It's really not about the money!
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Thread: It's really not about the money!

  1. #1

    It's really not about the money!

    You can't be in the sim community for very long without at some point hearing a passing remark or reading a post somewhere about "Whatever happened to Emma Field for FSX?"
    It has been frustrating for the Emmaites to have gone so long without their beloved Emma Field in FSX. I don't have inside information, nor am I privy to any of the goings on within the small group that is overseeing the production of EmmaX. I have been assured at various times by some of the significant folks in that group that it is being worked on and it is a priority now that TongassX has been released.

    In the interim I produced a substitute Emma Field for FSX and posted it yesterday over on the Emma forums. To date there have been over 250 downloads. Not bad, but it also got me to thinking about profit and loss and what that small group of designers stood to make on this venture.

    If they set the going price for EmmaX at, say $45., that would reward them with a take of about $11,300. To someone who's broke, like me, that sounds damn good, lol. But by my estimate, there are at least 3 or 4 designers working this project (possibly more but I'll use 4 for this example). With that, the individual money in hand becomes approx. $2300. Hmmmm, now it starts to look kinda meager, lol.

    Finally, consider how much time they have amassed, individually, on this project. . .and I have no idea what that would even be, but I'd wager that it's more than just a few months, lol. Sooooo, even if it was less than a year. . .say, 8 months for example. . .that reduces that tasty sum to about $350 a month. . . . .man, I sure hope those guys all have "real" jobs. lol

    I don't see anyone producing payware strictly for the money they can make. It might be nice pocket change, but in the end, nobody can expect to get rich doing what they do. My guess is they also love the high that comes from producing the stuff we bitch about, lol. These guys are very good at what they do and if we don't rag on them too bad, they might actually keep doing it to the betterment of everyone involved.

    IMHO
    USAF Retired, 301st Fighter Wing, Carswell AFB, Texas
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  2. #2
    Ed, from where I sit the situation is both more dire than what you painted, and less. To date, there are only two of us working on Emma X - Holger and myself - but ours aren't the only fingers in the pie. There's the boss, Francois, who needs to make some money off it as well, plus the fees charged by SimMarket and Flight1 (I'm assuming those are the venues we'll use for distribution, since we usually do). It's too early to get into speculation about pricing, but I can tell you that if Tongass is any indication, it'll do okay for us.

    That's okay, not fantastic. FS design is a nice sideline business for me, but it's a long way from being a full-time paying gig. Funny you should bring this up, as I just blogged on the topic a few days ago at http://iblueyonder.wordpress.com/200...day-this-week/ . Still, it's probably the most fun thing I do, and I just love it when there's time for dev work. Just this week, I've been working hard on Emma X. We'll be making some annoucements about that soon, as there have been some changes in our thinking about how it'll work and be presented (nothing heinous, don't get worried), but again, that's for the boss to figure out. I'm just the lowly builder.

  3. #3
    Although I work at FS development full-time, the only way I've been able to make it "work" for me is to have my fingers in as many pies as humanly possible... :ernae:
    Bill Leaming
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  4. #4
    I'm trying to cultivate simple needs. That helps, too.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Charter Member 2012
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    250 downloads does NOT = 250 sales. Your talking about a small airport for 45$ getting 250 sales? Its not likley considering some of my more popular aircraft releases for less money have a hard time reaching that number. If downloads DID = sales, then all the dev's would be stinkin rich from the The Pirate Bay....
    Kevin "Gibbage" Miller


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbage View Post
    250 downloads does NOT = 250 sales. Your talking about a small airport for 45$ getting 250 sales? Its not likley considering some of my more popular aircraft releases for less money have a hard time reaching that number. If downloads DID = sales, then all the dev's would be stinkin rich from the The Pirate Bay....
    Yep, I understand all that Gibbage. . .it was a simple "what if" example. Realistically, what I offered is freeware, hence the numbers. It's not great but it fills a small void right now for anyone who wants at least something to fly in and out of til the real deal is ready.
    USAF Retired, 301st Fighter Wing, Carswell AFB, Texas
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    CPU: 3.9GHz AMD FX-4300 Quad-Core | RAM: 16GB DDR3 1333
    GPU: NVidia GTX 970 (4GB GDDR5)

  8. #8
    A payware product reaches just a fraction of a comparable freeware offering.
    Now go check the average downloads over at SimV, AvSim and flightsim.com and you get the idea where FS has gone over the past couple of years.
    A file that has reached 10.000 downloads on the freee sites within a couple of weeks 5 years ago barely gets 500 hits these days.
    Mathias


  9. #9
    Charter Member 2012
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    What if's are fun and all, but I wish they were true. I had to get a full time job to support my full time aircraft modeling carreer. I wish I could do more. I dont know how Piglet does such quality work, and give it out for free! He must have a NICE job! Or he is retired.
    Kevin "Gibbage" Miller


  10. #10
    Didn't quite escape.
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    I can see valid points in everyone's posts here, but particularly the fact that I know a lot of developers and not one of them is "stinkin' rich". The odd one can afford to make a living out of it, but most are, as Kevin and Bill say, running one or more additonal jobs to pay the mortgage on top of their development time. I certainly wouldn't want to do it.

    Unfortunately Mathias's comment about declining interest is a particularly apt one - especially in association with Kevin's about illegal copying and downloading. With illegal distribution increasing and legal sales diminishing, when the former was far larger than the latter to start with, there's only one direction that the industry can go and it's obviously not a good one.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by falcon409 View Post
    Yep, I understand all that Gibbage. . .it was a simple "what if" example. Realistically, what I offered is freeware, hence the numbers. It's not great but it fills a small void right now for anyone who wants at least something to fly in and out of til the real deal is ready.
    By the way thanks for your version of EMMA,I installed it last nite,it's quite nice. Bremmerton was my home base in that area but now it's Emma.

  12. #12
    MCDesigns
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    Quote Originally Posted by falcon409 View Post
    Yep, I understand all that Gibbage. . .it was a simple "what if" example. Realistically, what I offered is freeware, hence the numbers. It's not great but it fills a small void right now for anyone who wants at least something to fly in and out of til the real deal is ready.

    And just to play devils advocate, economics 101, what if (in theory) Bill and Holger lose sales because there is a better than default replacement?

    That is the tough part of this community, the want to share your work for free, but also from a commercial developers standpoint, trying to find a niche and fill it before someone else does, either commercially or as freeware.

  13. #13
    The other side to this is that the clients aren't willing to pay for a product that has gotten way better and costs a lot more not in terms of money but also time and effort to model/paint/code/ than it used to. This has given dev's little to no margin at all for making money.

    There's obviously other things such as the economy, M$ pulling out, games moving towards the consoles...

    In general though, I would say that declining interest is mostly due to the age of the platform and not so much what's in it. IF M$ had done an FS11 with a new box and new stuff in it, the market would have jumped. Perhaps not as much as it would if it was a totally new "game" but jumped nonetheless. And, let's be honest here... simming is fun, but combat is (in my eyes anyway) way more fun.

    kc

  14. #14
    Pearl Harbor Project developer
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    I have had a chance to meet many payware developers...and I would definitely say they are not rich.
    Anyone who has joined me @ flightsim conventions will back me up as well. Heck I have to have a real job to support my flightsim development habits... luckily I work @ designing software.... sure would be nice to have a fat contract now.
    crashAZ- Virtual Navy
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by MCDesigns View Post
    And just to play devils advocate, economics 101, what if (in theory) Bill and Holger lose sales because there is a better than default replacement?. . . . .
    Ouch. . . .
    USAF Retired, 301st Fighter Wing, Carswell AFB, Texas
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathias View Post
    A file that has reached 10.000 downloads on the freee sites within a couple of weeks 5 years ago barely gets 500 hits these days.
    I'm one of the ones probably contributing to this effect, but from an odd perspective and reasoning.

    When I was flying FS9, I DL'd almost everything that fell within a large range of the types of scenery and aircraft that I enjoyed. I was a fanatic about checking Flightsim and Avsim everyday to see what was in the "New" download section. I had more planes and scenery than I ever needed. I had myself convinced I'd never need to buy a payware aircraft.

    That changed when a certain bomber type I love came up as a payware and I broke down and bought it. From then on out I saw a place for payware aircraft along with freeware.

    My perspective changed again when FSX was released and I saw the quality of the default FSX aircraft. From that point on, I decided that I wasn't going to use any freeware aircraft that weren't at least as visually pleasing inside and out to me as the defaults. I tossed the idea out of using ports early on including the huge payware hanger I had for FS9.

    So where I find myself today is that I still look at freeware stuff in the libraries everyday, but have no interest in having any of them in the hanger. I also look at the quality of the freeware aircraft made by the collection of artists on this forum and am in awe of the talent and quality in many of the creations, but oddly because it's a "freeware" I'm not interested.

    But even more odd is that I'll snatch up payware aircraft from the vendors on my trusted list that I like without hesitation. In fact I'm getting ready to go grab three new payware aircraft here in a few minutes.

    This wierd atitude I've developed towards freeware aircraft because of FSX, is in no way a reflection of how I feel about the incredible quality of the true FSX freeware out there. It's just a change in the way I want this version of MSFS setup as compared to previous versions and years past.

    BTW I do actually have one made for FSX freeware aircraft at the moment. The only reason I have it is to teach me something I want to learn and it's HD life will probably be ending sometime in the near future. I don't actually use it to fly from point A to point B.

    FAC

  17. #17
    Didn't quite escape.
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    Colin: I agree entirely about the costs going up, but prices not - although surely the decreased sales quantities aren't going to help at all with that? I'm assuming here that you're seeing the same trends that other developers are telling me that they do.

    Your statement about the age of the sim I'm not so sure about though, because the massive cuts that I witnessed were around the time of the FSX release - everyone stopped developing/buying because they were waiting for this brilliant new sim, then were spectacularly underwhelmed by it on release, when FS9 looked better on their existing rigs and the sim world doesn't seem to have recovered. Of course everyone will have their own opinions on the whens and whys of the drop in interest though and we're probably all right and wrong to an extent.

    I think most of us agree that the seeming move towards consoles is certainly a retrograde step. But strangely, with console titles being more controllable from a copy protection standpoint and vastly less difficult to develop for an support (fixed hardware and much more rigid standards) from a development point of view, wouldn't that potentially be a good thing? I don't know enough to be able to answer that.

    Edit: Falcon/Michael: I seem to remember being told that Emma this time will be much more than simply the airfield? Bill might be able top clarify on that, but I while I can see Michael's point, I think that there'll be enough difference in this one that it won't be a direct conflict.

  18. #18
    I'm still waiting for a company to experiment with a "pay as much as you want" approach.

    Might be good for reclaiming some customers.

  19. #19
    Didn't quite escape.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjoern View Post
    I'm still waiting for a company to experiment with a "pay as much as you want" approach.

    Might be good for reclaiming some customers.
    Most people will pay nothing. When one of the big bands (Coldplay? Someone like that) did exactly the thing you are suggesting, the average (mode and median) payment made was a massive nothing. Collecting most of the payments that were made cost more than the amount received. It was a stunt and unlikely to be repeated.

  20. #20
    The only way i can make any of this work for me is because i have social security.. Straight up, i charge 200 dollars for my work if it's a brand new plane, and that lane, like the vulcan can take up to 11 months of 14 to 16 hour days and 7 day work weeks stretched on end..
    No, it aint about the money at all..

  21. #21
    @ FAC 257: I just want to make sure you're good with freeware scenery, because I'd seriously question someone who would take a Killer Military payware over decent freeware

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by IanP View Post
    Most people will pay nothing. When one of the big bands (Coldplay? Someone like that) did exactly the thing you are suggesting, the average (mode and median) payment made was a massive nothing. Collecting most of the payments that were made cost more than the amount received. It was a stunt and unlikely to be repeated.
    Okay, then set the minimum amount to 0.5€ or 1$ or something.

  23. #23
    It goes without saying that we are feeling the pinch too. Good thing we've got books, magazines, movies and TV to cover us otherwise I'd have to let go totally of four of the best AC artists I've ever had the pleasure of working with and that would surely suck big time.

    This business, if you can call it that, has become way too cutthroat to actually survive without stepping on someone's toes somewhere... or sadly, without being ripped off in some way by someone, somewhere... Used to be that everyone helped each other out. I can remember those days... not so long ago. Seems to me that they are long gone...

    It's sad to say that the future doesn't bode well for the "payware" dev who does it just for the bucks. Unless and until some big company (who?) comes up with a fortune to make a new sim from scratch using existing tech and that pushes the limits of what that can do, we're not going to see a "renaissance" of flight simming. I think that era is dying slowly but surely. It needs new life. Something to perk it up. Some new software that comes from this decade would be good. I worked on the game Battlefield 2 and I can tell you that this kind of engine, were it able to deal effectively with the coding that flight simming needs... well.. WOW. That WOULD be cool.

    Anyway, suffice to say that Milviz isn't going "away" quite yet but... it hurts when sales aren't all that you hoped for.

    Btw, Nine Inch Nails released an album and told people "pay what you will" and they actually made money off it. So, it is feasible to do it that way. Though I certainly wouldn't want to try it...

  24. #24
    Jim,

    I'm still a big fan of freeware scenery. Specially really well done Florida military bases.

    I'm almost completely the opposite when it comes to scenery. Other than wide area overhauls like UTX & FSG, the only payware scenery areas that I have are Fly Tampa's St. Maarten Complete and Joe Watson's Central Fla GA Airports Volumes. Everything else are freewares.

    FAC

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by warchild View Post
    The only way i can make any of this work for me is because i have social security...
    I'm still a year away from being eligible to draw on my SS benefits, and even then will have to sacrifice 25% of my full benefits at age 61...

    ...however, that plus what I'm earning now will at least kick me up closer to the official poverty level here in the U.S. :USA-flag:
    Bill Leaming
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    Military Visualizations
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