Well, that didn’t last long. Microsoft confirmed today that it has ended development of Microsoft Flight, the “freemium” PC title that the company launched less than six months ago as a follow-up to its discontinued Flight Simulator franchise.

We were impressed by our time with the game, but it apparently didn’t catch on with a wide audience. Flight was criticized heavily by fans of the classic Microsoft Flight Simulator, which said it fell short of a true simulation and didn’t live up to the legacy of Flight Sim.

Microsoft says it will continue to support the Flight community and make the game available to download for free. Flight had represented a new direction for Microsoft’s PC games group, which made the underlying game available for free and then sold extra content and add-ons to generate revenue from avid users.

The game site Joystiq reports that Microsoft is laying off 35 people at its Vancouver, B.C., studios in conjunction with the discontinuation of Flight and another project, dubbed “Columbia,” which Engadget describes as a Kinect-based virtual storybook for children. Microsoft isn’t confirming the layoffs.

Here is Microsoft’s statement on the news.

Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families and the company, and this decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management. Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on “Microsoft Flight” but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans. For “Microsoft Flight,” we will continue to support the community that has embraced the title and the game will still be available to download for free at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/.

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  • Guest

    Kudos to Microsoft for pivoting adroitly and refocusing attention away from the vertical flight-sim consumer and towards the general-market Kinect gamer. This is what’s best for the business.

    • guest

      Oh yeah, right, let’s pivot away from the vertical flight sim market (that actually made a ton of money, and greased the skids with defense dept.) to Kinect games that have lost money for every publisher but MS. That makes a ton of sense.

  • SteveB

    Microsoft Flight was just a repackage of the older product. Nothing really new. No wonder it failed.

    • boriquaboy83

      FLIGHT was nothing remotely like Flight Simulator. That is why FLIGHT bombed.

  • guest

    “I love our strategy. The board loves our strategy”
    – Steve Ballmer

  • Coolio

    What a fiasco. Flight sim was a cash cow for the company. Some idiot canceled it, closed the ACES group, fires a bunch of people in the Seattle area.

    Then, some idiot restarts it in his hometown. Same idiots screws it up, stops work in Canada, and then reassures the Canadians that they’ll still be able to work within Microsoft.

    From Canada.

    Some idiot.

  • Peter Chylewski

    Good old Flight Simulator was the only Windows software I’ve ever bought in my life – I use Macs for work – and it was great! I was actually thinking of upgrading recently, but, alas, it’s gone. One customer less. Question: Can MS really afford to lose customers now, be it only a tiny one like me?

    • boriquaboy83

      FS9 and FSX are still alive and going stronger then ever thanks to the community and third party developers.

  • boriquaboy83

    Is it just me or did they just remove the “Simulator” from the letter about how they closed Aces studios and apply it to FLIGHT? I swear that is verbatim what they said back in 2009. Somehow I doubt it’s “Hard” for them to keg the people working on FLIGHT, they did it before. Hate flight myself and will play FSX till I die but I do hope Microsoft is regretting the choice to close ACES now. They have no product at all now. Good job.

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