How much is too much for flight sim content?

The launch of Hot Start’s Challenger 650 for X-Plane 11 has brought with it the steep price tag of $115 USD. And, as a result, a lot of discussion on the pricing of flight sim content. The question of how much is too much for a flight sim module is now making the rounds. What are we all willing to pay for? Is $100 just too much? Here are some thoughts.

Content creators need to be paid

I want to start off with by remarking on a very important point. Flight sim content creators need to be paid.

Aside from the obvious point that people need money to live in this day and age, there are also lot of costs involved in bringing to life detailed recreations of historic and modern aircraft.

Among those costs are items such as research time and materials to get these things started which may involve travel and digging into archives or climbing into or even flying on the real thing. There is the software used to develop these simulations and that may involve 3D modeling and texturing tools (some of which run in the thousands of dollars to license depending on the suite) as well as the simulation itself which may actually be the cheapest part of the development process. Of course, there’s also the labour involved which may involve a small team over a long period of time or a larger team over a shorter period of time. In either case, there are expenses and compensation owed to make these things happen.

Some of these developers are bigger like Eagle Dynamics or Asobo Studios or somewhere in the middle such as 1C Game Studios. Then there are smaller developers with a small handful of artists and programmers. Some have a team of just two or three. It really varies!

So before we go on, I want to acknowledge that there are real people, labour and expenses behind all of these products that we enjoy.

Cost and opportunity

There’s a common refrain in capitalist theory that holds that the price that you set will be “whatever the market can bear.” Many products will happily find a spot in amongst their peers but there are going to be products that might push the limits and that comes with both potential risk or reward.

Customers might be willing to pay $115 for the recently announced CL650 and Hot Start may rake in the cash. But customers might also not be willing to spend that much money and sales may flounder. Because its not a physical thing that’s being sold, there is significantly less ongoing expenses (although patches and updates mean that its not zero) so the number of CL650s that Hot Start might sell through X-Aviation are not limited in materials but in interest from buyers. At $50 to $80 you may get people who are willing to pay even if they don’t intend to spend more than a few dozen hours in it. At $100 and up the calculation starts to change to “Am I seriously dedicated enough to spend the money and get the value out of it?” I feel like this project in particular might be pushing the limits although its not alone and there are other products from companies like PMDG for example that easily push through the $100 mark as well.

To use some other examples, I’ve also heard from people that IL-2 Sturmovik Battle of Normandy at $89.99 USD (currently on for $79.99 during early access) or that the DCS: F-14 Tomcat for DCS World at $79.99 USD are too expensive. Others have remarked that Carenado’s $20-30 USD modules in the MSFS Marketplace is just too much.

The exact dollar amount is actually not the argument but rather it is the perceived value that I think is up for discussion. Does the extreme attention to detail in the CL650 make its perceived value equal up to $115 USD? Does IL-2 Battle of Normandy’s array of content (10 flyable planes, plus two more AI-only aircraft, a map, career, and assets) meet the perceived value for $89? Does Heatblur’s F-14 module (consisting of an F-14A and B, two campaigns and a carrier) do the same? Or are they too pricey to spend money on.

The answer is with each person who has to make the calculation. And that of course is based on a range of factors from socioeconomics down to the simple matter of exchange rate. The Canadian Dollar pushes that $115 USD up to $145 CDN for example.

But there’s also the value for money over time. For me, buying Battle of Normandy early access has already paid off in the time I’ve spent with the already released content and Normandy won’t full release until later this year. Again, for me, the F-14 I paid full price for and I’ve spent just enough time with it to fully appreciate the price I paid. But there is something psychological about spending over $100 on a single aircraft module, no matter that attention to detail, that just puts me off. For me I can’t justify the $115 USD at this point. Knock that price down to $80 and I would have probably bought it.

Developers have to make this calculation too. We’ve heard PMDG, that their MSFS products may sell in high enough numbers that their impending 737 release may be significantly cheaper than past iterations. I similarly don’t want to spend $100 plus on a 737 but at a lower price point it might be easier to jump in and that calculation might be made enough times by enough people to achieve a net benefit in total dollars for sales.

How much is too much for you?

What do you think? I know some in the community have no problem dropping $115 on a module. Others will scoff at $20-30 for a module. How does that calculation work for you and are some of these higher priced offerings and the potential content benefits that they offer make it worth it to you or not? Let me know in the comments!

51 Comments Add yours

  1. grammaton632 says:

    I think some developers don’t understand that a high price results in decreased sales which may result in less return than a lower unit cost. In the world of iPad music apps where the average price is $10 to $20 and with a smaller percentage costing $40 – $50… one developer thought they’d be different by charging $150. Needless to say that failed and almost no one purchased. That app today costs $10.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      For sure. That is one part of my argument that you might end up with better profits from a lower cost than a higher one. I’m sure devs do that kind of cost analysis before they price it out but not everyone manages it correctly – as in your example!

      Like

      1. Marco says:

        For me it was a first day purchase and I didn’t regret it at all. Surely, it is expensive but at the same time extremely detailed. Look at the cost of a PMDG 747 for example, you will break through the 100 USD mark as well and nobody is complaining about that.

        What I really like about the Challenger is, that this is a different aircraft to your usual Boeing or Airbus you usually fly. The documentation could be better, though and I hope that it will be improved over time.

        Cannot wait to have my next flight later on 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Thanks for the comments Marco! I there are are some folks complaining that the PMDG offerings are over $100 but it’s not new so the target of discussion is obviously the newest kid on the block 🙂

        Glad you’re having a great time with the Challenger! No denying that Hot Start went next level simulating it!

        Like

    2. Jonathon Coughlin says:

      I agree. They’ll max revenue by pricing great content at the same price as content that’s less great – that way it’s a direct competition.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ((dB)) says:

    Well if it’s an aircraft type you fly, it can help you stay current, if of course the module is update regularly. So 100$ is not that much

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    1. ianpsdarkcorner says:

      747-400 Precision Simulator 1… I shall say no more. 😉

      Like

      1. Olli says:

        Exactly. But thats PSX. Most perfect in every situation, exept outside view and usability.

        Like

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s true. If its being used for training purposes, throwing $115 is no big deal at all.

      For everyone else (and the recent community poll showed over 85% were into flight sims for the entertainment) that’s not a consideration.

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      1. Horstunger says:

        85% of the people taking their time to complete a poll mostly advertised at sites aimed at people who are very serious about flight simming. Even without the Xbox crowd there are vastly more people in the ‘everyone else’ category.

        Like

  3. nickitarius says:

    There is another aspect that needs to be touched. For many less well off countries regional prices exist, which are lower than in EU, USA and other 1st world nations. However, many sims such as DCS don’t have them.

    Which makes the modules, which already cost more than a typical AAA game even in the West, seem to be too much overpriced to many. In Russia, my home country, a typical AAA game nowadays costs 2400 RUB (roughly 30+ USD), but a typical DCS module costs 6000 RUB. A DCS module costs 2.5 times the price of, say, BF 2042.

    The problem is not even the price itself in this case, but it’s relative size. Paying 2.5 times more for essentially the same type of product, the game, just seems not to be an efficient investment. Sims are less lucrative, so they can cost a little bit more per copy to keep the devs in green, maybe +25% compared to an AAA game, but not 150%, that’s just too much psychologically. That’s why I always buy modules on sales, I have the money, but I just can’t convince myself to spend that much on a mere game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a great point! Flight sim content doesn’t seem to have the same kind of regional pricing that other types of entertainment have. That does make it challenging to many that aren’t paying in USD.

      Even for myself in Canada the exchange rate does make things a fair bit more expensive. Even from a psychological standpoint.

      Like

      1. CanadaOne says:

        The point about regional pricing is a good one. I paid about $15Cdn. for a (legal) Chinese license for Win10, through Amazon Canada no less. I’d be happy to do that with DCS modules, but it seems that isn’t available. 🙂

        Like

      2. realdrjester says:

        I have talked about this as well on reddit. I showed examples of how bad the regional pricing is on multiple countries. ED doesn’t care, suffice to say.

        Wish this was brought more to attention to others:
        reddit(do)com/r/hoggit/comments/q7kc76/absurd_prices_for_dcs_modules_on_third_world/

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  4. For me personally – I was appalled when I saw the $115 price tag – and there is simply no way I am going to pay that for an aircraft to a simulator that cost me $60.
    When I look at the .org store I look at addons costing $79 and think that I could purchase those, but looking at $89 price tags, I dismiss it, so for me around $80 is the highest price I am willing to pay, I guess. $115? Never!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It’s a tough pricetag for many of us to even consider. I think you’re right that $79 seems possible but creep higher and you really need to feel committed!

      Like

  5. Reinhard Eichler says:

    Meanwhile in Starcitizen 115$ get’s you only some minor ship 😀
    Even though CIG puts way less effort in creating their ships than for example ED in their modules. It’s a strange world we live in …

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    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That it is!

      Like

    2. ruthiebt says:

      StarCitizen is the purest example of gamified crowdfunding

      Like

  6. Franz says:

    PMDG cost 140 $, FSL 140:$. Both not as sophisticated as the CL650.
    More to compare with PSX, completely different price tag.
    Each simmer shall calculate their hardware cost vs software. A new graphic card easily for 1500 $. And software is most important component , isn’t it. ?

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      The PMDG stuff does cost quite a bit doesn’t it.

      IMHO, I wouldn’t bring GPU card prices into an argument about affordability. They are grossly overinflated and consumers are really mad about it.

      Like

  7. Gasman says:

    I voiced my thoughts elsewhere and will share here. I bought it and think it’s amazing but I firmly believe it is too high a price for our beloved hobby. 1. It completely alienates the curious and the casual. 2. It sets a precedent where Captain Sim and other shite excuses for devs will continue to take advantage. 3. there’s a responsibility to the community where access should appear to be available to people – even at a high price. I love how DCS does things, sure their modules are pricey but you can get your foot in with a pre-order, wait for a sale or save up for that dream absolutely incredible simulation. On the other hand, Toliss, FF and the various addons for each plane can jump over a hundred very quickly, especially if you get the sound packs. Look at FS2Crew for the MSFS stuff, heck those guys are charging a hefty price for a freeware mod of the A320 (A32NX)!! It’s a tough one, I can see how the price is justified, I think the publisher X-Aviation it playing it’s part here too, they aren’t popular in the community and definitely don’t give two shits about responsibility. I think if mainstream leaders like PMDG set a fair accessible price, it will all be okay. DCS aren’t going to change their model. So I think we’re okay.

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  8. Ian says:

    I don’t envy developers, it must be really difficult decision.
    One thing I will say is that some kind of flexibility in payment could possibly boost sales or at least offer alternate income streams (though I don’t know how practical this would be to implement).
    I tried out MSFS using a very cheap trial subscription to MS store. This convinced me it was worth cancelling store sub and buying outright. It’s a shame, I think, that there aren’t more rent to try options.

    Like

  9. Stonepile says:

    I think it is important to also consider the level of systems modeling that is brought by the module. In this case, they have gone to extreme lengths to model everything that can be modeled on the Challenger. That level of systems modeling brings a higher price tag. I personally do not have an issue with it. If I want to experience the full aircraft, with everything working, in an aircraft as complex as a Challenger (which has a systems complexity exceeding that of a regional airliner), I would expect to pay a premium price.
    Most of the time, I do not require that level of systems modeling. I am more of a casual simmer and as such, the typical module, which lacks deep system interactive modeling, works just fine for me. There are times that I just want to fly and I don’t really care if I can turn on the left and right air conditioning packs individually.
    It is the casual simmer that drives the bulk of sales and for that reason, we see more aircraft priced at a reasonable point. The Aerosoft developers remarked on this recently when discussing the Twin Otter. They could have kept going and developed a true “study level” module, but they made the decision to hold off on some systems modeling in order to keep the cost of the final product down to a level where they felt it would have success in the MSFS market.
    With all that said, there are simmers out there, including professional pilots, that want and will buy the Challenger specifically because it offers that level of simulation and that price point won’t stop them. Will they be a big enough crowd to make he module profitable? Time will tell.

    Like

  10. Gretsch_Man says:

    Well, I guess it indeed depends on what the value, you may call it the perceived value, is for the consumer.
    i don’t know nothing about the Hot Start’s Challenger 650 for X-Plane 11. Is there anything special with this module that may justify a price tag of 115 USD? And is this something special really important to the consumer? If the answer to both questions is YES, then the 115 USD price tag may not be too high.

    Think of it, I think you could easily extend this discussion to, for example, the flight sim gear (joystick, throttle, pedals etc.) business. Some people are willing to buy high grade stuff, while others prefer to stick to more cheap gear.

    Well, in the end, as good old Albert (Einstein) once said: “It’s all relative”. 😉

    Like

  11. Novice-Flyer says:

    Because FSX has all of these missions, I didn’t like it that when FSX Steam was released in 2014 Dovetail (the new developers) released all of these aircraft in which for $28 or more you get this aircraft which you can only fly in Free Flight and Multiplayer, but no missions. The same went with these Night Environments, Airport sceneries and the Toposim stuff. To me that felt too expensive and I could just download that stuff from like FlyAway Simulation or Simviation.

    In the IL-2 Dover and Great Battles we can fly these planes in missions, Careers and Campaigns. However, I do feel it’s strange that 1CGS charges $20 US for the Yak-9 and then another $20 US for the Yak-9T when they could have just charged us $25 for both aircraft.

    Novice

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  12. Fafnir_6 says:

    I don’t get why people are upset about Battle of Normandy’s price tag, and like you, I buy things in Canadian Dollars. $90 USD IS a lot, but you get 10 flyables for that (and 2 AI aircraft, and the map, missions, career) which are also usable with the other modules (the Ju88C-6 is historical for THREE of the modules currently/upcoming in game). That’s a pretty good value ($9 USD per aircraft if that’s all you care about). I also look at it as an investment for new systems being added to the game (remote-operated turrets for the Me410A-1, Shallow-dive-bombing sight for the Ar234B-2, Cruise missiles and maybe a new collision model for the V-1, etc) all of these will help make future modules easier to develop for the devs. Plus we get things like the new cloud renderer (which has transformed the game IMHO), the upcoming Air Marshall function and fuel systems modelling/drop-tanks (which will retroactively be applied to aircraft from previous modules). The money for all these needs to come from somewhere and their addition improves the experience for all players of IL-2, regardless of which module you own.

    The sales they have (like the one on currently) are excellent. The list price of most theaters for IL-2 Great Battles is $80USD ($50USD if you buy the non-premium version with 8 flyables). These get discounted heavily during the sales, and discounts seem to get deeper as the modules get older (BoS basic (8-flyables, map, missions, career) is $7.50USD and the base version of the other modules (same level of content) is $12.50USD on the current sale). New items aren’t usually discounted but if you have patience I guarantee you’ll be able to pick BoN for a price that is reasonable to even the stingiest player. Keep in mind that BoN has not yet been released fully, and when it does it will have a 8-aircraft base version that will likely be $30USD cheaper than the currently available premium at list price. As it gets older, the discounts at sale time will become progressively deeper and who knows, maybe they will drop the list price to the level of the other modules at some future date. I think of it as a tax on impatient people. Which I paid happily :D.

    Then there is the collector planes/vehicles, which are optional in every sense of the word. Many of them are available in the premium versions of the main modules but other are available a la carte and like the modules they get discounted progressively deeper as they age (the oldest collector planes are going for $3USD). The collector ground vehicles haven’t really been around long enough to see the deeper discounting but even the AA vehicles (which are less than a year old, are $5USD cheaper than the pre-orders of recently announced vehicles). A lot of the premium planes/vehicles seem geared toward the multiplayer crowd, which I think is a smart business decision, because I think that community is more likely to jump on these sorts of things. The funding from this helps get the more mundane (but critical for historical single-player types and content) get made. The only collector planes I personally am missing is the Yak-9 and Yak-9T (and I’m just waiting for a deep enough sale on those some day, since my interest level isn’t super-high for those).

    The Flying Circus situation is even more interesting, since currently, the old Rise of Flight still reigns as the better/more complete WWI experience (non-VR). However, if we are ever to get new WWI content (aircraft, maps, ground units, etc), the RoF assets need to be imported into the current engine. There some very understandable resistance from many RoF alums against paying more money for content that is already available in RoF but I think you need to think long-term for these things and I want Austro-Hungarian careers over the Italian and Russian Fronts. I won’t get that unless Flying Circus is a success. Plus, every time they put on a sale, the content for RoF is discounted to 75% (which is pretty cheap) for anyone who is not interested in switching to the new engine. They’ve also sweetened the deal with the upcoming Sopwith Snipe and Siemens-Schuckert D.IV, aircraft were NOT in RoF. Again these cater to the multiplayer crowd who will doubtless jump on these smarties, since they are almost useless for historical single player (only available for a matter of weeks). I’ll buy them anyways, even though I am primarily a single-player or co-op player…because I know they use sales figures for these to estimate player interest in Flying Circus and I want new theaters for the Great War with more glorious two-seaters.

    Cheers,

    Fafnir_6

    Like

  13. Snake122 says:

    I added it up the other day and if I paid full price for all of my DCS modules, campaigns, and terrains I would be at about $1000USD. But honestly, I wait for the sales on almost all modules/terrains or buy in early access partly because it is cheaper. Waiting for the sales on your more wish than have to have aircraft/terrain is well worth it.

    Honestly, I do feel that is mostly fair. I would hate a subscription model and know ED needs the cash flow to make things happen. Things such as the recent AI model improvement won’t really make them any money directly and they had to pay that coder for a year to do that. I know Nick Grey comes from a wealthy background and is an aviation enthusiast but you still have to make the endeavor at least somewhat profitable.

    While obviously that is what I spent is lot of money, I have spent more on other hobbies and actually it is cheaper than most other aviation related hobbies like RC or, God forbid, flying for real LOL (keep doing that though, I’m a real life flight instructor).

    And that’s the thing, in the combat sim worldwe are a niche with a niche market and unfortunately economy of scale at the typical “AAA” title cost will never make a combat sim profitable. It goes to show that the main major last two modern jet combat sims that cost the typical amount of another game at release have gone to the two extremes that you have to go to today. Lock On Modern Air Combat evolved to DCS with a pay for each major thing and Falcon 4.0 has evolved to the BMS free community mod.

    Actually, I keep going back to BMS for multiple reasons and for the last year it is the sim I have flown the most. I’m working on getting my DCS install going again, but I see to always be back at BMS. Now seems like a good time before they release 4.36 in about a month or two to get some hours in other aircraft that I miss. But I always come back to Falcon over the last 25 years (started with 3.0 Gold). BTW, Shamrock, I’d love for you to cover BMS a little more on the updates and maybe some of the mods (or since you are pretty busy with the other stuff, maybe bring on a guest writer for it). We are to 4.35U3 and 4.36 should be soon with 4.37 being builds internally, which is suppose to bring a completely new terrain system that it probably needs
    VR support somewhere in there too but not at 4.36 release it seems.

    When it comes to civilian sims, MSFS is going to be the money winner now matter how much better X-Plane is. If you fly X-Plane is a niche within niche again so expect to pay more in the long run to keep things going. Until the latest release, I always remember XPlane being more expensive than the MSFS versions. Again, if I was more into civilian sims, I wouldn’t mind paying about what I pay for DCS modules if they had similar capabilities, maybe a little more for some super systems detail on the aircraft. Since I fly BMS, I’m obviously not an eye candy guy and like the aircraft functions.

    I honestly haven’t bought the latest MSFS, it is very cool with the real life terrain but the cost isn’t worth it to me. Ironically, I feel like I have to buy the Premium Deluxe to have all the features, but then know I won’t put enough time into it to make it worth it with BMS/DCS to fly and having a Redbird TD at work with Prepar3D for keeping me fresh with my instrument currency. But it is fun to see more people start/get back into flight sims because of MSFS!

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  14. Jer Stryker says:

    No answers from me, but some perspective. I certainly don’t envy the developers trying to figure out what to charge for their content.

    I’m a firm believer that a lot of expensive things are worth it (I’ve learned that the hard way by buying a lot of cheap things in my life), and the Challenger looks really cool, but for $115 it just doesn’t match up enough with my play style.

    I think systems, and particularly avionics modeling do/should factor the most into the pricing, and that’s what I see happening. Yes you could model the attitude indicator or turbocharger of a WWII plane with incredible precision, and I bet that would not be easy, but at what point do you get that much better use out of it?

    Modern avionics and flight management systems are incredibly complex. I fly a 737 in real life and there are times when we don’t understand why it’s doing what it’s doing (it’s often user error, but every so often it’s some random bug like a specific runway heading above a certain latitude that throws the whole computer off). Sometimes we even have issues where the avionics in our FAA-certified full-motion daylight simulators don’t behave like the real plane, and those sims cost almost as much as the aircraft itself! So I can definitely see why an aircraft with perfectly-modeled complex avionics would cost so much.

    It’s a bit backwards, but what a developer charges for their product helps to inform me what I should expect from it. The F-14 in DCS *feels* like it should cost more than a lot of the other models because it’s dripping with details (not to mention an AI crewmember). If I’m paying 20 bucks for a Cherokee, I don’t get bent out of shape if I can’t open the window or play with the circuit breakers. But if I spend $80 or more, I know I’m getting something with tons of attention to detail. I’m switching planes to an Airbus in the near future so I know going to get a lot of valuable practice from a Toliss product (I just haven’t decided which one yet.)

    The Challenger being an X-Plane add-on, means it’s a niche within a niche within a niche. There are a lot fewer people who could possibly buy it compared to even IL-2, so I think there’s a huge risk in selling it for too cheap. It also highlights a chicken and egg problem where if you have to charge more because there aren’t enough people to sell to, you’ll never get more people to sell to because it all costs so much. I’m very interested to see what happens when/if PMDG tries to price their upcoming products to account for the much broader MFS audience.

    And yeah, when I think of what I’ve spent on Star Citizen, I realize how much of a “deal” almost every flight sim add-on is (no, I don’t want to think of it the other way around).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mike says:

    I have the PMDG DC-6 and the heatblur F-14. Both are worthwhile purchases but the F-14 was what brought me back to flight sims after more than a decade of purely existing on laptops. The pricetag seemed extreme at the time. But, i have yet to regret the tomcat I don’t play MSFS. I wanted to, but the control mapping scheme is a nightmare compared to DCS and it is way more stressful to play a high fidelity module in MSFS than DCS because in DCS you know exactly what you are mapping vs MSFS where you have no idea which aircraft specific nomenclature is mapped to the very general control scheme of MSFS. None of this is the fault of the DC-6. But since I hardly play MSFS and the platform itself makes a simming complicated aircraft harder than it needs to be, I do feel I get my value out of high cost MSFS add-ons vs their DCS equivalents. In addition to this, most DCS modules are released as ongoing products with new weapon systems etc to be added later. The DCS modules have more potential for growth than a purely GA sim. So I might buy a 120 dollar DCS module but I’m not going to buy a similarly priced one in MSFS(even though I was looking forward to the boeing 314). I just can’t get around how the platform itself makes flying anything more advanced than a cessna more difficult than needed.

    Like

    1. Horstunger says:

      I had the same problem with controls in MSFS in the beginning. Especially as I don’t get to play so much as I’d like so I can’t remember all the keyboard commands. Buying Stream Deck really changed things completely to me. Now I can control the sim from buttons with a title saying exactly what they do. Setting up the profiles are sometimes a bit of a hassle but a lot of good profiles are available at flightsim.to

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  16. Tony says:

    Comes down, for me, on what is exactly been offered for that amount of money. Make no mistake; US$115 is a lot of money for one module. An awful lot. And for me, an Australian, that means even more in A$. This module would want to be the most sophisticated, most real to life, very, very special and exact simulation to justify such a high price point. Almost in a class of its own. As a flight sim aficionado, always hankering after the most realistic of simulations, then if it were thus, I would consider buying it. It it were just…’good’ or simply on par with a normal study level module like those produced by DCS, then No, would not buy it. In any case, I am going to do my due diligence on such a module, wait before purchasing, watch for reviews and immerse in any YouTube vids of it in action, to see whether it is something special…or not. That’s my view on such an expensive delivery. Hope contributes to discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Firdimigdi says:

    … and then NFTs show up on the scene with “one of a kind” and “limited edition” nonsense.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a whole other topic too isn’t it. Hopefully we can delay talking about that in the flight sim context.

      Like

  18. Bullet_magnet says:

    They could try offering their products at a lower price tag, but then again, how many people are going to buy it ?
    Flight sims are a niche market. The aesthetic appeal of MSFS 2020 has done the community a great service by exposing more people to flight sims but not all of them will stick around, many will get bored or give up after crashing into the ground one too many times. These newcomers aren’t necessarily the ones who will buy high fidelity modules, or modules at all.
    High fidelity modules, like most DCS products and some XP and MSFS addons are a niche within a niche and thus, for their hard work to be rewarded, I guess 3rd party devs have to stick to a higher price tag

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      These are important points. The number of customers in total is small although growing. Developers have to find a way to pay themselves back for their work to be sure. My question and one that doesn’t have an answer is would you get more money as a developer if the cost were a bit lower (thus bringing in some more people) versus pricing higher and having fewer customers? Not an easy calculation to make.

      Like

  19. Knallhatten says:

    I spent maybe 50 hours in DCS last year. I wish it was more but I can’t find enough occasions where I know I have at least two undisturbed hours to make it worthwhile to even plug in the gear and boot the sim.

    With that knowledge, paying 80$ for the Tomcat is a definite no. I love the aircraft but I know it’s not really for me. I would buy it for like 30$ just to take it for a spin and watch the scenery now and then.

    I bought the Viggen on a sale, just because I’m a Swede. Haven’t really flown it because I’m not interested enough in the avionics to make the effort with the little time I have.

    I bought the Hornet but spent like two hours in it the past half year. Too many buttons and weapon programming. And that awful canopy bar!

    I REALLY love my Viper and it’s the only module I have that has been worth the money. Both with regards to enjoying it and time spent in it.

    Like

  20. CanadaOne says:

    This one is hard to wrap your mind around. It’s so subjective. And a $50 plane we thought we’d love gathers dust while a plane we waited to buy and bought at $100, grudgingly perhaps, turns out to be a ton of fun. DCS nailed it with the free trials. That is just fantastic. But I understand not every developer can do that.

    IL2, which I barely fly now at all, has incredible sales where you can get a map and eight planes for about $10. That’s an insane deal! But then how great a deal is something you don’t use. Again, super subjective.

    But once you get past the $100 mark like the FS2020 plane, at almost $150Cdn., it’s almost like “Buddy, who are you trying to kid?” But then if it’s the one plane you really really want, and it’s super well done… maybe $150 is worth it. If Heatblur made the greatest ever F-104, with lots of options and skins and bells and whistles, and charged $150, I’d probably buy it. Yeah, it’s hard to figure this one out.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Júlio Maria Rodrigues Filho says:

    That’s an interesting topic. I’m from Brazil and the currency equivalence between both countries are exorbitant. Just as a matter of comparision, our minimum wage is about R$1000,00 and when purchasing a sim module it can easly reach R$500,00 or even more. Unfortunately many compatriots can’t afford for this, giving it room for piracy. It would be reasonable if creators could develop pricing equivalency in countries where simming market is remarkable, like Brazil, as MSFS currently does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Hey! Thanks for the comments. Currency conversion is definitely a big and perhaps somewhat unsung area that a lot of flight sim developers and storefronts haven’t really confronted yet. Perhaps they will begin to.

      Like

      1. juliomrf says:

        They have to if they want to reach abroad market. I’m sure (me included) there are plenty of eager potential costumers waiting for a fair price. As a sim addicted and simming groups follower I can see brazilian community just waiting for discounts on DCS or MSFS. Never the less, most of us will never have the opportunity to grab payware module.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. kosmos224 says:

    And we must add that there are developers who overvalue their products, the clear example of Carenado / Alabeo, which are not worth what they ask for them.

    Like

    1. Conte Ricardo says:

      Jardesing to name a well known third dev in Xplane

      Like

  23. Urgent Siesta says:

    When I price my services and products, I’m NEVER the most expensive in the market, NEVER inexpensive, and ALWAYS priced around the upper quartile.

    Makes it a heckuva lot easier to sell premium products to folks when I don’t have to think about explaining why I’m “The Best”.
    But HotStart have set themselves up for this battle and are going to lose a LOT of sales to folks that would’ve bought if it were around the same price as the other premium products.

    And yes, my experience tells me if they’d priced it at $80 – $90, their annual revenue would be higher in more units sold than by going for a greater margin per unit as they have.

    I prefer and appreciate the value of “Study Level” addons like HeatBlur Tomcat, PMDG 737, Flight Factor A320, and HotStart’s own TBM 900.
    But as I think about this, I remain unsure whether Challenger gives me anything I don’t already have. For e.g., the NetAvio CJ4, made by instructor pilots FOR student pilots, is turning out to be quite a nice biz jet addon. And it obviously crosses over to the Working Title CJ4 rather well.

    So IMHO, Hot Start’s Challenger is objectively worth the price, but it’ll be quite awhile before I get bored enough with the addons I already have to consider shelling out that kind of money, even though I personally love business jets.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Jonathon Coughlin says:

    One Hundred Fifteen Bones is too much for flight sim content!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. PHANTOM1 says:

    From my perspective it’s the tendency to have perceived value for sure – I gladly spent the $80 for IL-2 BoN since the amount of content given is well worth the wait for development time, yet also seems like “value added” content since they rarely have broken modules introduced. On the other hand, I couldn’t bring myself to a similar purchase on the F-14 or MSFS DC-6 – nothing against Heatblur or PMDG, they make excellent modules and devote a great amount of time creating them. I just knew I wouldn’t be flying either enough to justify their cost (I also free demoed the F14, but didn’t quite fall in love with it). That’s awesome for the people that buy those specific mods and I hope they enjoy it; it’s also great to see so many contributors to the market as there’s so much available now. It gets tougher every time to just keep the wallet put away. Bottom lime, to each their own, not everyone can agree on all of it, yet I may be willing to put that $115 down on a really well done mod knowing it’s something I’d spend a lot of time in and learn everything I can about it. Others, like you’ve mentioned, I’d find tough to waste the $20 on, and yes there are a couple of regrets sitting in a couple sims at the moment, but maybe that’s part of the chance we take with buying with the heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. CanadaOne says:

      I like your last line about buying with the heart. I think that’s what we’re doing a lot of the time, we’re looking to have some plain ol’ fun of course, but as we all love planes, we’re hoping that the next plane we buy will be The One. That one plane we fall in love with and fly as if it was built just for us. That one plane we’d trade in a dozen others for. Not to get all sentimental about it, but we are just boys buying toys and waiting for the perfect one to come along.

      We are in effect just a bunch of overgrown 10 year-olds looking to have fun and connect with something that represents a bit of a daydream. And that is why I would drop $150 for a top shelf F-104, because I know I could lose myself in the moment and just have a hell of a lot of fun with it.

      Liked by 2 people

  26. SergioO says:

    I work in the automotive industry, and I’m afraid to see some kind of the same pattern:
    A high price tag is perceived as a luxury article.

    Paying more than a hundred “bucks” surely hurts, but it’s a fact that you perceive it as a great product even before “unpackaging” it. And we humans tend to defend our wrong decisions later on with arguments like “yeah, it’s expensive but it’s so good it’s worth it”.

    Yes, you must deliver quality as well, but at what point does quality and price correlate when you reach a certain threshold? Luxury is a product in itself, only wrapped inside the actual product you buy.

    Like

  27. Marosvari says:

    I bought DCS Tomcat for 79$, and I love it. On the other hand I don’t pay 42$for H145 in MSFS. That ridiculous. That is a beta version with poor helicopter physic due to FS limitation. There is no any radar, weapon, enemy AI, etc. Just push two button to start, and some navigation. I think max 20$, what i would pay for it. So how much I would pay for a sim content, it depends what its proffesional level and what the others.. Now DCS modules rule for me, if they bring something for 100$bucks maybe I will buy it. If someone do the same for MSFS, I will not pay that…

    Like

  28. _BringTheReign_ says:

    The problem is not high prices. The problem is atrocious quality control – two developers can charge $100 for their modules, but the difference in quality can be absurd. With better QC, this wouldn’t even be a discussion topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      That’s a great point too. Quality control and testing as well as long term support can be quite different depending on the module.

      Like

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