Flight Simulator Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Flight Simulator RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Where'd All the Flight Simulators Go? https://www.gameskinny.com/f0vzn/whered-all-the-flight-simulators-go https://www.gameskinny.com/f0vzn/whered-all-the-flight-simulators-go Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:00:01 -0500 Will Dowell

Flight simulators dominated PC gaming in the 90's and early 2000's with fantastic titles such as Red Baron winning the hearts of gamers. The evolving technology allowed gamers to experience niche fantasies that developers created.

Now with the popularity of PC gaming rising dramatically, these flight sims should be gaining newfound success. Sadly, they have nearly disappeared from the market with X-Plane 11 being the only major release coming this year. While this niche genre has fallen out of popularity, it can easily make a return.

Before we tackle how flight sims can make a reemergence, we must understand why they fell out of popularity in the first place. First and foremost, flight sims are a niche genre that relies on external hardware. Before controllers were commonly used with PC's, joysticks were used to properly control flight sims. While you could play most sims with a mouse and keyboard, they were vastly inferior to these joysticks. These joysticks also did not work well with other games, making them very niche peripherals. When PC gaming became more popular, this niche hardware became an additional, sometimes unneeded cost due to controller availability and 'unifying' nature.

Flight sims themselves were also niche titles. Most genres get surges of popularity and flight sims were no exception. These games focused on immersion and fit well in the core PC market. This surge ended due the increased popularity of PC gaming and a more homogenized output of AAA games. The AAA market continually focused on increased profits, so niche genres were ignored -- a similar thing happened with racing games, and now look at the market.

This leads to how flight sims can return into the spotlight. Their biggest chance of reemerging is in the indie scene. Other simulator have been successful due to focusing on these niches and creating content that was sustainable by these audiences. Truck Simulator would never be developed by a AAA developer due to the small audience. AAA developers will only cater to these niches if there is a strong market demand.

There is a resurgence of simulation games, and not the Surgeon Simulators, but of the real kind. With Farming Simulator 17 selling over a million in its first month, and the likes of Dirt Rally, and Project Cars reaching critical praise and selling like hotcakes, flight simulators are lagging behind. We have had Take On Helicopters way back in 2011, and DCS World just before it, but it's time for another Microsoft Flight Simulator (but not Flight, or made by Microsoft due to the aforementioned bore fest) to storm into the genre. Fans are waiting, and eager but who will be the first to give fans what they need?

Flight sims like any other genre, need a stable market to rely on. With an indie developer at the helm flight sims will be able to reemerge into gaming, simply due to the focus on pure profit not being as high.

Are you ready for a new truly innovative flight simulator? Let us know in the comments below!

Why are those simulator games so popular? You know the ones https://www.gameskinny.com/0vped/why-are-those-simulator-games-so-popular-you-know-the-ones https://www.gameskinny.com/0vped/why-are-those-simulator-games-so-popular-you-know-the-ones Mon, 22 Feb 2016 11:59:25 -0500 Alec Pearce

Strap yourselves in for the most incredible AAA title of 2016...Bus Simulator! Okay just kidding, but seriously, why on Earth are these niche simulator games so popular? It just doesn't make sense.

Allow me to try and answer this question, as well as explain to you why I think most, if not all, simulator games suck. Bear in mind I am talking purely about sim games like Truck Simulator, Flight Simulator, Train Simulator, etc - not games like The Sims. 

If you're a fan of the simulator genre then fair enough, I am certainly not going to begrudge anyone for liking a specific gaming genre. However, I am definitely not one of you, myself. For me, a game is a release from reality, an experience that can help you escape from a mundane day to day lifestyle with an engrossing story or a fun multiplayer experience. The last thing I want to do is play a game that drags you back into the 'real' world and frankly, simulators do exactly that.

Simply put, they are so bloody boring.

With the release of Bus Simulator's launch trailer (see above), I was wondering just what makes simulator games popular. You always see them being churned out year after year, to such an extent that games were created with the entire purpose of making a mockery out of the genre. Goat Simulator was a hilarious fad, made famous by numerous, prominent YouTuber's, causing it to go viral. The same could be said of Surgeon Simulator and I can understand their popularity as these two examples are so bad that they are good. 

PewDiePie's GS series has gained a combined total view count of around 68 million! 

This has led me to believe that the main reason simulators are in any way popular is because these internet personalities make ironic videos of these games - this in turn causes thousands of people to go and buy them, simply for a laugh, i.e. to see how bad the games really are. 

I would argue that no-one can truly think these games are any good at all. The graphics are certainly not ground breaking, the controls are usually clunky and frustrating and as I said before the gameplay is incredibly dull! There are, however, some people who genuinely enjoy playing these games.

A quick Google search led me to Reddit, which in turn led me to a Gamasutra article from 2013. They asked the question 'Who was buying these games?' and found out that the genre was popular with the 8-12 and 35+ age groups, but there was very little enthusiasm from anyone else. There is no way that the age groups mentioned above are prominent enough to create a stable economy for game developers who create the Farming Simulators of this world. 

Apparently, many people like a relaxed gaming experience and I can understand this to a certain extent, but not enough to sway my opinion that these games are terrible. There are plenty of games that can provide a similar but far more interesting and immersive experience - Elite: Dangerous is a space sim game that does this exceptionally well.

I am not the only one that thinks this either. An article posted on Kotaku in 2014 addressed the same thing. It is now 2016 and new sim games are still being produced. If you can think about a normal everyday job, that involves a vehicle, then there is probably a simulator game for it. As the article states, it's getting out of hand.

To sum this little rant up, I firmly believe that it is YouTube's influence that makes these games popular. YouTubers will continue to make videos because making a mockery out of the genre makes views and thus money. These games are not good, they are simply the product of a system that is based on people buying the games as a joke. This naturally makes the developers money and gives them an incentive to keep producing new sims.

What are your thoughts on these niche sim games? Do you love them or do you agree with me and never touch them? Let me know in the comments!