Microsoft Shuts Down “Flight Simulator” Game Studio  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

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. (full Story)

This entry was posted on Feb 4, 2009 at 11:43 AM and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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