Dear Marketing,

I told you so. You were initially a little concerned about watering down the FSX: Adrenaline announcement by mentioning Service Pack 1 and the DirectX 10 update in the same breath.

You weren’t wrong, of course – it isn’t good marketing to dilute the message of a commercial product by trumpeting the interim arrival of something free. However, we knew what was going to happen – as soon as we announced an expansion pack, we’d be on the defensive, facing accusations of incompetence and conspiracy. Incompetence, because not every single person involved with the ongoing creation of Flight Simulator is focused on a service pack, and conspiracy because, well, pretty much anytime Micro$oft does or doesn’t do anything, it’s conspiratorial.

I even wrote a post here that went live at about the same time, oh-so-cleverly entitled "Prequently Asked Questions", to hopefully head off some concerns. No, this doesn’t mean that SP1 or the DX10 update will be delayed, no this isn’t an evil plot to make you buy Vista … Granted, fewer people read this blog than read FSInsider, and, I suspect, fewer people read FSInsider than read AVSIM.

But still, we tried.

You, Marketing and PR, listened to us against your better judgment. We told you that some segment of our customer base would react negatively to the announcement, because they’d assume it meant we were taking resources away from the Service Pack and DirectX 10 updates we’d promised. We also told you that we needed to emphasize the fact that the Expansion Pack was intended for both XP and Vista, since we’d be accused of forcing people to upgrade.

What we didn’t tell you was that it didn’t matter how clearly we tried to get these key points across – some people would still say we were unethical liars, simultaneously too stupid to build a decent piece of software and smart enough to dupe our customers, surely a far-brighter-than-average demographic.

We also forget to mention that our latest bit of transparency would mean that somebody would compare us to Hitler. Sorry for the oversight, but, really, you should have known that announcing a series of updates to a piece of entertainment software really is just another flavor of National Socialism. That should have been obvious. Come on – bang the rocks together guys.

If you haven’t seen the threads, check them out:

I don’t want to sound ungrateful but …

– and –

New Expansion pack from Microsoft later this year

When I’m not shaking my head, finally understanding the full meaning of one of my father’s favorite words – incredulous – I’m especially grateful for the cooler heads that find their way to the surface. Friends I’ve met, like Geofa, and those unmet, like Ladamson. And even, in fact I daresay especially, those who are disappointed with FSX, genuinely anxious for some additional support, and who manage to express that without accusing us of being dead fascist dictators. Those are the customers I like to think we’re working for.

And for the record – I’m a fan of Ground Environment Pro. If there’s anyone reading this who doesn’t know their stuff, go check it out. Their work is an example of why we build a platform, and not just a product.

Anyway, I wonder if it would have been worse had we announced the Expansion Pack with NO mention of the other updates? I have to think so, though one wonders.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and lasciviously eye Poland.

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4 Responses to Dear Marketing,

  1. Francois says:

    Hal,
     
    the solution (and a cure for your and Marketing\’s headaches) is of course to read the RIGHT forums ….. ROFL !!!
     
    All the oh-so-predictable bad comments always seem to be on one \’certain\’ American forum and coming from a really tiny group of professional moaners. (I sneakily moused over – not clicked! – your two example links, just to have my suspicions confirmed). I have long ago built an environment where such people don\’t feel comfortable, and that makes on-line life so much more pleasant for all the truly appreciative customers of both you and me.
     
    You already knew that, of course 😉
     
    Francois

  2. Roy McMillion says:

    +1 for using the word "lasciviously", -2 for the total absence of French Prostitutes.

  3. James says:

    Francois is right. There are other forums where the flak is not near as heavy. Yep some even American and I see some of Aces posting in the forums. Hang in there guys… there are people out there who believe we are headed in the right direction.  Software development can be a thankless job sometimes. Heck I know… never like being referred to as a cost-center when I deliver solutions.
     

  4. Unknown says:

    Hi, noticed you mention Ground Environment which is a great product, but I\’m not sure why you\’d want to bring it up when it supports only FS9 (2004).   It\’d be fantastic however if someone could figure out how to make a product like this work on FSX 🙂 

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