third-party addons for the game.

Prior to the dissolution of the ACES studio, an eleventh version of Flight Simulator was planned for release in about a year and a half. Also in development at the studio at the time of its closure was Microsoft Train Simulator 2, which was expected to be released this year.


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