Jump to content

P3D V4 Plan


DJBlacklight

Recommended Posts

DJBlacklight

Hi, I was looking to buy the FSLabs today but wondering about if we will have to buy it again if/when a new version of P3D comes out

I have seen some companies have said they wont be charging again for software when a new version comes out but wanted to check on the A320 to see if we will need to buy it again or what the FSLabs stance is on this?

Link to comment
Wayne George

I would like to know this as well but i really hope we won't have to. I am really praying the devs work with us on this and won't charge because some of us can't really afford another $100

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras

We have not (yet) issued any official statement on a rumored version of P3D v4.

As an aside - and with all the speculation this might include - why is everyone having zero issues paying full price for the actual simulator platform (which, if judging from v2 to v3, was an upgrade really) but there is begging and nagging for add-on upgrades to be free when there is significant work to be done to make add-on products compatible with new versions?

Do people think that all it involves is a simple rebuild of the product?

  • Like 4
Link to comment
12 minutes ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

We have not (yet) issued any official statement on a rumored version of P3D v4.

As an aside - and with all the speculation this might include - why is everyone having zero issues paying full price for the actual simulator platform (which, if judging from v2 to v3, was an upgrade really) but there is begging and nagging for add-on upgrades to be free when there is significant work to be done to make add-on products compatible with new versions?

Do people think that all it involves is a simple rebuild of the product?

I think you guys better fix those bugs before charge for upgrade, thx.

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Günter Steiner
59 minutes ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

why is everyone having zero issues paying full price for the actual simulator platform (which, if judging from v2 to v3, was an upgrade really) but there is begging and nagging for add-on upgrades to be free when there is significant work to be done to make add-on products compatible with new versions?

  I don't know if it is a real question, but if so, I try to answer:

 

when you sell one of the most expensive addons on the market (I do not say it isn't worth the price), just during the period when a new P3D version is announced to be out soon and already in beta, it seems to be legit to know as customer if one will be charged twiced.

The other point is, that you charge your price for over 6 years of development and making your addon running on 64 bit is not a task of doing all that work again. I'm sure nobody refuses a small upgrade fee, say, 10 to 15$,

but on the other hand: you sold the P3D v3 version at a time that is was clear that the next version of P3D will be 64 bit ... other companies have known that also a long time ago, so I assume you - as an efficient businessman - have already streamlined your code that a 64bit conversion shouldn't be a too big harm, or?

 

My personal opinion is: I have learned my lesson from switching from FSX to P3D where some developers charged more then the full price and others made the conversion free. And I know from the technical point, that there is surely no reason for charging the full price - upgrade fee ok, but not the full price or more.

 

So, I hope also, that FSLabs is such an efficient company that a conversion to P3D v4 64 bit could be done for free - anything else would make me very wonder.

thanks

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras

Dear Guenter,

thank you for a well-thought-out and respectfully offered response.

I generally agree with your opinion and it's obvious that we shared the same when we decided to offer our upgrade pricing from FSX to P3D, going "against the current" that was so far prevalent with other high-end add-ons.

My question, however, is focused not so much on our add-on product pricing, but more so on the P3D "absence of upgrade pricing". Everyone seems to accept the fact that new versions of sim platforms simply offer enhancements and modifications compared to the previous version - historically speaking:

I am not yet privy to what v4 brings (or possibly not allowed to discuss it ;) ), but if LM are smart, they will not reinvent the wheel and their focus will be to keep 90-95% of the platform identical to take advantage of the existing add-on ecosystem, while making necessary adaptations to modernize the underlying infrastructure - i.e. making it 64-bit and working on supporting current graphics models - yet customers accept having to pay full price again for these new versions.

This happened with every sim platform release, going back to FS1. They all charged full price - I don't recall a case where there were upgrade offers to switch from FS2000 to FS2002, to FS2004, to FSX, to P3D, to P3D v2, v3 etc.

Yet, everyone seems to accept that this is a normal business practice - and I agree: The companies that develop the sim platforms are required to do so in order to recoup their investment costs and the salaries going into their development and support.

However, while the customer readily accepts this long-standing traditional business model with the sim platform, they are not so ready to do so with add-on products - customers do not seem to realize that pricing of add-on products is based on the same cost structure so they expect that upgrades should be offered free-of-charge or at a small fraction of the original add-on product's price, even if the changes required to produce this compatibility, while simultaneously working on updates that are already promised to be free-of-charge, are sometimes not only *very significant and extensive* but also desired in a much smaller development time-frame so as not to lose market share: Most add-on developers start the compatibility work when a new sim platform goes beta - IF they are lucky and/or have cultivated a close relationship with the simulator producers so as to be granted early access - and are required to release at, or closely after the release of the new sim platform version. This very frequently means working double shifts, overtimes, nights, weekends to allow for such a compressed development period - only to keep receiving complaints about how the compatibility update "has to be free or very cheap because it was a very expensive product to begin with".

Add-on development is a niche market - if sim platforms recoup their development costs by selling 100 copies of a product, add-ons generally only sell a small fraction of that number and complexity expected and required by the customer is ever increasing, which means - you guessed it - more development time and resources. At the end, something has to give: Either the price will increase significantly (which has somewhat been the case lately) or the product quality will eventually start to suffer - something not desired.

I don't expect that this will hit home with a lot of our customer base as we have to be pragmatic about our market - however, it's a good opportunity to discuss some hard realities that are usually hidden from the end user.

We have a more formal road map announcement coming up next week, but I was simply interested in getting some feedback from people who have a reasonable and respectful manner of elaborating on their arguments (not always the case in the Internet world, as we've unfortunately witnessed elsewhere). I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to read some of it here.

 

  • Like 16
Link to comment
M_i_k_e_V_o_g
2 hours ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

We have not (yet) issued any official statement on a rumored version of P3D v4.

As an aside - and with all the speculation this might include - why is everyone having zero issues paying full price for the actual simulator platform (which, if judging from v2 to v3, was an upgrade really) but there is begging and nagging for add-on upgrades to be free when there is significant work to be done to make add-on products compatible with new versions?

Do people think that all it involves is a simple rebuild of the product?

why don't they charge for each and every iteration??! surely some involve new features and upgrades other than just bug fixes!

Surely the development of a version from X.00 to X.99 is more than a series of simple rebuilds.

I guess they decide to charge whenever they believe the degree of "begging and nagging" , as you so respectfully put it, is such that it won't scare off too many of their current or future clients.

For the very good reasons brought up by Guenter, some sort of ...well...acceptable fee would be reasonable.

re-charging for the whole thing will be unacceptable and downright greedy

Link to comment
Günter Steiner

Thanks Lefteris for your detailed answer.

 

To answer your question why we are willing to pay the full price for every new full version of a simulator but not the addon itself, I will try to answer from a customers point of view:

Simply we have no force or influence at (formerly) Microsoft or now Lockheed Martin. If we want to fly and want to keep up with technology, we have to purchase the new version ("have to" is of course meant as a "have to" from a hobby perspective. Of course my life itself is not tied to flight simulation ;) )

 

Addon development itself will get complicated of course, but it doesn't for sure need a complete re-development from one sim version to another. You and I have enough development insight that we know that ;) And that is the reason - from a customers (!) point of view - that many people do not understand why they should now pay the full charge.

That does not mean that you are not to be free to make your business decisions, I just wanted to answer from my point of view.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Ju_li_en Ke_ml_er

I think people treat a sim plateform and an addon differently because they view the plateform as a more complex and more professional product usually made by big companies like microsoft or LM with tens or hundreds of people working on the product whereas addons are 'amateur' developers working on their free time. Moreover the plateform sim brings a lot to the table: the whole world, the physics engine etc when addons  only bring a single aircraft or airport regardless of its complexity.

I find this kind of reasoning unfair to say the least.

For my part, I've been enjoying the 320x immensly and have spent countless hours playing with it and learning about its intricacies. The initial price I paid was in my opinion fair compapred to the time I spent enjoying the product. Your value for time spent is way better than many other entertainementt buisnesses ( movies, amùusement parks etc)

However, the secrecy in which you shroud the developement of your products makes it difficult for people to accept that. How can you expect someone to be happy to pay  140$ for a product when he thinks you've worked on it only a few hours a week, and you give him no reason to think otherwise.

I think a bit more communication in that regard would go a long way. I'm not asking for weekly updates, who cares about cargo and galeys pictures for  6 weeks straight, but explaining to people what amounts of work goes into making these addons would surely help them understand your pricing policy.

 

Looking forward to next weeks announcement.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras

Hi Guenter,

thanks for your response.

14 minutes ago, Günter Steiner said:

Simply we have no force or influence at (formerly) Microsoft or now Lockheed Martin. If we want to fly and want to keep up with technology, we have to purchase the new version ("have to" is of course meant as a "have to" from a hobby perspective. Of course my life itself is not tied to flight simulation ;) )

That might have been true with Microsoft - there was total lack of feedback and developer participation up until the very last version that was released - mostly due to the business structure at the time.

Nowadays, with the way the Internet has permeated into our everyday lives, as a customer you have a lot of influence by offering feedback to Microsoft, Dovetail or LM in exactly the same way that you do in our forums - this is evident by the amount of responses received there not only by developers but also by their business managers too.

 

14 minutes ago, Günter Steiner said:

Addon development itself will get complicated of course, but it doesn't for sure need a complete re-development from one sim version to another. You and I have enough development insight that we know that ;) And that is the reason - from a customers (!) point of view - that many people do not understand why they should now pay the full charge.

Your statement is valid for the base platform as well however - perhaps more so there, as the base platform is stable and long-standing. While I have the same access to the source code as you do (i.e. none), I am willing to argue that the changes required to bring P3Dv4 to 64-bit do not make complete re-development a necessity, or it would take many more years to do it. I am not downplaying the difficulty but, given that a significant amount of our development work is C++ based, I'd be willing to wager we are going to have to go through the same arduous process as they would / will / might (depending on how much you are willing to believe we don't know it's going to be 64-bit yet :D ).

So, the reality as it stands today is:

Customer is happily paying full price for base platform complex upgrade work (as we both agreed and established it's not complete re-development), but is arguing and complaining if the same is asked for add-on upgrade work (which is equally non-trivial) - and I am not talking about Service Pack contents that have already been promised as coming up free of charge.

 

14 minutes ago, Günter Steiner said:

That does not mean that you are not to be free to make your business decisions, I just wanted to answer from my point of view.

I totally appreciate your point of view - this is exactly what I am looking for in a discussion (sorry Frank Xu). Our business decisions are going to be made given the realities of the market as it stands today, obviously, but I wanted to let you all know that we've been very receptive of carefully articulated and respectful arguments - it's a rare opportunity that a discussion about them can be made without deteriorating, so it's appreciated.

Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras
13 minutes ago, Julien Kemler said:

I think people treat a sim plateform and an addon differently because they view the plateform as a more complex and more professional product usually made by big companies like microsoft or LM with tens or hundreds of people working on the product whereas addons are 'amateur' developers working on their free time. Moreover the plateform sim brings a lot to the table: the whole world, the physics engine etc when addons  only bring a single aircraft or airport regardless of its complexity.

I find this kind of reasoning unfair to say the least.

For my part, I've been enjoying the 320x immensly and have spent countless hours playing with it and learning about its intricacies. The initial price I paid was in my opinion fair compapred to the time I spent enjoying the product. Your value for time spent is way better than many other entertainementt buisnesses ( movies, amùusement parks etc)

However, the secrecy in which you shroud the developement of your products makes it difficult for people to accept that. How can you expect someone to be happy to pay  140$ for a product when he thinks you've worked on it only a few hours a week, and you give him no reason to think otherwise.

I think a bit more communication in that regard would go a long way. I'm not asking for weekly updates, who cares about cargo and galeys pictures for  6 weeks straight, but explaining to people what amounts of work goes into making these addons would surely help them understand your pricing policy.

 

Looking forwerad to next weeks announcement.

Julien,

while it's true that we don't offer weekly updates, we do offer lots of insight into what amounts of work goes into making our add-ons - in fact, we might be one of the very few developers to offer technical presentations about that work in videos and subsequent long posts. They don't come every day (they take a LONG time to produce professionally) but I'd argue they exist if you care to look for them (my presentation in Munich gave a lot of insight and so did the long posts I've done to explain how development occurs).

As for 'addons are amateur developers working on their free time' I will let our customers actually speak for us on that matter - and also let you compare the quality found in the base platform A32X family with ours :).

(I am aware you're defending us in this argument - don't worry).

We have explained many times that the majority of our developers are full-time and our work hours extend into the night - and we're very very honored to know that our customer-base realizes the quality and supports us with their hard-earned income. For that we thank you!

Link to comment
Tarik Dosdogru

maybe you take in consideration that the price for the simulator is more than less of the half of your addon. i can use the simulator to fly but i can´t use any addon itself without it. i´m also not saying your addon is not worth the money but people faster decide to pay 40€ for a new version of a simulator than to pay 100€ for a new version of a addon that fits to the simulator.

as mentioned before i think the most of us would pay a specific amount for an upgrade but not the whole price. your product is very expensive more expensive than the simulator itselft...you must always remember this. it´s like you pay 100€ for a record but only 30€ for the record player. which is a little bit strange. again i´m not saying your product is not worth the price...i´m happy with it.. just my thoughts.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
23 minutes ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

We have explained many times that the majority of our developers are full-time and our work hours extend into the night - and we're very very honored to know that our customer-base realizes the quality and supports us with their hard-earned income. For that we thank you!

Just keep on doing what you're doing. The pricing was fair. The upgrade policy was very fair. The product is amazing. We can only hope it continues like that. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Steve Prowse
2 hours ago, Günter Steiner said:

And I know from the technical point, that there is surely no reason for charging the full price - upgrade fee ok, but not the full price or more.

In reply to Gunter:

2 hours ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

I generally agree with your opinion and it's obvious that we shared the same when we decided to offer our upgrade pricing from FSX to P3D, going "against the current" that was so far prevalent with other high-end add-ons.

With the greatest of respect;  why is this not the same for my Concorde?  Why do we have to pay the full price for what is an upgrade!  Astonishing!!!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras
18 minutes ago, Steve Prowse said:

In reply to Gunter:

With the greatest of respect;  why is this not the same for my Concorde?  Why do we have to pay the full price for what is an upgrade!  Astonishing!!!

Dear Steve-

forgive me, but this post, as well as your others before that are not revealing of "greatest of respect" - especially with your sarcastic "astonishing" remarks. Hence my lack of responses to you up to now. It always feels like I have to explain myself to my schoolmaster with the tone of voice you use - don't you think? So - forgive me, but I will refrain from doing so here and elsewhere.

In fact - this is generally why we do not engage in these types of conversations and exactly why they spiral out of control - one person will find a way to make a sarcastic or otherwise demeaning remark and it all goes downhill from there.

To explain the Concorde full price issue: The work required to make the FSX Concorde go into P3D was very significant - enough to warrant a full price tag. The technologies were then reused in the A320-X P3D version, so there was less work required there - we could have chosen to follow other high-end developers and charge full price there too - the market was certainly accustomed to it (with a few exceptions). Thus, we chose to offer our customers an upgrade tag because we felt we could absorb the resource costs and make people happy. From a business perspective, the decision had its pros and cons - companies always weigh these before they decide which way to move forward.

So - to use Steve's remark: The fact that the A320-X for P3D was offered at an upgrade price was indeed Astonishing! :). As a business, we've always promised to do the very best in our work quality but that means our developers have to be compensated for all that hard work as well - all we ask is that our customers remember that too.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Dear Guenter,
thank you for a well-thought-out and respectfully offered response.
I generally agree with your opinion and it's obvious that we shared the same when we decided to offer our upgrade pricing from FSX to P3D, going "against the current" that was so far prevalent with other high-end add-ons.
My question, however, is focused not so much on our add-on product pricing, but more so on the P3D "absence of upgrade pricing". Everyone seems to accept the fact that new versions of sim platforms simply offer enhancements and modifications compared to the previous version - historically speaking:
I am not yet privy to what v4 brings (or possibly not allowed to discuss it  ), but if LM are smart, they will not reinvent the wheel and their focus will be to keep 90-95% of the platform identical to take advantage of the existing add-on ecosystem, while making necessary adaptations to modernize the underlying infrastructure - i.e. making it 64-bit and working on supporting current graphics models - yet customers accept having to pay full price again for these new versions.
This happened with every sim platform release, going back to FS1. They all charged full price - I don't recall a case where there were upgrade offers to switch from FS2000 to FS2002, to FS2004, to FSX, to P3D, to P3D v2, v3 etc.
Yet, everyone seems to accept that this is a normal business practice - and I agree: The companies that develop the sim platforms are required to do so in order to recoup their investment costs and the salaries going into their development and support.
However, while the customer readily accepts this long-standing traditional business model with the sim platform, they are not so ready to do so with add-on products - customers do not seem to realize that pricing of add-on products is based on the same cost structure so they expect that upgrades should be offered free-of-charge or at a small fraction of the original add-on product's price, even if the changes required to produce this compatibility, while simultaneously working on updates that are already promised to be free-of-charge, are sometimes not only *very significant and extensive* but also desired in a much smaller development time-frame so as not to lose market share: Most add-on developers start the compatibility work when a new sim platform goes beta - IF they are lucky and/or have cultivated a close relationship with the simulator producers so as to be granted early access - and are required to release at, or closely after the release of the new sim platform version. This very frequently means working double shifts, overtimes, nights, weekends to allow for such a compressed development period - only to keep receiving complaints about how the compatibility update "has to be free or very cheap because it was a very expensive product to begin with".
Add-on development is a niche market - if sim platforms recoup their development costs by selling 100 copies of a product, add-ons generally only sell a small fraction of that number and complexity expected and required by the customer is ever increasing, which means - you guessed it - more development time and resources. At the end, something has to give: Either the price will increase significantly (which has somewhat been the case lately) or the product quality will eventually start to suffer - something not desired.
I don't expect that this will hit home with a lot of our customer base as we have to be pragmatic about our market - however, it's a good opportunity to discuss some hard realities that are usually hidden from the end user.
We have a more formal road map announcement coming up next week, but I was simply interested in getting some feedback from people who have a reasonable and respectful manner of elaborating on their arguments (not always the case in the Internet world, as we've unfortunately witnessed elsewhere). I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to read some of it here.
 


Thanks for the extended explanation.

I'll pay any update fee happy. The product deserve it.


Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk Pro
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Marc Aussant
7 minutes ago, jfim88 said:

Thanks for the extended explanation.

I'll pay any update fee happy. The product deserve it.
 

 

Agree 100%. Improving the product continuously keeps customers happy, just like in RW ...  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Steve Prowse
1 hour ago, jfim88 said:

I'll pay any update fee happy. The product deserve it.

I agree.

1 hour ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

forgive me, but this post, as well as your others before that are not revealing of "greatest of respect" - especially with your sarcastic "astonishing" remarks. Hence my lack of responses to you up to now. It always feels like I have to explain myself to my schoolmaster with the tone of voice you use - don't you think? So - forgive me, but I will refrain from doing so here and elsewhere.

Two things (a) astonishing was not meant to be sarcasm; merely a statement:  (b)  sorry about my tone, it is the way engineers write I guess.

1 hour ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

In fact - this is generally why we do not engage in these types of conversations and exactly why they spiral out of control - one person will find a way to make a sarcastic or otherwise demeaning remark and it all goes downhill from there.

  I am not being sarcastic or indeed trying to be demeaning, far from it.  My issue is not with your pricing, it never has been;  it is with the fact that you cannot even offer $5 off the FSX price for Concorde to those wishing to upgrade to P3D.  Even though those Concorde customers have been with you for some considerable time and show your company a great deal of loyalty, here and on other forums .  That is my issue;  not money. 

Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras
1 minute ago, Steve Prowse said:

I agree.

Two things (a) astonishing was not meant to be sarcasm; merely a statement:  (b)  sorry about my tone, it is the way engineers write I guess.

  I am not being sarcastic or indeed trying to be demeaning, far from it.  My issue is not with your pricing it is with the fact that you cannot even offer $5 off the FSX price for Concorde to those wishing to upgrade to P3D.  Even though those Concorde customers have been with you for some considerable time and show your company a great deal of loyalty, here and on other forums .  That is my issue;  not money. 

Steve-

the last time you had posted before today you had finished your post with:

"Obviously my question is; why isn't Concorde sold at a discounted price?  Actually I'm horrified by this, after all the arguments about why it wasn't possible to sell Concorde for P3D at a discounted price to previous FSX Concorde owners, I now find out that FSL sells the A320 at a discounted price!  I'm sure I'm about to get a million reasons why this is the case, but what ever they are I find this completely unacceptable.   Absolutely disgraceful that Concorde customers have had to pay full price!"

What can I reply to someone who finds our policy "completely unacceptable", "horrifying" and "disgraceful"? These are not words that elicit respect nor merit it - they are demeaning, to say the least.

Again - this is exactly why we do not normally engage in these sorts of conversations. I gave our reasoning in a way that is clearly described and understood - forgive me if I do not allow our business and company policies to be demoted to that level of sentimental drivel. There are surely other forums where you can exercise this language - ours is not one.

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Steve Prowse
4 minutes ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

Again - this is exactly why we do not normally engage in these sorts of conversations. I gave our reasoning in a way that is clearly described and understood - forgive me if I do not allow our business and company policies to be demoted to that level of sentimental drivel. There are surely other forums where you can exercise this language - ours is not one.

I stand by that drivel, one group of your customers have $100 discount,  the other, Concorde customers, get nothing.  I'm sorry I am not a business type of a person but it just doesn't seem fair. I do indeed find it completely unacceptable, horrifying and disgraceful.

Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras

Gents-

once again - this is exactly why I normally choose not to participate or continue such discussions. Anyway, I think my posts explained our position clearly. If people have more questions I'll be happy to engage in a respectful and civilized conversation as long as my time permits. I will not, however, continue responding to such accusations - forgive me.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Christian Thomsen
4 hours ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

Dear Guenter,

thank you for a well-thought-out and respectfully offered response.

I generally agree with your opinion and it's obvious that we shared the same when we decided to offer our upgrade pricing from FSX to P3D, going "against the current" that was so far prevalent with other high-end add-ons.

My question, however, is focused not so much on our add-on product pricing, but more so on the P3D "absence of upgrade pricing". Everyone seems to accept the fact that new versions of sim platforms simply offer enhancements and modifications compared to the previous version - historically speaking:

I am not yet privy to what v4 brings (or possibly not allowed to discuss it ;) ), but if LM are smart, they will not reinvent the wheel and their focus will be to keep 90-95% of the platform identical to take advantage of the existing add-on ecosystem, while making necessary adaptations to modernize the underlying infrastructure - i.e. making it 64-bit and working on supporting current graphics models - yet customers accept having to pay full price again for these new versions.

This happened with every sim platform release, going back to FS1. They all charged full price - I don't recall a case where there were upgrade offers to switch from FS2000 to FS2002, to FS2004, to FSX, to P3D, to P3D v2, v3 etc.

Yet, everyone seems to accept that this is a normal business practice - and I agree: The companies that develop the sim platforms are required to do so in order to recoup their investment costs and the salaries going into their development and support.

However, while the customer readily accepts this long-standing traditional business model with the sim platform, they are not so ready to do so with add-on products - customers do not seem to realize that pricing of add-on products is based on the same cost structure so they expect that upgrades should be offered free-of-charge or at a small fraction of the original add-on product's price, even if the changes required to produce this compatibility, while simultaneously working on updates that are already promised to be free-of-charge, are sometimes not only *very significant and extensive* but also desired in a much smaller development time-frame so as not to lose market share: Most add-on developers start the compatibility work when a new sim platform goes beta - IF they are lucky and/or have cultivated a close relationship with the simulator producers so as to be granted early access - and are required to release at, or closely after the release of the new sim platform version. This very frequently means working double shifts, overtimes, nights, weekends to allow for such a compressed development period - only to keep receiving complaints about how the compatibility update "has to be free or very cheap because it was a very expensive product to begin with".

Add-on development is a niche market - if sim platforms recoup their development costs by selling 100 copies of a product, add-ons generally only sell a small fraction of that number and complexity expected and required by the customer is ever increasing, which means - you guessed it - more development time and resources. At the end, something has to give: Either the price will increase significantly (which has somewhat been the case lately) or the product quality will eventually start to suffer - something not desired.

I don't expect that this will hit home with a lot of our customer base as we have to be pragmatic about our market - however, it's a good opportunity to discuss some hard realities that are usually hidden from the end user.

We have a more formal road map announcement coming up next week, but I was simply interested in getting some feedback from people who have a reasonable and respectful manner of elaborating on their arguments (not always the case in the Internet world, as we've unfortunately witnessed elsewhere). I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to read some of it here.

 

I totally get your point mate.

I am a bit confused, its obvious from the post that the update will probably be a paid one. Thats totally fair and I respect your reasoning behind it. Thing is, will it be a full repurchase or just a limited upgrade fee?

 

Kind Regards

 Christian

Link to comment
Markus Bendel

Hi @Lefteris Kalamaras,

First of all, thank you very much for participating in the discussion, it's highly appreciated!

I started with flight sims back in the days of FS 3.x and stopped with FSX more than ten years ago. Now I'm only waiting for P3D v4 and the A320 from you guys to buy a high-end PC and get back into the game (sorry, sim!). Simply can't wait for it to happen! :)

From my point of view, people who are blaming you because of upgrade fees or paying full price "just" because of a platform change usually have zero clue of how much work it takes to develop software and to adjust things to make it work with another platform. The expectation seems to be that you guys at FS Labs should basically work for free--personally, I'd like to know from these people here whether they're also willing to work for free at their own jobs (given that they're old enough to have one yet). It's not meant to be sarcasm but people should pay a little bit more respect towards the developers and companies in general--they also have to make money with their products. Period.

And if those companies are ripping off their customers by charging too much money, the market will do its thing and people will move on to other products.

What I do accept as an argument is that hardcore simmers have tons of add-ons running on their machines--panicking about upgrade fees for AS, GSX, FSL A320 etc. etc. is therefore okay from my point of view. I do, however, also expect a SP to be free of charge, even though a lot of work is going into this; still I'd like to say 'thank you' for this, rather than just taking it for granted.

Bottom line, developing an outstanding product like you guys did with the A320 (real-world pilots confirmed this over and over) takes a lot of time, hence a lot of money. There's no point of comparing the price of P3D itself with an add-on like the FSL A320. Try to find a comparable A320-competitor on the market and let's compare their prices--you can't find any? Well...

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Tarik Dosdogru
43 minutes ago, maggussje said:

 There's no point of comparing the price of P3D itself with an add-on like the FSL A320. Try to find a comparable A320-competitor on the market and let's compare their prices--you can't find any? Well...

sorry this is not true. without the simulator to run  the fslabs addon is not worth a single penny. this is pure logic. so you MUST compare the price relation ship of both. i think it depends...if you just want to fly all over the world with a cessna the price of 30-40€ for just the simulator is cool. if you want a deep simualtion of a A320 you have to think of how much moeny you want to spent on this. as i said i did and i´m happy. but developing a simualtor like FSX or P3D which is based on it took decades. it´s the main thing. nothing works without it. the fslabs a320 is just a plane for it. a very detailed and good one yes, but still nothing more.

Link to comment
Markus Bendel
35 minutes ago, Tarik Dosdogru said:

sorry this is not true. without the simulator to run  the fslabs addon is not worth a single penny. this is pure logic. so you MUST compare the price relation ship of both. i think it depends...if you just want to fly all over the world with a cessna the price of 30-40€ for just the simulator is cool. if you want a deep simualtion of a A320 you have to think of how much moeny you want to spent on this. as i said i did and i´m happy. but developing a simualtor like FSX or P3D which is based on it took decades. it´s the main thing. nothing works without it. the fslabs a320 is just a plane for it. a very detailed and good one yes, but still nothing more.

So, you're comparing the price of your PC with the one for P3D as well, since P3D doesn't run without it? And you're comparing the price of your car with the fees you have to pay for using the motorway? Is the ratio okay for you? Car too expensive or the fees? ;)

From my point of view, a high-end or professional add-on can cost much, much more than the simulator platform it's running on. It all depends on the target group and how much we, the customers, are willing to pay for it.

Imagine a perfect A320 add-on product, 20 developers working full-time on it for five years. The audience? Millions of people like for mass-market games like GTA, Civilization etc.? No, it's for a very limited number of sim-enthousiasts like us. And the price should be oriented on the platform it's leveraging to be able to run rather than on the market, the development and the research, which went into the product? Seriously...?

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Tarik Dosdogru
10 minutes ago, maggussje said:

So, you're comparing the price of your PC with the one for P3D as well, since P3D can't run without it? And you're comparing the price of your car with the fees you have to pay for using the motorway? Is the ratio okay for you? Car too expensive or the fees? ;)

 

sorry this is again unlogical because i can use the pc for an enourmous amount of things not just flightsimulation. the fslabs addon is used for one specific thing thats run on a flightsimulator.

but this discussion between us leads into nothing...i just wanted to remember the developers that their addon is extremely expensive as it is also extreme good. and people will think twice to pay the whole price double for a new simulator version. also the devolper asked why people pay for a new version of P3D a whole new price. 40€ is simply not as much as 100€ thats why most of them do it i think.

Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras
1 minute ago, Tarik Dosdogru said:

sorry this is again unlogical because i can use the pc for an enourmous amount things not just flightsimulation. the fslabs addon is used for one specific thing thats run on a flightsimulator.

but this discussion between us leads into nothing...i just wanted to remember the developers that their addon is extremely expensive as it is also extreme good. and people will think twice to pay the whole price double for a new simulator version. also the devolper asked why people pay for a new version of P3D a whole new price. 40€ is simply not as much as 100€ thats why most of them do it i think.

Tarik-

if you are not a student or otherwise engaged into academic flight simulation functions, you should not be purchasing the academic version, you should rather be getting the professional version. That is far from 40 euro - it is 200.

Does that make a difference in the principle of not complaining about having to buy at full price again? It should not, anyway. I know you view 1 Euro differently from 100 or 1000, but the principle of the question remains: Why do people not complain *the same way* about having to repay full price on the base platform (which arguably has been proven not to have received more than "update" development work) as they complain with add-ons ?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Arto E.P. Karhu

Lefteris makes a rather good point in P3D not having an upgrade path. With the very few airplane addon developers I am a customer of, I've happily paid any fees they lay. In cases where I did find them unfair, I'd likely mention that in similar way I attempt to mention any other issues with the product. I quickly count 5 airplanes I use currently, one FSL, one PMDG and three A2A. I think I can afford bringing them along with me.

With P3Dv2 → P3Dv3 upgrade, I did not like the decision of the LM to push this on full price of $200, as the benefits were rather modest in the long run. I hope the eventual v4 will be an upgrade worth of that inevitable $200.

-Esa

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Philipp Schwaegerl
19 hours ago, Lefteris Kalamaras said:

Tarik-

if you are not a student or otherwise engaged into academic flight simulation functions, you should not be purchasing the academic version, you should rather be getting the professional version. That is far from 40 euro - it is 200.

Does that make a difference in the principle of not complaining about having to buy at full price again? It should not, anyway. I know you view 1 Euro differently from 100 or 1000, but the principle of the question remains: Why do people not complain *the same way* about having to repay full price on the base platform (which arguably has been proven not to have received more than "update" development work) as they complain with add-ons ?

Because we have no choice. P3D is a one way direction. It is the decision of LM and we have to live with it (not for entertainment purposes). It is hard for us, because we do not - forgive me this expression - shit money. I don't think people would move on to the next version of P3D, if we would have to pay for every addon again and again (full price).

So the "why": We already know that we have to pay again for upcoming versions of P3D and we can't do anything against this. We only can try to avoid more costs by complaining at other places like addon developers. And the difference lies exactly here. Because some developer already stated that there will be no cost for the next version(s) of P3D, the shitstorm would be enormous, if you decide to charge the full price again, or even a small fee. Is it fair? I don't know. But you have to remember that the customer is the king and is always right, even if he is very dumb. Not easy to do the right thing to be honest. 
 

Link to comment
Tarik Dosdogru

BTW i found the whole LM price concept ridicoulous.i normaly buy things that i own afterwards and then i can use it for what i want. it´s stupid to offer different licences and to dictate how to use them (not for entertainment purposes). and if there´s no proof to be given you are not using it for entertainment purposes the company should not wonder that the people don´t spend 200€ for a software that you can use for 40€ and they a aware of this.in my eyes this is a no go and thatßs why i don´t  spent any money for something like that. i don´t like the idea that they leave something like a back door to fool customers. then companys should not wonder that people try to get illegal copys or cd keys.

Link to comment
J_U_A_N__R-A-M-O-S

Well, in my eyes a platform upgrade normally brings improvements across the table that you will be able to enjoy with multiple addons, some of witch will be full price upgrades, thats true, but normally so far most of them will just work without much changes or will require just a upgrade fee.

Also, you need to upgrade the platform to get your daily "fix" so to speak and you will experience new things thanks to that. But with addons is different. Making the A320 compatible with V4 wont bring anything "new" to the product, only compatibility. We wont get a new, better model, or a fully modeled passenger cabin, upgraded vc, upgraded textures or so. Just the same but on a new platform.

As a developer you know all the changes that you made to make it work on that new platform: all those nights chasing a random bug there, debugging the product to find that memory leak etc, but customers dont see that. Customers dont see changes in code that dont change something they can interact with. What the customers see is what they can click on, new sounds, new textures, new behavior. If they paid full price just to see the same they saw on the last sim they feel is not a good value.

So my suggestion is: If you plan is to charge more than just a upgrade fee, then also including new things as part of that process will make it a lot easier to justify in the minds of your customers. Its telling your customers "You will pay for the upgrade, but you will also get this, that, and that" 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Lefteris Kalamaras
1 hour ago, J_U_A_N__R-A-M-O-S said:

Well, in my eyes a platform upgrade normally brings improvements across the table that you will be able to enjoy with multiple addons, some of witch will be full price upgrades, thats true, but normally so far most of them will just work without much changes or will require just a upgrade fee.

Also, you need to upgrade the platform to get your daily "fix" so to speak and you will experience new things thanks to that. But with addons is different. Making the A320 compatible with V4 wont bring anything "new" to the product, only compatibility. We wont get a new, better model, or a fully modeled passenger cabin, upgraded vc, upgraded textures or so. Just the same but on a new platform.

As a developer you know all the changes that you made to make it work on that new platform: all those nights chasing a random bug there, debugging the product to find that memory leak etc, but customers dont see that. Customers dont see changes in code that dont change something they can interact with. What the customers see is what they can click on, new sounds, new textures, new behavior. If they paid full price just to see the same they saw on the last sim they feel is not a good value.

So my suggestion is: If you plan is to charge more than just a upgrade fee, then also including new things as part of that process will make it a lot easier to justify in the minds of your customers. Its telling your customers "You will pay for the upgrade, but you will also get this, that, and that" 

Again-

my original question was not "what should FSLabs be doing price-wise" - it was "why are customers not complaining about having to pay full price for essentially an upgrade" between versions. I have not (yet) discussed what our policy will be or whether we'll charge an upgrade price, full price, or give the upgrade out for free because, simply, we don't have the full picture yet in terms of the work required. Once we do, you'll know because I'll make a nice fat post about it (with our road map).

Link to comment
J_U_A_N__R-A-M-O-S

I think it gets down to that:  Since they cant see the changes that where made behind the scenes, The customer feels that its paying to get the same that he already has, just with a minor tweak there or there.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Alaister Kay

I currently don't own a copy of P3D but I'm eagerly waiting for v4. I'm not wanting to pay out now that v4 is 'so' close to release. I think LM should maybe offer a upgrade price/strategy but then again it is a commercial product aimed at a commercial market. Not every user will upgrade to the latest version, at least straight away. I know a local university uses v2 in a sim setup. 

Anywho, looking forward to what FSL can deliver in the current and new sims. :)

Link to comment
Ifikratis Kamenidis

Thanks for this thread and Lefteris input to this. I'll try to state why (I think) customers would hesitate to pay full price for a P3D V4 FSL A320X version:

1) First of all, I think one cannot avoid to consider how recent is the FSL A320X version for P3D. It was released around 4 months ago, January 2017.  Prepar3D v3 was released on September 2015. Given its maturity, a customer is willing to pay the full price for the simulator platform based on some facts. Everyone knows that the platform optimization and the way it handles memory, vector, objects, lighting etc not only improve the realism but also the performance. It is a number one priority to have the most current platform to start with. A customer can accept that an upgrade that took 2 years to be done may require an additional cost. I don't think any customer would be happy to throw to garbage 100$ and pay 100$ more in less than half a year for the same product. So this is one reason customers would not be happy if FSL charged full price for a new version. As stated before, we all knew that P3D v4 is coming sometime this year before FSL released for P3D.

Before I continue I want to say that we all want FSL to continue to exist and develop. For this reason I'd pay an upgrade fee that would however cost less than the academic version of P3D.

2) Market. Two of the biggest brands in flight simulator community, PMDG and ORBX have stated that they will support P3D v4 free of charge for existing customers. This creates a situation. As a customer I feel great appreciation given the fact that I know some people will work to make this happen. I suppose a company's policy allows cost for development that pays off after with more sales and I'm sure that works. I'd happily buy a new addon from these companies willing to support their attitude. So, I think FSL will onlly benefit if follows that route.

3) In my view, 64bit  compatibility can't be a totally new product. When we buy an OS, you can choose if you want to install the x32 or x64 version. When you buy a software, lets say. Adobe Photoshop or many others, you have a x32 or x64 version, included on the same price and you choose which to install on your system. It has to do with memory allocation and of course there are core differences in the way the two versions operate but from an ethical point of view, no-one would appreciate a full price, like a new product for just x64 compatibility.

If FSL wants to charge full price for A320X in P3D v4, I think they would have to present a list of new features that would persuade everyone that this is a totally new aircraft worth to pay 200$ in less than a year for. I can't imagine what this could include, probably everything. But not just x64 compatibility and some lighting updates. And of course these updates should be only possible in P3D v4 and not ported to the current P3D version. It has to be a version that is only possible in P3D v4. As I don't feel this can be the case, based on how perfect is already the A320X, I'd  more happy of course for a free update or if they need more support I'd pay a small upgrade fee. I wouldn't pay a full version in this short time frame.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
kevinfirth

Hi Lefteris, I dony yet own the 320 but surely will at some point.  

I think the problen stems from the non-existent to extremely limited information devs seem to give out.  When devs don't spell out in enough detail what work needs to be done then people assume and fear they are being ripped off by being made to pay twice for a product that hasnt needed that amount of time and effort to make it work in a particular sim version.

I dont mind paying for upgrades where there has been genuine work required.  I fear that where devs arent this open and honest that it simply isnt the case and they are opportunistically gouging the market.

Thanks for your effort with the bus, with a 3yr old, a 6wk old and a house renovation I'll pick it up when my wife says I have time!

 

Link to comment
jeff storey

hi

there are a lot of very good points in this thread

from a business side and customer side

i am strictly customer side but after lefteris has explained a lot of the business side i can see his point of view as well as a customer point of view

i dont know if i missed anything in the release of the fsl a320 but if it was said something like p3d v4 would require an upgrade fee in a few months time i would still have bought it

if it was hinted that a full price might be on the cards i would have waited

i made a mistake at time of purchase and paid 150 quid no fault of fslabs

i have no regrets paying that price but i simply could not do it again a few months down the line

i respect lefteris and others on this thread i pray that an upgrade is the way to go and not a full price again

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Jamie Whiting

Hi Lefteris,

              This is my first post on this Forum, but seeing the nature of the discussion made me feel that I might contribute.

To focus on your question of peoples differing responses relating to the cost of platform upgrades vs addon upgrades, I feel personally it can be summarised like this;

  • I feel most of it is down to perceived "complexity", or what one would more accurately describe as scope. As previous contributors have stated, when an upgraded simulation platform is offered it is usually penned as fundamentally enhancing the realism across a swathe of "big" areas, such as lighting, rendering weather etc. These are all things which people can see affect everything in the simulator, even if it may only be superficial. Due to this [and I am using the generalization "simulator" here as opposed to P£D etc.] I feel that customers think that because of the expansive and all encompassing nature of the changes [deep or superficial] it is justified to pay to use this "new" platform.
  • When it comes to an addon [complex or otherwise], people may think that because the addon only does one "thing" that developers can't justify charging because the perception is that it would be "money for old rope", that the platform is offering the enhancement, the addon is just doing what it always has done but is benefiting from the new platform.

I fundamentally disagree with the above views for a number of reasons, especially when it comes to your Airbus.

  • For a start, the sim platform and the [in this case] Airbus are not the same thing. What you have is a platform, which by its nature is essentially generalist in outlook, and a addon that is incredibly specialized. It takes an enormous amount of work to get either one to work properly. I do feel that getting the Airbus right is on the same magnitude as creating an entire simulation platform.
  • My view is that both the platform and the Airbus are equally valuable. If I have only the platform on its own, sure, I can fly around in a fairly generic fashion. But if I want a platform that specifically gives me the high fidelity Airbus that I want, then the FSL A320 is essential to that. We are dealing with a simulation within a simulation, one benefits massively from the other. When I fly P3D with the Airbus the experience is a million miles away from the standard sim. I am a real world private pilot and the devil is in the detail, and for me skin deep is not enough, the Airbus and other like it are what give life to P3D.

Thus, I do not have a problem with a developer such as yourself charging what you reasonably feel is needed to cover your efforts in transitioning what is a very complex piece of software. I accept that you need a lot of time, and some very able people to create both a platform and an addon like the Airbus, and when changes are made to move a product beyond its current iteration into a new environment it follows that this effort needs recompense.

With the level of detail that people expect from a product like this it is obvious, to coin phrase "you cannot have your cake and eat it".

Long winded I know, but it is more complex than some appreciate.

Keep up the good work Lefteris and team.

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Ifikratis Kamenidis

Thinking a little more about this, some more questions was raised. I am aware that Flight Sim Labs don't have decided a plan on this yet so its just some questions.

If a new product is released for P3D v4:

1) Will A320X have two P3D versions for sale? And if Yes:
   1a) Will both versions be supported for the future? The current version is a 2017 product.
2) Will A320X for P3D v4 offer advancements on the aircraft - exclusive features only possible in P3D v4? This means these features would not appear in P3D v3.
3) Will Flight Sim Labs continue to work and update both platforms? Or current P3D v3 users will have to inevitably upgrade sometime.
4) Will Flight Sim Labs show the same dedication / resources / speed on P3D v3 as if P3D v4 was never released or your resources will split or be more on the P3D v4 side? Of course FSX is the first platform being supported but we know that the commonalities with P3D v3 are much more both being 32bit applications.

I believe the people at FSL are going to treat their customers with fairness and if they think an upgrade fee is necessary most customers will follow.  Even if a full price new product is decided, some or many will come. I wouldn't follow soon personally due to the fact that I'd feel a little dumb paying two times the same product in less than a year. Probably later. Though then I believe you'll have to make sure people understand why a complete new product has to be made and paid.

I feel -not only as a customer but also trying to see that from a more distance- an upgrade fee would fit more here, if you plan to charge for the P3D v4 versions. For a product that was released 4 months ago, to become kind of outdated is not something I've seen before. It seems to me that most of current P3D users will move to v4 as long as most of the most common add-ons are given their x64 versions. In my opinion, If the A320X version in v4 is offering the same features as in v3 plus x64 compatibility, most will think you ask money for a new version just because LM does. And its true that LM does that because they can. We like it or not they design the platform and add-on products adapt their products, their limits and their implementations to LM decisions. I don't find it reasonable to say that just because they decide to charge full price, this justifies every add-on developer to do the same. If they changed everything and P3D v4 is using another engine completely, different file system completely etc. then of course it could justify that. By the way, most if not all big software companies that offer new versions offer upgrade prices. It is really weird that LM has decided this way.

Lastly, I of course agree that what you decide in the end depends on the work needed. If you feel you need to spend months or years to develop again A320X for v4 then a full price would be more understood. But if the v4 version comes out in 1-2 months that would not explain the full price to me. But, as I said before, I believe Flight Sim Labs will be honest and evaluate the situation. I will be looking forward for your v4 plan. Hope we can hear it soon. We need Flight Sim Labs for the future of flight simulation and I will continue to support you guys whatever you decide, sooner or later, because you have the quality I find the best.

Link to comment
Simon Kelsey
22 hours ago, Tarik Dosdogru said:

BTW i found the whole LM price concept ridicoulous.i normaly buy things that i own afterwards and then i can use it for what i want. it´s stupid to offer different licences and to dictate how to use them (not for entertainment purposes). and if there´s no proof to be given you are not using it for entertainment purposes the company should not wonder that the people don´t spend 200€ for a software that you can use for 40€ and they a aware of this.in my eyes this is a no go and thatßs why i don´t  spent any money for something like that. i don´t like the idea that they leave something like a back door to fool customers. then companys should not wonder that people try to get illegal copys or cd keys.

The thing is that, much like almost all software you "buy" these days -- you are not actually "buying" the software. It is not yours to do what you want with -- you do not "own" it, you are simply purchasing a licence to use the software, at the pleasure of the developer and within any restrictions the developer pleases to place on the use of that software. This is true for almost everything from P3D to MSFS addons to Microsoft Windows itself.

Speaking with my personal hat on -- not the views of FSLabs:

Regarding LM and P3D -- some food for thought for all. Here are some things which we know to be true about P3D:

  • LM bought the rights to ESP, the non-personal/consumer entertainment "version" of MSFS, from Microsoft, under the terms that they are not permitted to sell to the "entertainment" market
  • LM are (as you rightly point out) currently quite laissez-faire when it comes to enforcing the terms of the EULA

There is no guarantee that this situation will continue indefinitely, particularly when one considers that the company which does actually own the "personal/consumer entertainment" rights to MSFS has just released a sim.

Academic discounts for software are very common -- I know that when I was a student I was able to buy Microsoft Office for a fraction of the cost of the "full" price, but I had to go through my university to obtain that discount and there were some checks in place to ensure that I was actually a student. It would only take someone at LM - perhaps something as simple as a change in personnel - to decide they want to focus on the multi-million dollar clients and they could very easily close the loopholes which currently make it very easy to purchase a P3D licence (of any flavour) without any form of eligibility check. Proof of enrolment on a relevant course at a recognised institution, a requirement to enter a valid pilot licence number, or more -- it could be done very easily, and it's only as far away as a change in LM's legal advice or a business decision to cut down on the amount of support hours they have to put in.

Just something to think about before everyone throws all their eggs in to the P3D basket...

As I say, just my own personal view and not that of FSL.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Till Lukas

Speaking for my self as well: Very well written Simon!

A lot of Simmers do not understand that they are just tolerated customers and not desired customers for LM.

However, lets hope we can enjoy that software for a long time and benefit of the great developments which currently happen.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
  • Lefteris Kalamaras locked this topic
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...