Another announcement today, aimed squarely at the online community, mainly 'AVISIM' -- AVSIM will just have to change their name, that's all there is to it...
Over at the forum formerly known as AVSIM, there has been some discussion about Microsoft's attitude to the community. I've never had any doubt that this is an important thing for Microsoft, how to have some sort of relationship with their software users without being buried under piles of rubbish. A long time ago -- before I owned a flight simulator -- I was a Microsoft MVP, a kind of unpaid community support person on the Microsoft use-groups. This was actually part of the Office program, I was seriously into Microsoft Publisher back then.
In the early new century Microsoft invited the local MVPs to Sydney. We dealt with a lot of subjects over there, but the main focus was how Microsoft could expand their involvement in the online communities. They listened a lot, and we've certainly seen the result since -- sure, they can't deal with every troll going on about the evil 'M$' corporation, but they do better than most when it comes to direct support.
One aspect of the MVP program was the 'gifts' -- all the software, and most of the hardware, you could wish for. At one point I received their flight simulator, FS2000 I think, and the rest is history. No more Microsoft Publisher for me, now it's all about the scenery.
So far they haven't put a foot wrong about the new sim, and believe me, plenty of people are waiting for them to stumble. Looks like a soonish beta, and community involvement in the SDK development -- just like FSX. (I was a beta tester for the SDK back then. Some of my suggestions were used, but I still feel guilty that I never got around to reporting the 'Whenpuapai' situation... every time I hear than, I cringe.