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PC simulation games still have a future

PC simulation games still have a future

Paradox Interactive still thinks there's money to be made in PC simulation games like Ship Simulator Extremes.

GamesCom 2009: In a private presentation to bit-tech earlier today at GamesCom 2009 in Cologne, Frank Dolmans, Chief Marketing Officer for Ship Simulator Extremes developer VStep said he wasn’t sure why Microsoft had recently closed their Flight Simulator team given that in his opinion, the PC sim market was still a good business.

After Frank gave us a demonstration of VStep’s upcoming ship simulator, which is a realisitic simulation of many actual ships in realistic situations, we asked him if he thought that the simulation market was dying out or being marginalised on PCs in recent years.

Absolutely not,” he said confidently. “Sims aren’t dying out at all. We’ve sold more than 450k units of the Ship Simulator series and while I know it’s a niche audience it’s still one that has been very good to us.

I don’t know the specifics of why Microsoft closed down their Flight Sim team, but I do know that the simulation genre has always been there and sims like this are still good for business.

Even if PC simulations were a fading genre, Frank still seemed to think a resurgence would be inevitable, pointing to the adventure game genre as a comparison.

Just look at adventure games. The same thing happened there. Everyone said they were dying out and a lot of people stopped making them, but there were developers that did very well by persisting in the genre and now there’s lots of adventure game franchises making a comeback.

Ship Simulator Extremes will be going on sale at the start of 2010 and will feature all sorts of realisitic missions, from disrupting whaling missions for Greenpeace to quelling fires and evacuating oil rigs. All 35 ships in the game can be fully explored in first person, including the Titanic, and the new multiplayer and co-op modes are coming on well too. Let us know if any of that interests you in the forums.

22 Comments

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Woodspoon 21st August 2009, 12:26 Quote
I dont think anybody understands why Microsoft closed down their flight sim team, it was an almost gaurenteed market and is going to have a huge effect on after market developersm a hugely bad move by MS,
Marc5002 21st August 2009, 13:08 Quote
it a shame microsoft closed there flight sim team after Flight Simulator X which was incredible Realistic graphic for a simulator
Id imagine in future there will be some game related to simulator that are good it need good multiplayer how ever

Because it nice to have a race / test ur skill with other people / or just plain fun with some random people and if you can do Crash collision option then that even more fun : I like a bit This testDrive game but it lacked of freedome of Do Some Collision like Midtown Madness 3 The Dev are still no sign of any game related to that but dice working only on action game now every since Xbox 360 / Battlefield II modern combat

and i think anything related to race is over with them tough id say id like a good simulator of car / plane / and maybe boat LOL ?
aggies11 21st August 2009, 13:20 Quote
Profit and opportunity cost?

While sims are profitable (given a realistic budget/sales ratio), and good old economics states that as long as people can make money, they will make the product. The is the other hand, where the opportunity developing something else (eg. console games) is bigger, ie. there is more profit to be made. So the opportunity cost (what you give up) when making a PC Sim vs console game can be quite high.

With respect to Vstep, if you are them things are peachy, as they likely don't have a big opportunity making console games. However if you are Microsoft, it probably makes more sense to spend their money and time focusing on the console rather then the PC, because the potential for profit is just larger.

*shrugs*, just a thought at least :)
LeMaltor 21st August 2009, 13:21 Quote
This ship sim extremes looks pretty awesome tbh lol :D
Phil Rhodes 21st August 2009, 13:39 Quote
Unfortunately I've forgotten how to type those little unicode musical notes, so you'll have to imagine me playing a lament for our long departed friend, the flight sim.

What've we got now? ****ing Ace Combat. OK, so it might be the first game in years to include a British aircraft, but I'm not sure it knows how to spell "realism". Thanks, consoles.
DragunovHUN 21st August 2009, 13:42 Quote
Ship Simulator Extremes? Why plural? Is one extreme not extreme enough anymore?
Gunsmith 21st August 2009, 13:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN
Ship Simulator Extremes? Why plural? Is one extreme not extreme enough anymore?

not when you crash the titanic into the Q.E.2
p3n 21st August 2009, 14:18 Quote
The problem with real sims is the profit is probably made via custom peripherals not the software itself .. think there is an open sauce flight sim community, think their servers got 'pwned' recently?
Burnout21 21st August 2009, 14:33 Quote
Sim's can be really F**king boaring at times, that ship one will be beyond boaring. Super tankers set a straight line bearing, and make sure they throw the engines into full reverse when 5 miles from there destination.

Job done, unless the extreme part is a first person role fighting off pirates!
FatMikel 21st August 2009, 14:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by p3n
The problem with real sims is the profit is probably made via custom peripherals not the software itself .. think there is an open sauce flight sim community, think their servers got 'pwned' recently?

That was AVSIM.com and they were largely based around freeware addons for Microsoft's Flight Simulator series, nothing open source.
boiled_elephant 21st August 2009, 16:32 Quote
Moar car sims!
TSR2 21st August 2009, 16:36 Quote
Its also pretty difficult to play sims using normal PC interfaces, that is mouse and keyboard. Its possible, but things like shooters seem to work better with mice etc. So its a little bit more difficult to fire up the sim.
tin can 21st August 2009, 16:44 Quote
AVSIM's back up, and thriving, incidentally. X-plane is going strong, and Aerosoft (a large MSFS add-on developer) are talking about making a new flight sim, plus a large part of the flight sim world still uses FS9. There is a lot of life left in FSX, and the hardware, software and time investment that flight simmers put (and have been building up for years) into their hobby is phenomenal, and who knows if/when Microsoft might re-form their FS development team (whatever they might be saying now).

The flight simming community is well-established, and IMO, the hobby is going to be around for a long time yet.
tin can 21st August 2009, 16:47 Quote
Oh, I also wanted to mention re. profit and opportunity costs (and I am by no means an expert in business strategy) - if a product (flight sim) is making money, why does that take away the opportunity to work in different areas (games)? I would have thought that some of the money raised could go towards funding the other areas, and that putting a stop to it terminates an income stream.
knuck 21st August 2009, 16:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMaltor
This ship sim extremes looks pretty awesome tbh lol :D

haha I was thinking the same :)


I never thought i'd be interested in a sim before !
thehippoz 21st August 2009, 17:06 Quote
think flight sims are kinda weak.. I have fs 10 but your not feeling the gforce, wind, it leads to a bunch of deluded fans who think they can fly with a joystick.. it's more use for pro or hobby pilots imo, and there's not many of those

same with the racing sims, unless you've been in a car or motorcycle going over 150mph, you can't really understand the physics popping a saddle and using a fake steering wheel.. nothing beats the real deal when it comes to machines- same with military sims, proven to work with training.. but it still won't help a saddle popper disassemble or clean a gun, or even get his fat ass over a fence XD

games are entertainment.. leave the mmos for the saddle poppers (big money in that), but make fun, unrealistic games for the rest of us :D bring on more mass effect type games
tin can 21st August 2009, 17:14 Quote
Most serious flight simmers use it to simulate a particular type of aviation activity to a high degree of realism - commercial airliner operations, display piloting, that kind of thing. Many use an awful lot of expensive, specialised hardware (think throttles, radio stacks, multi-monitor and even multi-computer hardware, and so on) and there are certainly some real life pilots there, but by no means all.

Myself, I think of games as one thing (that I enjoy and would like to get into more) and flight simulating as another (that I also enjoy and would like to get into more). In other words, I'm not saying that one is better than the other, just that I (along with most serious simmers) view them as separate categories.
dicobalt 21st August 2009, 17:44 Quote
Can I drive a boat off a waterfall? :P
xprodancer 22nd August 2009, 01:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dicobalt
Can I drive a boat off a waterfall? :P

if you can i want to know!!!!!!
boiled_elephant 22nd August 2009, 23:31 Quote
Thread hijack!

Out of interest, are there any decent racing/driving sims that have been released within the last couple of years? Like, with GRID's graphical quality, but full sim levels of realism? GTR2 always gets mentioned as a fantastic sim, but it's ageing badly...

edit - Test Drive Unlimited looks quite visually lush, don't know how that slipped under my radar...will be checking that out soon.
sc.uk^cRoSsFir3 24th August 2009, 13:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehippoz
same with the racing sims, unless you've been in a car or motorcycle going over 150mph, you can't really understand the physics popping a saddle and using a fake steering wheel.. nothing beats the real deal when it comes to machines

You are right about nothing beating the real thing but IMO wrong on how close to real life these sims are.

I've been racing on sims such as GTL, GTR2, RACE 07, Rfactor for years (Big Motorsport fan). I finally got around to buying a Locost 7 (Kit car) and prepared it for the track.

Within 2 laps I was pushing it around Castle Combe, heel and towing and clipping apexes all because I had done it all before with my G25 wheel on the likes of Rfactor on the PC. You get an understanding of how to drive a car on the track and how to balance it mid corner on the throttle etc

It was the same with FS2004. I used to fly with my Saitek joystick all the time, took a real flying lesson and the guy was convinced I had been having lessons. He let me guide it in on the landing approach while he had control of the power.

Simulation games really are the dog's danglies


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXlr52Cp_Uo

This vid is a good example
DJT 26th August 2009, 17:21 Quote
The word "niche" market is often confused with "bad business", this is why sims are weak - it's hard to rise money to develop a sim - the risk investor will sure say "why don't you do a mainstream first person shooter/RTS/MMORPG like everyone else?" Well that's the problem - like everyone else - so you have to compete with thousands of products and will end as "just one more" in a sea of clones. In the sim world, it's nice because it's small and everyone knows you. :)
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