When we announced development for P3D 18 months ago, we were very candid about the fact that our P3D products will be significantly more expensive than our FSX products.
This is true because we envision P3D as the home for our enterprise and professional products, in keeping with P3D's place in the enterprise market. P3D is a growing, in-development platform that will be constantly changing and evolving to meet the needs of the professional simulation market. With this in mind, it is thus not sufficient for PMDG to finish a product and simply toss it to the marketplace forever. We will need to invest developer time and effort to continually adapt our P3D products to version changes, as well as adding new features as they come available in P3D. This is a different approach than we use in FSX, and it is a different approach than is used by most other developers whose products are targeted to the entertainment market only. Use of developer time is an opportunity cost, and we must carefully weigh the value of placing a developer on one project as opposed to another. These are economic considerations that must be dealt with because we envision our P3D product line as a constantly evolving, growing, professional development environment.
P3D is a professional tool targeted to professional and academic users and our P3D business model moves us in that direction.
Some have expressed concern about forward compatibility with LM version changes. We have already indicated that our current product licensing will carry you through at least v3.x and x64bit conversion, which we anticipate taking place in v3.x... based on publicly available information.) I am unable to predict what will happen beyond this, but at that point we are likely a good 2 years out and we will evaluate what is fair for the marketplace at that time.
Our enterprise and professional products on P3D will have significantly higher license costs ($1,800-$25,000+ based upon what is required) and our enterprise product line will also require the purchase of an annual maintenance contract. This pricing is directly in line with the professional and enterprise software market and deals with the larger issues of certification cost, intellectual property licensing and liability mitigation. Our intial plan for P3D included only these market sectors, but we recognize that there are many non-professional users interested in our products who are using P3D and thus we created a license/pricing bracket to meet the needs of those individuals without dilluting our professional and enterprise market.
Some folks have been upset because they felt that we owed them a discount for purchasing the FSX version. While we can all appreciate that desire for a healthy discount, i should point out that the promotional pricing being offered right now **is** a significant discount from the base list price that will go into effect on 08MAR15. We felt that setting the price to match that paid by FSX users was the most fair way to approach the issue.
Apparently there are some folks who are upset that we should have given a very steep discount- and again- we can appreciate the desire for healthy price savings, but there really is no precedent for it in PMDG's market history. We did not offer a discount for NGX customers who had owned our previous 737 in FS9, for example, and again P3D is an entirely and completely different platform with an entirely different purpose. Some may recall that in 2007 we offered a very short, two week promotional pricing method (almost identical to the one currently being offered, by the way!) for customers who wished to upgrade from our FS9 747 to the FSX 747, but that program had a specific purpose, was unpopular and created very many problems for customers.
To give a different example: Some of you know, Ryan got me hooked on the Battlefield franchise as a way to blow off steam with some of the members of our team. I own Battlefield 4 on the PC... I also own it on the Xbox... I was not offered any promotional pricing even though I own both platforms. This is the reality of the software licensing marketplace. I know some people wish it were otherwise- but at PMDG we live within the reality of it all...
PMDG has always been on the high end of pricing in our marketplace, and we have always required individuals to purchase a new license when moving to a new platform.
While some felt that a discount was "owed" and have since accused us of "treating our customers badly" the reality is that we have always provided top tier products, complete-and-unhobbled products that do not require you to cherry pick functionality, and we have always provided continual, live support while also engaging with our customers directly and honestly in our forum. I checked our support system today, and for 2014 our average reply-to time for customers requesting support was < 4:15. We have three employees who's job it is to support customers directly and they do so on issues ranging from Windows to hardware, to FSX, to P3D and all of that is on top of providing support for our own products. In addition to customer support, we strongly support the growth and completeness of our products with multiple free updates, hundreds and sometimes thousands of fixes, corrections and improvements because we care very much to deliver our customers the finest, no-excuses simulation available on the marketplace- and to that end I feel strongly that we succeed in this endeavor.
Speaking of our forum- we have had a number of folks come to the forum to vent their disappointment.
We have always allowed this in our forum and we continue to do so. We do set some ground rules, however- and those ground rules have been in place since our first software product release in 1999. We don't allow anyone to be unkind, we don't allow anyone to spread falsehoods, we don't allow anyone to be abusive and we don't allow anyone to troll.
Anyone who comes to the forum or our facebook page who wants to engage other simmers and/or us in factual, calm, respectful conversation is always welcome- even if we don't agree with you and even if your opinion is different than ours. We cannot allow folks who simply wish to vent anger or troll/incite arguments to participate freely however as this diminishes the value of the forum for all others.
In short- I am sorry if our policies on pricing do not make everyone happy. We have communicated them to you candidly for 18+ months- and we will continue to do so. We continue to work on many great things for the simming community in FSX, P3D and Xplane- and we look forward to delivering these things to you!
I hope that helps with the understanding. I'm sorry if some individuals feel that we have not done enough to support them, but we have always appreciated your support- and continue to do so- even if we don't all agree