I guess it's official.
Microsoft Shuts Down 'Flight Simulator' Game Studio
Total posts: 1
by Brian Heater and Mark Hachman
As the rest of the tech world scrambles to assess the implications of the recently announced 5,000 layoffs at software giant Microsoft, news has come in that might potentially spell the end of the company's nearly 30-year-old Flight Simulator series.
Microsoft confirmed Friday that the software giant has shuttered ACES Studios, the developer of the Flight Simulator series of games, whose latest incarnation is Flight Simulator X. The simulation is considered Microsoft's oldest product, whose original version first shipped in 1982.
However, a Microsoft spokeswoman said that while the studio has been closed, the software company remains committed to the Flight Simulator franchise, without explaining how future products can be launched without a dedicated software development team backing them.
"We can confirm the closing of ACES Studios, which was responsible for the Flight Simulator franchise," Microsoft spokeswoman Kelda Rericha told Appscout. "Following our annual strategy review process, IEB [Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business unit] is making adjustments within our business to align our people against our highest priorities. The closure of ACES Studios was one of those specific changes."
Rericha refused to disclose any further details regarding the future of the company. She did, however, suggest that the Flight Simulator series is likely to stick around in some form or another. "We are committed to the Flight Simulator franchise, which has proven to be a successful PC-based game for the last 27 years," Rericha added. "You should expect us to continue to invest in enabling great Live experiences on Windows, including flying games, but we have nothing specific to announce at this time."
Of course, the Flight Simulator franchise is a fairly broad one, and anything falling under the largely online Live umbrella would likely be fairly different than the game's traditionally resource-intensive online incarnation.
"It's definitely confusing; I wish I had more clarification on that that we could provide, Rericha added. "At this point, they're just not talking about it yet – how the product will, and if the product will, live within Microsoft."
Microsoft does not have a time frame on when it will provide additional information, Rericha added.
The most likely scenario seems that, like the rest of us, Microsoft is still attempting to assess exactly how such a large number of redundancies will affect its business strategy. Projects like Flight Simulator have likely been given a lower priority than, say, Windows or Office, and therefore their fates are still not entirely certain even in Redmond.
Numerous contractors also confirmed that they'd been let go in the ACES layoffs, including independent coders who were also fans of the series.
"One thing that every person at ACES will tell you is that the community and each of you in it mean the world to us for sharing our passion of flight, and so it really hurts that Gib and I can't tell you more," "PlaneEater, one of the affected contractors, wrote in a thread on SimOuthouse.com. "I was a FS fan before I joined the FS team, and being able to work on the sim we all love so much was a dream come true. I just want to thank everyone here for the time and passion they've poured into Flight Sim for so many years, and to let you all know that every person at ACES is in awe of how much the community cares about what we build."
It seems unlikely that Flight Simulator will go away entirely, even if it means branding a Live game with the name, fans speculated.
A version of this post originally appeared on AppScout.
Oh yeah, but Microsoft is still committed to FS. Yeah...right! What are they going to do, come out with an arcade game you can play online?