Monday, May 6, 2013

Developer Editorial - A Change is in the Air


Developer Editorial. This extremely interesting and thought provoking article titled "A change is in the air" was authored and submitted to us by a payware developer - the author has asked that we do not publish their identity and we are of course going to respect that request. See inside and enjoy!

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Over the past few weeks I am sure many flight simmers have been aware of the sad news about AviaSim deciding not to continue future scenery development. This is just one of many news stories which break in the flight simulation world each week but I feel it is significant as the news regarding AviaSim reinforced a trend which I am beginning to see among ‘our’ small community. The change has been slow and many did not pick up the change but a quick glance on some flight simulation forums with posts dating from 2007 and those dating from the present will make it rather clear, most of the time. I have observed a growing discontent in our hobby, one in which the ultimate power lies with a select few who can decide which companies are successful. I am not saying our hobby is being run like a corrupt government; it is more about which FS sites give developers time to show off their latest release. I will be mentioning names in this editorial as it is the only real way to get the point across.

I shall start with the most recent news which is the decision by AviaSim to step away from development. You may say “fair enough, it is their choice.” And so it is but what is troubling me is the real reason. Only a few people stopped by to give a comment of respect with a majority saying it is “self-inflicted.” I will not let a fellow developer take abuse like that from a few armchair pilots on the internet. AviaSim promised many projects but did not deliver for a wide variety of reasons. I spent most of last night reading up on this developer and all the reasons cited for ending development are legit. Developers face challenges every day, it is not an easy life.  If you armchair pilots (they will know who they are) think you can go about holding developers to ransom, spreading lies about them and shouting personal abuse at a developer is okay, well I am sorry it is not. We would all love to have our favourite scenery or aircraft recreated in one of the many simulation platforms available and many of us live in hope that it will be done sooner or later but there is a very vocal minority trying to force developers to do there area and if they do not they tend to rebel against them. It is disgusting. If you want your area done so badly why not do it yourself? This brings me onto my next point.
Wherever you go there will be different quality benchmarks. It is unreasonable to expect every developer to meet the standards of PMDG, ORBX, FlyTampa or Aerosoft. They are very large companies and have a lot of resources. A majority of the FS market is made up of smaller developers, usually less the five people per company who work hard in their free time developing something for our simulators. Anything who thinks a one man band can create the same scenery as the top four is clearly deluded. It gets worse as then main simmers begin badmouthing the developer and hurling personal abuse at them. Do you ever stop to think for just a few seconds before posting something? Will it be relevant in one week, one month or one year? Most likely not. When you bad mouth a developer or post a personal attack on he/she do you ever think that there is a real person with real feelings and possibly real problems? It is all too common to hide behind the face of ‘Anonymous’ when doing such things. If you do not have the confidence to put your name to a post then why do you insist on posting it? If it was so important to post surely it would only be right to add your name? Many simmers appreciate the more basic offerings of ImagineSim, LatinVFR, Taxi2Gate, Lionheart and several other smaller developers. They do not have the time or resources to compete with the big guys. Almost all simmers like a basic upgrade to an area which they enjoy flying in and this is exactly what these developers do. Fill in a very important niche. Without them there would be a vastly smaller amount of add-ons available to us. The world of simulation would be a much duller place. Every developer has a place in the market. We at present have no universal challenger to replace FSX and it is a dying hobby so why do we express such hatred to ‘second tier’ developers?
We all enjoy having good interaction with developers and we (the developers) enjoy as well, but it is a very fine balance. We enjoy spending time with 95% of the community members but there is an increasingly vocal minority telling the majority. It is hurting business and bringing this hobby to its knees! Everyday there are people threating developers to include a feature which they want or they will not purchase the product. Is this really fair? Should we really be having 5% control what the 95% think about developers? Absolutely not! It is disgraceful. Many developers have other jobs apart from flight simulation and for most developing is a hobby. They work on their projects in their free time for their enjoyment and are kind enough to release their creations for a small fee to the wider community. It is this kindness and openness which is the very base of how this hobby works but it is increasingly coming under threat. The same rhetoric is being repeated time and time again that if a developer charges for something he should have thick enough skin to accept criticism but there is a big different between constructive criticism and badmouthing a developer and launching personal attacks. It is sickening what some people in this community think is an acceptable thing to do. A developer should never feel pressured to give into a few disgruntled people. This must not be allowed to continue. We as a community are shooting ourselves in the foot.
When a developer announces that they have the intention to develop your favourite scenery/aircraft we are of course very excited, but this needs to be controlled. A developer is always grateful of your support but it is a fine line between being excited and demanding news and previews every other week. Development takes time and it takes even more time when there are people on the forums whinging for news and new images. You do not have any right to get some new images or news of a product so please do not go around acting as if it is. The product will be ready when it is ready.
Before I come to a close there are some more points which I wish to discuss. It is rather obvious on the three main flight simulation forums that there is a political culture about them. In 2007 I would never have dreamed of such a thing happening, let alone have it beginning to destroy our hobby. On one forum it is becoming increasingly obvious that the admins and moderators are unable to take a joke or will not let topics continue which are not about their advertisers or people companies who have setup sub-forums with them. We should never allow large companies to get ‘prime time’ on the forums or tell the forum staff what to block and what news items to post. This not the way forward for the community. We need openness and truth about what really happens, not have it all swept under the carpet.
Some readers may be no questioning if I believe in freedom of speech and I can assure you that I most certainly do but one must remember the real people behind the forum names and that they have real feelings. We need openness and transparency in our hobby and we must be friendly to new members. I saw a case on AVSIM where a poor simmer was having a problem with the installation of photoscenery, he thought it was installed but it wasn’t and the member was instantly bashed and make fun off. If we want to keep this hobby alive we need new members and we must be willing to assist people who are not as knowledgeable of the platform rather than hang out in our own ‘group’ and act like we control the entire FS hobby, the reality is the members on AVSIM only account for about 40% of the entire add-on sales industry according to our own market research. Most customers will never visit those sites so why should developers be forced to lean backwards and only support the 40% instead of pleasing everybody, Airbus X Extended by Aerosoft is a perfect example of pleasing all sides. Enough complexity for most simmers while retaining friendly features and utilities for new members.
At present we are heading in the wrong direction, we need to change course. It is time to get up and do something about it. It is time to make sure we have a hobby with a future with friendly members who show respect and gratitude towards developers. Not every single simmer is like it, as said it is a very vocal minority who are telling the majority and developers also have a part to play in the direction we are heading, it isn’t all the customers fault. Everybody in the community needs to clean up their act and renew the community spirit in the hobby before it is too late. What use is it complaining, it is time to get up and do something about it! It is time to look to a brighter future of openness and friendliness, not a tightly controlled closed garden system which we are heading towards.
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Submitted and authored by an undisclosed payware developer

85 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said! I couldn't agree with you more!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment expressed by the author.

The forums and blogs such as this have soured because so many developers jumped on the payware bandwagon. I'm sorry guys but if you charge money for your work then the game changes - you can't throw your hands up and say "Hey I'm only doing this in my spare time as a hobby" and at the same time take peoples' credit card numbers. If it really is just a hobby, you're doing it in your spare time and you really care about the future of the flight sim *hobby* - as opposed to the flight sim business or revenue stream - then release your work as freeware!

There are a great many developers out there who are very talented modellers, artists and programmers, but also very poor businessmen. There are also a very significant number of developers who are more than willing to take advantage of over eager or naive customers.

The likes of PMDG, Orbx, Aerosoft, A2A and Real Air are so highly regarded because they release quality products and properly support them. They don't dump a half finished project on the market, take the money and run.

The change has been in the air for a long time now, and it started when so many developers began seeing $/£/€ signs dancing in front of their eyes, FS websites began worrying more about traffic stats and advertisers, people stopped having fun with flight simulation and started trying to extract money out of it.

I'm also quite perplexed to see the author criticises those who post as "anonymous" yet wishes to remain anonymous himself.

Marvic Jonson said...

"I'm also quite perplexed to see the author criticises those who post as "anonymous" yet wishes to remain anonymous himself."
Maybe its the message that is important and not the sender.
Funny, I don't see your name either....

Anonymous said...

Well presented case--and in many instances you very much have a point. The world, not just the FS community, could do with a bit more kindness. It would indeed be nice.

That said, here's what I feel might be helpful to a developer struggling a bit.

1. If you want to do things 100% as you want--don't charge money.

2. If you charge money, you can still do things 100% as you want but:

3. Be professional. If you're sensitive to criticism get a friend to deal with it. Never complain that you're being treated unkindly--it's unprofessional. If you insist on handling posters who have no manners, then explain calmly and politely that you will not deal with anyone who behaves badly. NEVER TAKE IT PERSONALLY!

4. Don't ever promise anything you can't deliver. Period. If you fail to live up to your promise it makes you look incompetent--regardless of what brought you to that point. Don't do it.

5. If you are in fact one fellow (or gal) taking on JFK LGA and all of Manhattan--then explain that. Be 100% transparent. People will understand--or not--their choice.

6. Learn your craft before you start charging people. Money is not easily come by anymore, and no one wants to be sold something that's sub-standard. Freeware is a good idea here, until you're good enough to move forward to sales.

7. Expect and demand respect, do not expect gratitude or someone to tell you how great you are. This is a business deal, if someone is grateful, praises you, wonderful--but don't be in this to have your ego massaged. You will be disappointed.

8. Do it because you love it.

And I will not comment on the fact that you also chose to withhold your name :)

Anonymous said...

100% agree--very well argued.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have said it any better.
Especially the part about new, unexperienced members.
I remember myself messing around, trying to install the first freeware airplane. No installer, only the folder structure. Gauges? What the heck is that? Where do they go?
That time is long gone but I still remember how hard it was for me to figure all that out, the system and all the tweaks that work behind the graphic interface of the flight simulator.
Everytime you post a comment - remember your "virtual aviation roots"!

- a fellow developer.

Anonymous said...

Very good perspective and good insight thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

A few points:

1. About anonymity:
- There is a thing called "privacy", for which people from the USA know nothing about.
- There are thousands of malicious people out there (in the internet)

2. About developers "beneath" the top developers:
- I agree there is room for them in the market, and that we need them. I myself am a customer for many of their addons.

3. Regardless of number 2, any addon should be priced according to its quality. For example (a hypothetical pricing example), you cannot have pre-2010 (or pre-2009) TropicalSim sceneries priced the same as Flytampa sceneries. It's literally a rip-off.

4. Also regardless of number 2, if you do not charge money, you can do you whatever you want.
But if you charge even a cent, you have to deliver what you promise-advertise. Not even the tiniest detail less. The moment you start charging for something, the advertisement for your product automatically becomes a sacred contract with your customer, from which you have no right to back-out (unless you refund him fully). For example, you advertise LNAV for an aircraft -> then it has to be able to handle every known SID/STAR/approach in the world - yes, even the ones with radial interception and DME arcs. There is no such thing as a "demi" feature, from the moment you advertised it for your product. If you cannot deliver it, do not promise-advertise it. Or fully refund your customer.

Anonymous said...

I prefer to remain anonymous because of all the hoops you have to jump through to be anything else.

Chris Strobel said...

I tend to agree with this argument a little more than the authors too.

Chris S

Anonymous said...

I would agree for the most part, but think that developers who have not reached the level of FlyTampa or others shouldn't be charging as much or more for their scenery. Start low and increase the price as the quality increases.

Anonymous said...

Did you know some customers think its OK to send death-threats to developers

Robin Corn said...

My initial reaction to this post was that this is really the way it's been for the 15 years that I've been on the net -- some people think that they have the right and the duty to continually contribute negatively. Anyone who wants to put themselves out there on the net has to figure out how to deal with this, especially if they want to make any money.
But maybe things have changed -- not the negativity, but access to it. Every news site these days offers the chance to comment, even anonymously, so some of this will be abusive and destructive. I'd hate to be starting out as a payware developer at the moment, I've been doing it for seven years, and on the net for 15 years, so I've figured out how I like to deal with the worst of this, but I don't think I'd have the same skills coming into it now.
These 'negative contributors' are always going to be around, some can be educated to behave reasonably on the web, some can't. Giving them too much power over us is not going to accomplish anything.

flynw said...

Personally I think both sides, consumers and developers, could both lay off the other a bit. I have my fare share of payware aircraft and none of them are perfect. Each one has something that I dislike or downright hate. That being said everything I've bought I have done research on. I have looked at screenshots, reviews, videos, anything I can find. There are many aircraft and sceneries that I have not bought because they were not was I was expecting, so when I do pay for something and find these issues I don't get mad at the developer but at myself for buying it. Usually its something small that at the end of the day does not ruin the product but a small annoyance. No one is perfect and while I agree that developers should not charge for features that don't exist, or should work at improving broken or missing features, the community as a whole should not get up in arms. At the end of the day you made the decision to pull out that card and buy whatever it is, no one held a gun to your head. If there is an issue, kindly ask the developer about it and be patient, your not the only one with that issue. As far as developers go, I know not one of you is perfect but the work you do is amazing. Some developers are great at responding to all kinds of feedback and working on issues, some downright suck at it.
Basically what I am saying through this rant is this...
developers: keep doing what you are doing. This hobby that we all love would not be the same without you. But please listen to what people are saying (even the a-holes) and be patient with us consumers.
consumers: for starters...don't be an a-hole. If something ain't perfect, be gracious about it and let the developers know kindly and you are more likely to get a good response. Understand that not everything can be or will be perfect, and once you accept that your favorite airport may forever be an AFCAD update you downloaded years ago, you can get out and enjoy everything else a little more.

Anonymous said...

about point 4.

Did you know PMDG NGX don't support DME Arcs? so I should be able to demand a refund for my NGX?

Anonymous said...

Answer to Anomymous about point 4 (DME arcs):

PMDG may not support DME arcs, but at least it replaces them with a series of points, accurate enough, that will get the (same) job done.

While, on the other hand, the product I had in mind will fly and crash you directly to the side of the mountain, the DME arc was there to help you avoid, and give you a first place on the next day's virtual Aviation Herald with a (C) tag (for crash), and 3-4 virtual crash investigation committees on site, the next day.

Mathijs Kok said...

Very good editorial. Allow me to make one additional comment.

The cost of developing add-ons has grown tremendously while the market is at best stagnant and demanding more reasonable prices. That is very problematic for many smaller developers.

An example? Here is one. One of the best selling products I was ever involved with (long time ago) showed cities as grey polygons without any additional detail. People loved it, they could now see their own small village! Jumping to the current day and in our forum there was a discussion about what the headline in a newspaper was. The newspaper is in the hand of guy on a Greek beach. It's part of the scenery. That it the level of detail we are now getting. From a town shown as a grey polygon to a newspaper that it is 'readable'.

Now even with far better tools and a load of experience I can tell you that these things differ in cost of development. And that is why a lot of the commercial development is still done by people who love it. Often it does not make commercial sense for the developers. They are working for peanuts but they do not care because it's the people that count. Not the money. It's the community that makes this fun.

And that is why the editorial makes so much sense. If people feel 'secure' by hiding behind anonymous logins to forums, they tend to behave like juveniles. Let's stir up some mud, troll a bit and when the account gets blocked we'll just make another. That others get hurt in the process seems to be acceptable these days.

My point of view is simple. Anything you would not dare to say to another persons face should not be on a forum. It probably should also not be in a email btw. And do believe me, people who are nice and polite get far better service than people who end a post with the favorite sentence of some customers :"and if you ignore this email I will tell all my friends and all the forums about the way you handle your business". Our reply to that is always the same. "feel free to do so Sir, we'll then publish our complete conversation and let the readers decide who handled it better."

All most developers and support people are asking for is to be treated with some respect and even if you disagree on something, that's not too much to ask for.

But on our own forums we'll always decide what is acceptable or not. They are part of our marketing and public relations. We have rather loose rules and we allow a lot more than on other company forums, but we still have the last say in what stays and what goes. I believe that is rather normal.

Mathijs Kok
Aerosoft

Anonymous said...

No disrespect/offense, but that still does not answer the question, can I get a refund?

Sure, it places points, but its wrong to argue its sufficient, with certain RNAV procedures, you still can crash in the NGX.

My point is, every product advertising should not be taken so literally, sometimes researching what you are buying before hand might help.

Anonymous said...

Mathijs,

Thanks for your input. You guys at Aerosoft are a class act and you conduct yourself professionally and care about the value and reputation of your brand. The way you handled Deutschland X was commendable. I have been flight simming for many years now and know that if I buy an Aerosoft product I will not be disappointed.

We've got something of a disjoint - many (perhaps nearly all) of the small developers have registered their own domain names for their snazzy professional looking website featuring product catalogues emblazoned with their logo, credit/debit card and Paypal payment options, copyright notices, EULAs, legal disclaimers, privacy policies, etc etc. They purchase banner ads on the various FS websites and market their wares on the forums. They give the impression of being a professional outfit in business to make money.

These same people can't then proclaim "Give me a break I'm just a normal hobbyist doing this stuff in my spare time". It's utterly disingenuous.

If we the consumer need to clean our act up, then so a a great many of the commercial developers.

Anonymous said...

Marvic Jonson,

"Funny, I don't see your name either...."

I'm not the one criticising people for posting anonymously whilst at the same time witholding my own identity.

Anonymous said...

My NGX does support DME ARCs! (Navigraph cycle)

Anonymous said...

You can't please everyone. The end. lol :)

Anonymous said...

Before rewriting the odyssey the author should had started to think out of the box.

As long i'm monitoring flightsimulation business, most developers try to qualify FS- market as something extraordinary to keep their own behaviour.

In fact they never learned how to deal with, thread and satisfy customers. Now the resistance of developers has to pay the bill.

If you do everything right you don't have to deal with rude customers.

And as long customers pay developers, not the other way round, you shouldn't be astonished that your idea of market doesn't fit to any market.

And please never forget, FS business is one of the luckily markets you don't have to pay for feedback (regardless if good or bad), which is by trend given, anonymously!:)

In 21st century you aren't just developer you are a person providing a service as well.


Anonymous said...

Great editorial that actually goes into issues that we see every day.

The general tone in the various forums has, over the last few years, become much more agressive, maybe this is just the sign of the twitter and facebook generation being present.

Just a small add to Mathijs' post...

The editorial seems to split developers into two parts - small developement groups and then the developers working for the "very large companies" like PMDG, Aerosoft etc...

Let me tell..
I´m working for Aerosoft, developing aircraft, but it is still not my prime work. I have a daytime job, only developing for Aerosoft in my sparetime. Thats also the case with most of my fellow Aerosoft developers. The term "Aersoft internal developement" does not mean that we sit in the Paderborn office working from 08:00-16:00. We are sitting at home in front of our own privat PC's in the evenings and weekends and communicate via Skype, ICQ or email.

The rough and demanding tone, seen on many forums towards developers, hurts us as much as the small teams.
Sometimes we also ask ourself if it´s really worth to "waste" our precious freetime, developing stuff that actually has the goal of pleasuring other fellow flight simmers.
The reason we continue comes down to the fact that we know the whiners and the anonymous persons who seemingly never have learned how to act towards other persons, still are a minority and often we see that they are the same people who pop up on other forums.

Nevertheless I think it´s time for people to start thinking twice before posting.
I fully understand the frustation when a certain addon doesn´t work as expected, and requests to get it fixed are legible, but please weight Your words. We are only human beings. also having the right to defend ourself. If the words You are faced with are rough, then You tend to answer in the same tone.

Finn Jacobsen
(Aerosoft developer)

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's the Facebook and Twitter generation. No, it's the baby boomers on the Internet at the helm of the nastiness. Constant expectations of must have it perfect, must have it now, gimme gimme

Anonymous said...

Could something please post what Aviasim said.

I refuse to use Zuckerberg's untrustworthy site.

flynw said...

Agree.

Aaron Graham said...

It is available on FSDeveloper, an excellent website.
Link - http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthread.php?t=425858

Anonymous said...

Really really dumb statement!

Anonymous said...

I´km not sure if it was my statement regarding the twitter and facebook generation You found a real dumb statement.
If so, then I actually write "maybe".
I have been occupied with flightsims for 20 years now and had internet acces for over 15 years and fact is that during the past 3 years the tone in the forums has changed considerably to the worse.

Finn Jacobsen

Anonymous said...

I have been both a retailer and a consumer. There is a consumer mentality, where consumers often make unreasonable demands.

By the same token, there is a fair amount of outright fraud by developers who misrepresent what their products achieve.

I should point out that under the Uniform Commercial Code, which is the law in 49 of the 50 states, and is based on German law, the rule is perfect tender. That is, the seller has an obligation to deliver a product which conforms to the contract in every respect. Substantial performance is not enough.

In many cases, the developers have the consumers over a barrel. A consumer does not know how well the product actually works, and is dependent upon the developer to provide a fair and accurate description of what the product is and does. The consumer is expected to take it as a matter of faith that the developer is telling the truth.

When the product fails to perform, developers too often fail to either fix the problem or refund the consumer's money in full and in short order.

Actually, under the Uniform Commercial Code, a purchaser can revoke his acceptance of a product if it fails to conform to the contract, and the vendor has a legal obligation to make a full refund. Many developers get away with breaking the law in this respect.

Moreover, I have noticed that developers do stifle negative by honest criticism of their products. I have noticed several commercial sites that encourage purchasers to make comments and leave feedback, but scrub the comments section of negative feedback.

It is unfortunate, but as a consumer, I use Paypal for just about every purchase. Paypal will refund my money and charge it back to the developer if the product fails to live up to the claims made for it or if it does not otherwise function. Still, I have been cheated more times than I care to recount.

Anonymous said...

You must be the only one that is monitoring the UCC for what it's worth. Your observation about the UCC in the most part is correct generally, but fail when it comes to rationalizing outright adherence of UCC by all and every retailer and developers world-wide. Should the government go after Microsoft for deliberately lying to me and millions out there over and over again with each series of windows platform that it is a completely bug-free product? Very unlikely because we all, and certainly the government, know it too well that that is the nature of doing business. If you find the product not suitable for you after you paid for it, then you did not do enough due diligence as a consumer at the front-end before making the purchase. You and no one else should be blamed for your mistake. All products are NOT BUG FREE. Period.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is that if you treat your customers with honestly & respect...you'll get the same back...if not you WILL get what you deserve by all rights...why is nobody having problems with A2A or PMDG?

Anonymous said...

It is your responsibility to be honest & truthful about your product, and above all to follow the law!...we are not talking about realize bugs now but much deeper problems!
"If you find the product not suitable for you after you paid for it, then you did not do enough due diligence as a consumer at the front-end before making the purchase"-not easy if you get lied to or deceived by false advertising & posts in forums!!!

Anonymous said...

On second thought, this AviaSim fellow essentially threw a public tantrum, and did what kids do in the sandbox when they're upset: Take the ball and go home.

As for the rest, there's plenty of blame to go around--both customers and developers.

Robin Corn said...

Very true, my previous boss had some basic business principles which I've adapted for my own business -- listen to the customer if they are unhappy, figure out what it takes to make them happy, if you can't give it to them, then ask them what it would take to make them happy -- if you can't give them that, then explain why. And finally -- never give a refund.
Refunds normally mean that you haven't been as honest as you should have been. Sales can be driven by marketing which stretches the truth, or by happy customers -- both methods work, but the almost totally-online aspect of flightsim means that word will get around if you are not being honest.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Finn, "really really dumb" was harsh. I was just really surprised by your comment. I have always thought the FS community was a younger crowd (16 - 26 years of age on average). I'm an "older" simmer and have always felt like the minority.

Anonymous said...

Then why are you agreeing with the reply above? You just made his point. Can't teach stupid, can we.

Anonymous said...

Your not a minority mate, however we older mature simmers really need to set a good example, and show everyone else how to act and behave properly

Anonymous said...

I also think AirdailyX should stop trawling FSdeveloper forums for news items, this is a forum for developers to show off there half finished models to other developers, we dont need every little thing reposted here as if it was 'News', most topics posted here from FSdev have copped some pretty bad criticism for not looking top-notch, when I post something there I do NOT want it becoming news here.

So I think some of the ill-feelings going around are actually perpetrated by this site "AirdailyX"

just saying...

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I focussed on the UCC was because I am a lawyer, moreover a commercial litigator.

There is no obligation for a consumer to do "due dilligence." Quite frankly, I don't know how you came up with that idea or where it came from. It certainly is not the law.

Developers have an obligation to tell the truth. They are not entitled to lie their headss off, and they are not entitled to foist shoddy, incomplete or defective products on the public.

It certainly is hard to blame a consumer, who after being defrauded, chooses to assert his rights under the law, or who chooses to inform other consumers of the fraud.

Anonymous said...

Ferengi Rule of Acquisition Number 1: Once you get their money, you never give it back!

Anonymous said...

Right, Mr Lawyer.

That UCC Code or whatever fails to assure online retailers in the case of a refund that the product is completely removed from the system. No law/guideline is flawless.

Anonymous said...

LOL. I love it when UCC lawyers (and the guy above) don't go after consumers requesting refunds but still retain downloaded items on their hard-drives. You can't have it both ways, Mr. Lawyer by sticking it to the developers/retailers that way.

Todd said...

Sir, please explain your comments about the people of the USA. To say we know nothing about the right to privacy is laughable. Name one country that protects the rights of it's citizens (and is willing to fight for the rights of others around the world) more than the United States of America.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the developers and retailers are looking for excuses not to return money after defrauding their customers.

They could have avoided the problem altogether by delivering a product which performed as promised. The consumers are not the bad guys here.

Look, the developers chose the method of delivery. If they want the product wiped from someone's hard drive, they need to provide the method for doing it and confirming it has been done. Otherwise, this is nothing more than an excuse to justify cheating people.

The developers also are likely to know that the product was defective at the time they sold it. Unless they did not thoroughly play test it. It seems disingenuous for them to accuse their customers of theft after they have defrauded those customers.

The simple truth of the matter is that almost every product can be found, for free, on sites like the Pirate Bay. The customers who are honest and actually pay for the products are the ones who get screwed. First, they are cheated out of their money. Then they are accused of being thieves.

It seems that if developers do not want to respect the legal rights of their legitimate customers, they can hardly complain when others obtain illegal downloads of their products.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know the average simmer age is more around 45 years and I doubt that people at that age, who also where around the FS community for a decade ago, are those who cannot speak in a respectfull tone apart from a very few examples.

Finn Jacobsen

Anonymous said...

If anything, I would say that Airdaily X is much too supportive of developers and not nearly protective enough of consumers. More often than not, it reads like a house organ rather than an honest source for news.

Quite frankly, I don't know why any sane developer would want to inform his competition about the status of his development. Or why any sane developer would want to upload any pictures in any way suggesting that his product is a piece of crap.

Anyone who has been in business knows that advertising is ferociously expensive and often it a big black hole you can throw money into.

It seems that Airdaily X gives a lot of small developers a lot of free advertising. Moreover, Airdaily X seldome says anything bad about any product, no matter how bad or disfunctinal it is. Something has to be really really bad to get a bad review from this site.

Anonymous said...

That is hardly a justifiable argument considering most retailers post notice that they don't offer refunds. I cannot see how you justify that because of that developers deserve to be stolen from

Anonymous said...

If you all think the older simmers are so mature, check out Avsim for a few days. It's the old ones sending death threats and pulling the strings of FS politics. When was the last time you saw more than a handful under 25?

Anonymous said...

You have to realize, that many people take advantage of refunds, by buying the product, then claim its faulty, so that they can have BOTH the product and the money back.

Allowing refund policies will only further encourage piracy as users can simply upload whatever they have after getting their refunds.

DAndre Newman said...

HAHA!! Now that is true!!

DAndre Newman said...

Please give me of an example of a product that we hailed as superking and had nothing negative to say about it where you personally owned the product and found many issues wrong with said product.

1 recent example over the past year please "Mr. anonymouse"

DAndre Newman said...

Oh yes, and about your statement about us being too supportive of developers. Not speaking for my partners, but only for myself. It's my goal to support the developers. Damn right. It's why I work so hard and put so much personal time into this blog. It's to support and give back to the development community that has worked so hard to bring me the things I love: Products for flight simulation. A hobby that i am dearly passionate about.

So you are damn right, I have, do now and will always support the development community. Serving our readers is simply a by-product of how we support the development community. It's 2 fold. We support the developers by amplifying the news they produce (a form of advertisement yes) and on the same coin, the readers get an easy 1-stop-shop for all that is happening in the community.

Again, on the other side, we also allow our readers to comment their honest opinions on products in development fully aware that the developers follow the blog. We have seen products changed, modified, and updated solely based on reader comments found here. And the developers do get in-touch with us when this happens.

We also allow you all to say a hell of a lot more here. Things that could get folks banned in other places. People are getting sick of censorship and we go just a bit further is support of our readers so allow them to be heard. Just like your own feedback and comments about us.

Now I also take pride in my impression reviews which still advertise products in a way while still giving an honest opinion of the product. It that regard, we serve the reader too. We also get these first looks and reviews to you quicker than anyone else on the internet. Period. We do get some press copies but would be amazed about how much we spend on products for the sole purpose of providing you with as much information quickly and as possible. If you think there hasn't been anything negative feedback from us on products, clearly you are not reading and just picture browsing. And we are very clear on the we don't believe in, you are not actually reading the blog.

No as to your comment us not being nearly protective enough of consumers. We are not here to be your mommy and daddy and protect you from anything or anybody. At the end of the day it's up to you to make up your own damn mind about what you will and wont or should and should not purchase with your money. All we try to do is present you with as much information as we can.

That is what we have always done.

But as they say: No matter how hard you try, you just can't make everyone happy.

I'm sorry you feel the way you do...


Anonymous said...

Airdaily X is doing an excellent job! I don't have to bother searching the net for news they'll do it for me, & come on Airdaily X is run by 3 guys you can't expect them to be CNN/Reuters or some "self appointed FSX justice court"!

flynw said...

Airdaily X is in my opinion the best source out there. I for one am glad that y'all have few negative comments. To many reviews focus on the bad and not the good. No item is perfect but it is better to praise it for what is done well not messed up. If you don't like what you see, don't buy it and shut up. Maybe someone else will like it even with its faults. And I like how they get news early, as the poster above said it saves me a lot of time of going trough lots of other forums or sites just to find a single screenshot.

Anonymous said...

"It's why I work so hard and put so much personal time into this blog. It's to support and give back to the development community that has worked so hard to bring me the things I love: Products for flight simulation. A hobby that i am dearly passionate about."

Forgive my cynicism DAndre but do you deny that the reality with review sites is that the developers give the reviewers free copies of their software in exchange for advertising. They cannot truthfully hold themselves up to be impartial as the are unlikely to bite the hand that feeds them. That is understandable if a little predictable. It is what it is, buyer beware!

I agree with the OP in that the so called community has degenerated to the point where "community" is a bit of a misnomer these days. I imagine the trend will continue.

I post as anonymous as I have been attacked for transcribing an opinion one too many times by members of the "community".

Anonymous said...

I am also a developer and just wanted to add a few observations, I also wish to remain Anonymous.

The FS community is composed by mainly the people who buy and they are very few and they remain to be only the hard core hobby people who buy addons.

This community has become more smaller considerably since 2007. I use to sell 2000-3000 copies on a year or two of a product. Now I barely sell 1500 in the same time frame.

Even the big guys I doubt they break 2000 copies in a year, if they say so they are lying.

Anyways, since only the hardcore hobby types are buying they are very picky and demanding on what they want. And only developers who work tirelessly a year on a product manage to sell significantly but still our hourly wage is that of someone who cleans bathrooms for living so that's why we need to have a day job and developing as our second job.

Now the people who post in these forums or blogs are just less than 7% of the FS community. yes really! Do we care if people here hide within the internet to bash at our work like a pinata? of course, but we just let them go and dismiss them as the whining types who want so much detail that later they complain that their systems don't run very well with the addon.

For everything there is a price and for doing work in this niche market business we need to suck up and take the criticism lightly because there aren't tens of thousands users buying this stuff every day and with the few that there is we need not let them away.

Anyways gents, relax and enjoy this hobby.. don't take it too seriously as some people here do.

DAndre Newman said...

Clearly, you are not reading my reviews. Besides that poing. Please tell me that you disagree with at least 1 review i have written. And not everything we get is a press copy. We purchase many products.

Anonymous said...

You are quite correct, I am not reading your reviews. I consider my purchases carefully and am not swayed by a reviewer who more likely than not, received his copy gratis and has his eye on website analytics, advertising revenue and free software. I am simply a cynical consumer with an eye for quality.

I never stated that I disagree with any of your reviews.

My point is simply that the so called "community" no longer deserves the appellation. Perhaps it might be better considered as having assumed the dynamic of merchandiser and consumer. With that dynamic comes expectation from the consumer which either can or cannot be satisfied by developers. They then either can or cannot remain in business at whatever their level.

It's a marketplace, not a community as people are wont to refer to it.

You are a participant in that marketplace and I question your altruism. I think people find it difficult to relax and enjoy the hobby when the majority of FS sites are trying to convince them to get out their credit cards.

Anonymous said...

I might add that you are to be commended for hosting an open debate. We may all benefit from it yet and hopefully recapture some of that sense of community at some point. Well done Sirs!

DAndre Newman said...

Well you are free to feel that way but your accusations are quite unfair if you never actually read one of my reviews. Thus I dismiss your entire statement. You have basically questioned my integrity without even read a single review of mine. Moreover, you have catagorized ADX as falsely representing products. All i can say is wow. I dont think this site is meant for you.

James. Right?

DAndre Newman said...

And for the record, its still a community for those of us who consider it to be so. I have met my partners Dom, Mark, built relationships with developers and made friends with fellow simmers some of whom I have actually met in person. Its just not a community for you and your obvious negative feelings. Im sorry for you but for many of us its a great community where thousands come together everyday in the various forums Etc to discuss a hobby they love.

Mahin Khandaker said...

Very well written, and 100% true. If someone doesn't like an add-on then let it be, but don't bash the developers.

Anonymous said...

I am not James.

DAndre, I am not attacking you. I commend you for hosting an open debate! There are things to be learned on all sides from such a debate. It is nothing personal.

When you run a website which, by your own earlier admission, accepts software gratis for review from developers, you can hardly be so shocked when your motivation is called into question about it though I understand why you might not like the awkward position into which this practice can put you when attention is drawn to it.

If you dismiss my opinion out of hand, then you dismiss all those who might share that opinion also.

I don't see that I've insulted you and if I have I did not intend to but surely you can appreciate my point of view?

I am simply trying to participate in an open conversation, in an honest way, on a site that began the conversation. Conversation tends to lead to places that are sometimes uncomfortable and it is a measure of your sense of community that you will facilitate such a conversation for which I commend you once again.

I imagine you

Anonymous said...

I also am fortunate enough to have made and met good friends through my pursuit of the hobby. I am not bashing the hobby or it's participants, I am just of the opinion that the increased commercialization of the hobby has detracted from it's enjoyment somewhat and has damaged, possibly irreparably, the sense of community that earlier existed.

When it's about money it can't also be about community, the two are generally mutually exclusive.

The question that remains and I think many are looking to answer is how do we restore that sense of community? If the devs wish to protect their market then they need to put some thought into this, as do we all.

Where do we go now?

Anonymous said...

It's a trade off, you can either have the high quality and steady stream of products from a commercial market or the lower quality and slower output of pure freeware. It's a noble cause to go back toward freeware but if FS had never been commercialized we would probably never see the NGX, FSDT airports, Orbx regions, and many more. With the long development cycles of current quality products I doubt many developers could maintain it as a side hobby. Add in maintaining websites, forums, and distribution networks. Freeware libraries are mostly maintained with ad revenue which comes from... Addon developers.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I'm not suggesting going back to freeware, I'd be lost without the ever increasing complexity that only payware can bring to the party.

I don't have the answer to my own question but I find myself asking myself more and more often. It seems that others too are lamenting the loss of community. I'm really just bouncing around ideas, I could be completely wrong in my opinion, it wouldn't be the first time.

Is it even possible to wind back the community clock? I doubt it if I'm honest though I hope I'm wrong. What if the Devs got together and opened a new site that they paid for but did not participate in? Sell it as a new beginning, an offering to the community! Keep their support forums for product support and their glossy shop sites for selling but give the community a hangout without the hard sell.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

This is dangerously close to becoming pointless. Sorry. FSDevelopers have it very very easy compared to the rest of the 3D/texture art industry.
Most FSDevelopers work themselves and thus get most royalties. And let's be honest. The quality standards are pretty low in the FS world to make it as a payware. Just look at simmarket, they will sell any sort of crap for no less than 15 euros!

So get a grip here, when you ask for money make damn sure that you deliver quality and support. Do people think that Flytampa/Aerosoft/ORBX /D.D./FSDT or G or whatever FSD (lol) out there were made overnight? or got their reputation after one crappy add-on?!

Customers could not, and should not, care if some do it as a hobby or as a full time job. Doing it as a hobby does not justify the fact that developers can serve whatever they want and be home free. They have a responsibility IF they want to be successful and stay in this business.

The average developer for FS thinks money come easy. Well guess what, it doesn't. While full time FS development might give you a good deal of money, it will only do so if you are damn good at it. Below average developers, like the 80% of those working for FS, simply cannot charge people for money at those ranges. Get over it.

DAndre Newman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DAndre Newman said...

To the guy I thought was James (sorry to the "real" James) the writing style here is remarkably similar.

You say you are not attacking me and whereas I agree, for now, I will still assert that you are making some very unfounded and unfair accusations towards me. You are basically alleging that I purposefully direct my product reviews towards a light that purely serves the best interest of the developers. That commercial interests are what primarily drives the work I put into my reviews.

Do you think I earn a living by running this blog? You think I put in the work for free product copies? Mathijs Kok or the guys at Simmarket can clearly display the thousands I have spent on their products not to mention all the other products I have purchased from other developer sites.

Believe me, I don't do the work for money, products, or otherwise. Those who have actually read my impressions will tell you I am quite honest indeed.

Read my Atlanta or Elstree reviews. I am always honest. And I review what I want to review. I talk about what I personally like.

No one tells me or influences what I write about. And furthermore, your allegations about me are quite hypocritical at best. If I had something to hide, I would not even bother publishing your comments or waste my time responding to them.

I myself have a full time job, wife, kid, and other hobbies. I do what I do because I enjoy it.

So with that said, you are welcome to believe what you want. But if you respond again still having not read one of my reviews, I will refrain and will instruct my partners not to publish anymore of your comments because to make these statements (again having not even read my reviews) it's become trolling.

So read my latest review, and tell me exactly what you disagree with. Show me how I am kissing the ass of the developer VS writing a review purely based on my passion and feelings towards it.

The purpose of this blog is to be different. And again, I think it is not for you...

Read my latest review here: http://airdailyx.blogspot.com/2013/04/orbx-elstree-our-impression.html
If you don't read it, don't come back with any more comments.

Anonymous said...

'Not James' seems reasonable, I do not think it trolling.
This is a good article. I agree with first poster, 'At present we are heading in the wrong direction, we need to change course. It is time to get up and do something about it. It is time to make sure we have a hobby with a future with friendly members who show respect'.

DAndre Newman said...

okay. But the accusations towards me and what I do here are not.

Anonymous said...

"Never give a refund".

Seriously?

So, you've lied ripped-off customers because your software does not what it claims to do, and you do not refund the customer, to save face?

You are an excellent Ferengi my friend.

Anonymous said...

"Piracy".

Just another excuse for developers to be able to do whatever they like (in terms of quality control, and delivering what they promised).

To developers -> piracy is your problem, and yours alone.

It is not that of your legal customers. They have given you the money in exchange of fully fullfilling what you state in your products advertisement.

You do not have any right to pass a problem of yours (piracy), to your legal customers. It's your problem.

Anonymous said...

A developer has nothing to fear from piracy if he is honest, responsible and professional:

ie

He fullfills what he advertised, to the letter.

Ryan said...

It's a hobby called "Flight Simulator" and the purpose is to simulate flight and everything around it. Yes, we demand top quality, and no I do not feel bad for people that put out crap products and expect to be hailed like PMDG or FSDT. Give me a break. Would it be fair to say that rock climbers shouldn't expect top quality gear? No it wouldn't. We need the best option there is, and we are willing to pay for it, period. If you can deliver then you will profit, if not you will fail. Simple. get over it.

Last, your condescending attitude isn't a good thing. "Armchair pilots", you are calling us "armchair pilots" like it is an insult. Guess what, we make you not the other way around. I bet this is why you want to be anon, you coward.

Robin Corn said...

The idea is to not lie, or rip-off the customer, and only produce software which does what it claims. Or more precisely, only claim what it does.

I've averaged about one refund per year through my online store for the last seven years, mostly for duplicate orders.

Sure, some people expect to be able to try-before-you-buy, but I don't encourage that, it takes the onus off the customer to do any research into what they are buying.

And sometimes the customer gets the wrong idea, not from any 'lies', but generally from the way the web works. People can 'discover' a product from a number of sources. For example, someone might recommend my product as 'FSDT-quality', and therefore there's an expectation which might not be realised. (I have no idea what 'FSDT-quality' is, I assume they make quality scenery, but I've never seen it.) Any expectation in this case doesn't come from me, it is an assumption only.

It is quite common for a potential customer to ask me a few questions first, and if I think that my scenery won't suit them, I say so.

For what it's worth, 99% of my customers are from Australasia, Asia or Europe, I have very few US customers. I suspect that US simmers think a little differently when it comes to their purchases. In my experience, my customers don't assume that they are going to be ripped-off, but they do choose carefully.

Matt said...

You can't have your cake and eat it. Not James is right, if you accept free copies people will be quite naturally suspect when they read your reviews. That shouldn't come as a surprise to you even if you are completely honest in them. You threatened him with the same kind of censorship talked about in the first article, even telling him the site is not for him.
I run a flight simulation site so I know what it's like to have to accept negative comments and even direct attacks and I sympathise but it comes with the territory.
I share the negative outlook on the community I'm sorry to say.

DAndre Newman said...

You missed my point entirely. Obviously, you have not read any of my reviews either. Its not about censorship. Its about respect. And if a person wants to be blantly disrespectful about how I write a review while refusing to actually read one, it's trolling. I now if both of you actually read them and still feel the same way then oh well. Thousands of others read them so ill still do them.

This is the very reason Avsim claims they shut down their webshop. But unlike them or AviaSim ill continue to do the work as long as people continue to read it. People will always have some kind of negative and its actually nice to see some of the thoughts out there. As for this particuler conversation (a bit off topic) ive said all im going to say on the matter. Thanks guys for visiting the site regardless of your opinions of us. were glad you visit!

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

If you don't like it, don't buy it. If a developer does a crappy airport and wants to charge 100 EUR, let them so and you need not buy it, that's the best you can do. If you don't like it, then become a developer, work on it and sell it.

Anonymous said...

Is this the most active topic in the history of ADX? Will we reach 100 posts?

DAndre Newman said...

Not the biggest but getting close!

Matt said...

I should have said, I read your reviews if they are about the products I'm considering purchasing, I think they are quite good and fair. They have been of benefit to me to be sure. All I was saying is I can see his point and didn't think he went too far.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with You.

If You pay for something it should also work as advertised.

But offcourse as a customer You must also know that there is a difference between a 60,- euro product and a 40,- euro product.

It´s like selecting between a Opel and a Audi. Both will get You from A-B, but hopefully the Audi will do it more comfortable and offer You better eatures for the trip, since it´s more expensive.
Don´t blame Opel for not offering You the same level of features.

Finn Jacobsen
(Aerosoft Developer)

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