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Flightsims on consoles

Can flightsims exist on consoles ? what are the advantages consoles offer and which issues should be solved for a successful console flightsim?

 [This is a repost from the original article on my blog: gameranting]

Many game genres made the successful transition from PC to console, yet one genre remains stuck on its pc roots: flight sims.

Arcade style flight sims like ace combat and hawkx are available on both PS3 and Xbox360 but a quick visit to sites like combatace and simhq, learns that there is still a potential audience to be converted to consoles.  Flight sims on consoles would offer advantages for developers but there are also some pitfalls that need to be overcome.

The bright side:
@ consoles are pc's without a keyboard and mouse, so there are no software limits that prevent transfer to console (i expect the XBOX360 to have a slight advantage over the PS3 in this area)
@ large potential installment base:  a flight sim should not necessarily be focused on the existing PC player base, there are thousands of potential players who never have played a flight sim before
@ similar and known hardware:  the biggest issue with pc development is, that each player has a slightly different configuration.  With consoles everybody has the same hardware.  This means that the hardware limitation are know beforehand and each player will have the same gaming experience in terms of graphics
@ connectivity: nowadays consoles are connected to web like any pc, so offering downloadable content like skins, extra aircraft is possible.

The pitfalls
@ PC flightsims survive nowadays by offering moddability and user content (skins, missions), these possibilities should also be available in one form or another to attract the PC simmers
@ peripherals: most pc simmers have setups of joysticks, throttle controls and pedals.  These will have to be supported (console manufacturer support is thus required).  I would advise this support in the form of patches or drivers and not force the pc simmers to buy new peripherals alongside their console.
@ casual players: although the consoles offer a huge installment base, the majority of these players are, in the eyes of simmers, casual players.  So a flight sim should also offer a more casual game style to attract these players.

It 's technically feasible to create flight sims, but even if all the pitfalls are solved, there will still be one huge challenge: convince serious simmers that consoles are no children toys.

Edit: currently there is at least one developer converting a flight sim for Xbox 360 (IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey)

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