Ya know, it's certainly reassuring that despite my move from Flight Sim to Train Sim, some things remain the same. When we first starting talking and blogging about the latest version of Flight Simulator we were met with reactions that, frankly, bordered on the paranoid. I suppose that's what we deserved, given how little we'd communicated with our fans over the years. Our new openness was greeted by some with suspicion. "You want to hear what we think so you can build a better product? Riiiiiight." As many of these folks pointed out, Microsoft, er, I mean, Micro$oft <g> had long ago abandoned the pursuit of innovation and customer satisfaction--two concepts made obsolete by our obvious worldwide monopoly in all things software. A nice theory but, as it turns out, incorrect.
Nonetheless it looks like our efforts to reach out to the Train Simulator community will need to go through the same growing pains that we endured (and continue to endure) with FSX. Just consider the many theories concerning the timing and intent of our public annoucement on the Train Simulator web page. First there was the suggestion that we'd timed it to somehow dampen Kuju's participation at CES. Not true. We'd been trying to get approval for the annoucement for months. Then there was the suggestion that perhaps I wasn't completely legitimate in my forum posts, although that's probably just due to the poster being behind the times when it comes to bloggers at Microsoft. Finally there's criticism that we even bothered to say anything. How do you answer to that? In order to communicate with customers you have to, well, communicate.
And so that's what we'll do--in the imperfect, awkward, and sometimes frustrating ways that real human beings do. Stay tuned. ;)