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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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