Microsoft has shocked the flight-sim community by axing Aces Studio, the development team behind Flight Simulator, potentially grounding the 27-year-old software franchise, as the company works to save money.
In a blog posting, the software giant wrote: "This difficult decision was made to align Microsoft's resources with our strategic priorities." Microsoft added that it "will continue to produce, sell and support the latest version of Flight Simulator".
It's thought that future versions of the software may be outsourced to third-party developers, while the current version of Flight Simulator has about three or four years of partying left before being taken behind the shed and having both barrels applied to its tear-soaked cheeks. Perhaps once the economy improves and Microsoft refocuses on its non-core businesses, Flight Simulator could be brought back in-house and reborn as a next-gen simulator.
Flight Simulator was first released for the PC in 1982, developed by software company subLogic. Prior to the PC version, subLogic's Flight Simulator was developed for the Apple II, and, before that, for Intel 8080-powered computers, dating back to 1977.
In 1994 it was joined by Microsoft's Space Simulator, in which users could freely traverse the darkness of space in any of 14 spacecraft. And, in 2001, Microsoft's Train Simulator steamed onto shelves, but follow-up releases of this unfathomably dull piece of software are now highly unlikely.