Friday, June 21, 2013

Orbx to Stop Developing UK Airports?

FSX/P3D. Wow, it appears as if Orbx UK airfields are not selling sufficiently to justify the development costs. John Venema of Orbx has disclosed this information in a recent forum thread stating "We won't keep developing UK airports if customers aren't buying in the volume required to justify continued development.". Although several UK airports are already in development - future projects are now uncertain. Focus is now shifting towards NA, NZ, AU, and FTX Global airports. See John's full statement inside.

Sad news indeed, but, business is business and you can't argue with that.

Statement by John Venema as posted on the developers Facebook page:
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We have not yet begun work on any Scottish payware airports but we do plan to offer a few perhaps by year's end.

Our roadmap for the remaining England and Wales airports will most definitely change because of poor sales in comparison to our NA, AU and NZ airports. We won't keep developing UK airports if customers aren't buying in the volume required to justify continued development.

I can confirm that Southampton International, Fairoaks, Damyns Hall, Deanland, Welshpool and Tim's historic WWII airfield are currently in development but that is the extent of the planned releases at this stage unless sales pick up.

We have rolled out 8 UK airports including EGFF in the space of less than a year but they simply do not sell in the same volumes as say PNW or NA airports, so as a company we absolutely must listen to the voice of our customers and create content in areas which there is demand. For that reason we are focusing our efforts through 2013/14 on new airports in NA, NZ, AU and for FTX Global (EU, South America, Asia, Scandinavia).
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See the applicable forum thread - click here (forum membership required)

51 comments:

Michael said...

UK2000 is a tough competitor indeed.

Brian Simpson said...

I doubt its just UK airports. I think the problem is Orbx airports are all starting to look the same & people are bored of them. Or is FSX just getting boring?

I only buy International airports without nutty DRM.

Brian Simpson said...

Haha, yeah.

Gary's airports are great.

Gary 1, Orbx Nil.


cab said...

I agree

DAndre Newman said...

Well in my opinion, the PNW airfields were not a bunch of grass strips. I think the team should have been putting more focus on airfields like Shoreham. Personally, I would like to see Orbx move into mainland Europe, Scandinavia, and areas with more mountainous terrain...

DAndre Newman said...

Perhaps, but UK2000 airfields suck. Gary's skill is best at making airports.

My opinion though...

Fugly said...

Prepare the Orbx haters in 3... 2..

Anonymoose said...

I'd love to see some French airports.

Milroy said...

well making airports out no where in uk don't make sense people fly into major hubs so it just does not make sense to keep making tiny airports when that time can be used on two or there major ones then move into to different region.

PGB said...

Don't count on me, ORBX. ;)

I'm not the General Aviation enthusiast to buy more of those small airfields.

I'm more interested in aiports like YPPH or YPAD to make my AU wishlist complete or NZAA, NZWN, NZNH.

I did never assume that ORBX will sell those "insignificant" fields endlessly, regardless the area those aiports are beeing situated.

Q400 Driver said...

The only airport I'll be getting in Orbx UK will be Southampton Intl. Q400 airport! Not interested in the GA airports.

Anonymous said...

I just googled Southampton airport in the UK as I'm not familiar with it. What a surprise, it's a tiny little airport.I don't think it will sell much better than the farm yard airports.

bob said...

So i'm got tge only one who thinks grass strips with a few sheds is a waste on $30. Nice hopefully they'll do some interesting places that are challenging to fly near

JAP said...

for me the reason to pass on EU England is the fact that its almost flat terrain, in PNW and AK there is way more landscape variety

M-Sauce said...

I knew this was coming, just by the level of excitement on the Orbx forums when these small UK fields are released. As nice as the Orbx treatment is, these fields and mostly grass and too small. The UK is also mostly flat and somewhat boring to fly around in.

It is a simple formula really. The only small airports that sell are ones that are really cool to fly into, like Milford Sound or Bella Coola. And they should at least be paved to handle something bigger than a C-172.

If you make a bigger regional airport, then it will have to be something unique and fun like Jackson Hole. If you build a small podunk middle of nowhere regional you are gonna have a harder time selling, especially if it is outside the major sim areas like US and Europe.

Major international gateways will always sell well, especially if made by a quality developer.

Nothing to see here said...

A lot of these UK aerodromes Orbx is doing are pure general aviation, with little to no scheduled RPT services. This really restricts the appeal from airline simmers like me. I mean the only GA aerodromes in England (Not Scotland/Wales/NI) that I'm interested in are EGHL Lasham and EGMH Manston, because both of them occasionally receive jet traffic. Another 'aerodrome' I might be interested in buying is the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold.

Finally I don't think it's really that bad to see Orbx leaving England, as there are plenty of interesting airfields in Scotland, the Shetland islands and Norway (IIRC Orbx will be doing FTX Norway soon) and we're already seeing Aerosoft trying to get ahead of the game with their Vaeroy island addon.

Jack said...

I think the biggest problem with ORBX in the UK sector is whether or not you think UK2000's airfield quality is great, for about the same price as one ORBX airfield, you can get a whole pack of UK2000 airfields. Quantity and bang for your buck. As amazing as ORBX quality is, it's hard to drop $30 on an airfield you may only visit a handful of times.

Anonymous said...

i think it´s quite obvius that if they would sell beter they need some bigger airports as ga airports limits it as there are many flyeing comercial and thats the missing part..

Benjamin van Soldt said...

I'm surprised, but I'll admit I haven't bought any UK airfields simply because I'm not interested in them. I find the PNW area much mroe appealing, what with the hills, mountains and wild rivers. I also feel that the PNW airfields are much more unique and interesting, both due to their layout and location. Really, just about any PNW airport is different, they are hardly ever the same. So there. I like flying around PNW a lot more...

Live Wire said...

As GeoRender famously exploited back in 2005/6

Kevin Firth said...

I think this would be a real shame if they stopped. Some of the issues preventing people from buying appear to be:
1) They don't want to fly there.
2) the sceneries are being released too frequently for their wallets to catch up.
3) The sceneries aren't compatible with existing owned scenery (eg GenX)
4) England is 'too' flat.

If you don't want to fly there fair enough there's little OrbX can do about that, but I think there may be several things they _could_ do which might make their sceneries more attractive to more potential purchasers.

1. Make them compatible with existing photosceneries.
2. Make them cheaper perhaps? (economists will be familiar with the Laffer curve)
3. Make slightly larger regional airports rather than just very small grass strips.
4. Compromise on detail to some degree to make them more affordable.

I do think there's demand in the UK market here to be satisfied, just the offer needs tweaking a little to realise it.

Anonymous said...

I am sure due to the latest "global product" announcements, customers are guarded waiting for "their" FTX EU country and airstrip releases.
Customers are not willing to buy every airstrip release in every FTX quality regions to save theri money. While the first FTX releases like FTX AU, i bought every available airfield and airport because there was no information about that FTX is going global. Does it really have something to do with the area UK? Maybe. Norway, Austria, Germany maybe will sell more airfields due to amazing different landscapes.

p3 said...

Stop developing rubbish GA airports and focus on main ones (EGKK would be a good choice or even Manchester).

p3 said...

I Personally think that the reason for their poor sale numbers is mainly poor airport choice.
Develop main airports and people WILL buy them (like the upcoming Southampton).

Anonymous said...

is was goona buy a few but there price is to high £20 an airfield

if they were say £15 an airfield I recon a lot more people would buy them

as they complement the ftx eu England scenery

Martin said...

Was 'bout time to come to their senses...

Anonymous said...

Whilst I'm an Orbx fan and a GA fan and have bought a lot of their releases, I haven't felt (personal opinion) that their work in England has been as good as that elsewhere such as in Canada, Alaska and New Zealand. Also, so far they have tended to concentrate mostly on the south of England. I would be more interested in small GA airfields and small regional airports in the north of England where the landscape is more interesting.

Anonymous said...

Drope the price Orbx, drope the price...

Frank said...

Yeah, this is right I think

jam321 said...

I hope they make airports for EU Scotland as some of the approaches into them are absolutely stunning.

pmb said...

To back your opinion: Aerosoft says German Airfiels sell bad and discontinued them, while Flylogic is continuously developing Swiss airfields.

Benjamin van Soldt said...

Not sure what you are talking about...

Sid said...

I agree with you and what a lot have said Kevin, its not that there's not enough demand for UK airports at all, its just not quite that type the demand is for.

Your Point 3 is absolutely key for me. I will definitely spend $30 buying Southampton International in a heart beat, Day 1. Anything else like that...and I'll buy them all too. I'm from the UK and desperately want more UK airports, just more of this type, at least where a Q400 might get some use or more interesting ones like in e.g. Shetland Islands, Outer Hebrides, Anglesey, Belfast, Bristol International and many many more.

Its the only reason I have Orbx airports in NA and Oceania but don't in UK YET...(too small, too small coverage area compared with the US/Aussie/Kiwi ones, only GA, no regional capability so can't use many aircraft. I will most definitely buy these regional airports in a heartbeat if they're more like the other region ones...I've been patiently waiting, its just Southampton is the first of these to actually be done...and what makes it even more of a no brainer is its by 29palms. Its a lovely airport that I use to visit friends in Jersey. Need airports tat can be used to fly UK regional and out of UK to Europe from.

On another note, if Orbx was to make any airports for FTX Global (especially for Asia, Africa and Latin America) to open up the fs skies, I will buy every single one no questions asked, the more the better, just keep 'em coming, plus I think they'll find new customer bases too. A lot of people are excited and waiting for FTX Global (and possibly holding wallets till then) and how it will transform the world of flight simulation habits for many, especially outside the US/Europe/Oceania. It really can open up a whole new customer base and market type to tap into in the medium term, I believe.

Lastly, hope the Sim 720 team keeps improving...FTX Scotland looks really impressive. The coastlines and natural landscape looks much more to the standard of the US and Oceanic territories. Wish they could go back and tidy over the Welsh coastline to add in the beaches e.g. in the famous Gower peninsula area of natural beauty and depict the city of Cardiff to a closer to Edinburgh level detail/quality (e.g. The University Hospital of Wales, the largest teaching hospital in Europe geographically is completely missing unfortunately, and a lot of the streets are very very wrong in large parts of the suburbs of this beautiful Capital city). Just some examples. I have FTX Wales but would buy it all over again or pay extra to have these things happen.


I can only hope for all of the above but mainly cite these issues to be very helpful and to-the-point as a loyal, happy and very interested ORBX customer, based in the UK, wanting UK add-ons from ORBX, to give some consumer insight into why things aren't selling in enough numbers and where the room for improvements that will completely change things could happen. And judging by a lot of the comments here, I am definitely not alone. I hope for the best but will continue to support this quality developer whenever there's something I can use or would like done, and that's most of what they do. Hope UK changes can be made to fit rest of products in ORBX portfolio and rest of FTX EU follows the same way. Best of luck to a great company that listens to its customers, reflects and always evolves for the better with even better standards.

Thank you!

Sid said...

Exactly! Echoed!

Anonymous said...

UK2000 has very good versions already. Orbx's history with large airport has been very poor.

Anonymous said...

Speak of the devil, John just made a topic about permanent price reductions!

Anonymous said...

I don't believe for a minute that Orbx see UK2000 as any sort of competition or threat, because Gary's airports are just not up to their standard at all.

"Very good versions" might do for you but the reality is that they have no character, are unfinished and incomplete and do not use any of the new techniques that Orbx and other developers have been giving the market for years.

It's all very well offering cheaper airports at that price point but I would rather hold out until Orbx or another quality developer tackles them.

cab said...

Agree! Very high price for what you get when it comes to grass strips. At least give us more area around the airport as well.

Anonymous said...

Really? Link to this?

Flyer said...

I think the problem is quite simple. There are two types of customers. Those, who live in an area and those who who want to explore the area as an aviation tourist.

A lot of people live in London. So doing some stuff in the near vicinity of the city with some detailed points of interest would have been an option. Both types of customers are interested as the city is one of Europe's biggest tourist magnets.

But I never heard of anybody who wanted to spend the holiday in Europe who wanted to go to Bristol or Cardiff rather than Sicily, Crete or the Balearic Islands.

Orbx Price Drop said...

http://www.orbxsystems.com/forum/topic/60457-heads-up-gb-week-promotion-begins-tomorrow-save-%C2%A3-%E2%82%AC-off-uk-series/

John Venema said...

Allow me some points of clarification if I may? I think ADX knows how to write a great headline, so kudos to Mark for getting the hits to his blog post :)

Firstly, we don't view Horizon or photoreal products as being in a competitive space for reasons which are evident to everyone who enjoys 5 seasons, full autogen, consistent colouring, moving traffic, POI objects, and predominately are more interested in immersion and fun rather than total map-accuracy.

Secondly we don't also see UK2000 as being in the same space as Orbx because our focus is on the quality of the finished product to standards we have set for nearly a decade and fully integrated into our FTX regions. Those who buy Orbx airports know what to expect from our team and we won't "dumb down" our airport products to compete in the £10 airport market.

I did not say there won't be anymore UK airports, that's been taken out of context I think by Mark. Rather, we feel the market wants more than grass or small GA strips stuck in the SE/SW of the UK so we will be making out choices more carefully and spending more time on larger airports which are either Q400 or NGX capable.

We have 29Palms about 60% through Southampton International, then they will do Sumburgh in the Shetlands, then Aberdeen etc. We will strategically choose airports that are Q400/NGX capable so that simmers can plan and enjoy flights from one end of the UK to the other and then hop across to EU airports we're working for FTX Global. That is a strategy which makes more sense because the UK is not a bush flyer mecca like PNW.

As a company the buck stops with me and I made the wrong call on the UK small GA strips strategy, and the market has spoken. I hope that showing some human nature in admitting my mistake will give people the chance to see we respond to market forces and continually tweak our product roadmap.

We'll have some Southampton sneak preview shots up later today or tomorrow. Stay tuned :)

Annonymus said...

Orbx made a big mistake developing the UK airports,...for the rest of us in Europe, UK is flat & uninteresting when flying VFR (besides the big airports). Why not develop something that has interesting & beautiful nature in EU?..like Norway(fjords), Switzerland & Austria(mountains)?

Chris said...

I think this new strategy is perfect! thanks for listening to the community! cant wait for all of these 3 airports.

Sid said...

Firstly, I agree largely with the first part of you statement.

However, flight simulation isn't only about going on holidays...exploration to see what's there, yes, virtual tourism even perhaps but people like different places for holidays. I'd like hoidays to the places you say in Europe too but just as much city trips and the like to other types of more temperate locations too.

Have you been to Cardiff? Its a beautiful city and one of the fastest-growing Capitals in Europe. Bristol is a very historically important city in the UK and close to the World Heritage site of Bath (ancient Roman Baths remember) And for us in the UK, most of us fly to your holiday destinations from exactly these types of airports so to keep things realistic we do need these places, very, very much, if not only to take off to your personal holiday destinations Flyer. Just making a point mate. Its not nice to insult places where real people live just because you don't holiday there. Visiting places is different and they receive plenty of visitors from Europe and around the world. As far as needs for flight simulation, they are essential to the UK market and very important airports in reality for passengers. There's a lot going to happen to Cardiff airport in a while, after the Welsh government bought it and put it into private management for further development, even if its all in the early phases of planning. Thanks. Like I say, I agree with your first point/paragraph.

Sid said...

Ditto Chris! Incredible! I can't overemphasize how impressed I am with JV's entire statement...evry word of it....nailed on the head. What market insight, maturity, human humility & flexibility, and attitude in listening to the relevant interested parties/consumers in a particular product series. Fine-tuning the products to their local OR relevant & appropriate markets/customer needs/customer base of a particular product/maximum usability and balancing all these to try and please as many potential customers as possible. A great strategy & roadmap! Done just perfectly! Thank you John!

Anonymous said...

If they want some bucks, they can do paris orly, charles de gaulles and the bourget. Airfields are not interesting for our mgx or 777 pmdg to come.

Sevycool

Kevin Firth said...

Credit where credit's due, JV has stepped up to the mark with this one. I hadn't been an OrbX customer until yesterday, but I'd like to support the development of UK scenery so I've bought Elstree and I'm going to try some more airfields one by one and see if I can make them work with my photoscenery. JV has set up a forum space to discuss and share details on that as well, so some excellent progress.

Flyer said...

I wonder how many people bought Maastricht X or Lelystad from Aerosoft. Not too many I guess. Some simmers who live in the near vicinty maybe. I bought Cardiff and Wales from Orbx and it looks brilliant but "nobody really knows about it outside the UK"(might sound a bit harsh). For me it is a product for a regional market. It is not like Los Angeles or San Francisco. That was what I wanted to point out. And I am with you that especially the city of Bristol is beautiful but as I said before that was not what I wanted to say.

Sid said...

Good on you Kevin. Nice one. Good luck with it too.

I hadn't realised they weren't selling, just thought there was some kind of big UK GA market out there I didn't know about. There is one of course but there's alao the rest of it, perhaps more so in the UK & Europe to some extent due to the nature of aviation in this part of the world to some extent. Anyway, I'm also going to get my first one (UK airport/airfield) in the next week or just along with FTX Scotland too, while I'm at FSS. Looking forward to Aberdeen now also. This is now getting something to sit up about and reserve cash for. Nice one JV! I'm so pleased personally.

Christopher Low said...

If ORBx had made these airfields fully compatible with PlayHorizon GenX photoscenery, they would have sold a LOT more copies. I find it utterly astonishing that they decided not to do this.

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