With the announcement of 1400 layoffs, Microsoft seems to be closing its game studios and the future of Microsoft Flight Simulator appears at best uncertain, according to two publications devoted to computer gaming, Gamasutra and Venture Beat. Gamasutra, which spoke with developments sources, printed that “multiple reports” indicate that “the entire Flight Simulator team has been axed.” However, Microsoft’s official offering on the subject is the statement that “all we’re announcing at this time is what we are committed to flying games.” According to Microsoft, Flight Simulator X, the game’s most recent incarnation, “is the culmination of nearly 25 years” of the franchise, and “the most significant addition to date.” The question for many is how committed the company might be to its flight games line if they do in fact lay off the teams that develop the games. While other flight simulator programs exist, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator programs have been in circulation since the early 1980s and have developed a very large and dedicated fan base, as well as a loyal following of pilots who sometimes use the program to help them stay sharp. Many future pilots, too, have shot complex ILS approaches on their home computers before ever joining the ranks of airborne pilots. And, if the game’s maker does close the storefront for Flight Simulator, there may be many entrepreneurial computer programmers waiting in the wings who may soon see new opportunities.
Blogs set up on the Internet for flight simulator enthusiasts generally responded with a bit of mourning, but are well aware that even without the creative entity that gave it life, the game still works just fine. Some suggest that with any luck the development stoppage will be temporary and will simply allow for advances in hardware to facilitate more comprehensive enjoyment (via faster processors and video cards) of the games they currently own. Stay tuned … .