just got your Kickstarter update. I have all 4 sims, used them to an extent and follow their development in the several communities. I must say I can fully agree on many of your points.
Parts of the X-Plane Community are indeed hostile and arrogant. They've always beed the underdogs and notably during the half of the year prior to the release of Prepar3d4 they strated to scent the morning air. But this comes clearly from the head: Look upon Austin at this year's FSCon panel discussion. Nonetheless, XP11 made a huge step forward, despite I'll never get why Austin can live with that grey-brown lighting, but of course you can correct this (and I did).
On the other hand, there are really kind and helpful people in the XP community around. One of them is certainly Tony Wroblewsky (tonywob) at AVSIM. I value his balanced opinions and am sure you can get help from him if in need, even more as he has a special relation to NZ.
I also agree on FSW being underrated, but this is at least partially the result of the attitude of the developer. After several years of zigzag pre-announcements, they released something which would have needed two more years of work prior to being released. Forget the "community" updates, they have a clear schedule and only ran out of money. On the other hand, technically FSW has potential indeed. When starting over with Prepar3d4 there was a short time window where I could compare both "naked" Sims and visually FSW was astride, if not better. This said it will certainly not take off as long as they don't have any airliners available which 80 % of the community (me excluded) fly most of the time.
The main mistake DT made was their idea about "official" 3rd party support, and I learned from other developers they will plainly stay away from it because of the numerous restrictions (including money-related). As a result, people try to integrate all sort of FSX planes and scenery into FSW using ugly tricks - just the opposite to what FSW had in mind when they said they wanted to keep it "simple".
AeroflyFS2 seems to have slowed down lately and also in this case I learned from other developers (not scenery-related) who just wait and see until they finalize or at least complete their SDK.
There remains Prepar3d4. Let's face it, this has been a huge hit and LM did quite a number of things right. Plus it has a multitude of development tools ready to use. While I try to keep an eye on all of them, I just can't but fly most of the time in Prepar3d4. To a larger part, this is the result of the fact I accumulated thousands of Euros worth of addons (mostly scenery) for Prepar3d, and even addons which have been considered lost during earlier Prepar3d versions are returning now. In view of this, I can't imagine NZ airports for Prepar3d4 not earning you money beyond Kickstarter. This should apply even more as the release of FB NZAA will put a new focus onto your country.
Personally, I am very much excited to see more NZ airports and Wellington and Christchurch would be top-notch choices, even more as I was *in love* with your legacy rendition of Wellington once.
Finally, let's not forget the multitude of sims seems to multiply further: Remix (https://de-de.facebook.com/REMEXSoftware/
) will have a new sim on display at Cosford in October and Flyinside (http://www.flyinside-flightsim.com/
) is expected towards the end of the year. If you ask me for my purely personal opinion: Prepar3d and XP have an overcritical user base and will certainly be with us for the foreseeable future. But let's face it, all the others face a vague future, despite their merits. I've seen enough sims dying during more than 25 years of simming now.
Kind regards, Michael