January 28, 2009
By Mike Collins
“This difficult decision was made to align Microsoft’s resources with our strategic priorities,” the company said in a statement on the Flight Sim Insider Web site. “We remain committed to the Flight Simulator franchise for the long term.”
Microsoft Flight Simulator X, the current version of the application with a history that spans more than 25 years, will remain available at retailers and online.
How Microsoft will support the franchise is not clear. The company says another unit, Microsoft Game Studios, is investing significant resources in many exciting and new areas of gaming and entertainment, including Windows games, Xbox 360, and online games. It’s possible that Flight Simulator could move into one or more of those programs over time, said sources in the Flight Simulator community.
Also not clear is the future of support for Microsoft ESP, a visual simulation platform based on Flight Simulator X that was intended to make the technology available for training and learning. Microsoft said that more information would be available later.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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