You’re doing a pre-order for Early Access. Usually companies do pre-orders where clients pay upfront for the full product OR Early Access, meaning they pay and get access instantly to an Alpha/Beta/Whatever non-final version.
What is happening here is that you are asking for up-front payment on Early Access. That’s not very normal. Yes, we see that happening in DCS but we usually have a closed set of features and expected date of release. We don’t have none here. And this is really not DCS, so it’s not normal in the non-DCS flight simulation community. But hey: there’s always a first time. It’s not something that I personally would like to see starting a trend, though. We know what Early Access has been doing to DCS for several years now.
You have valued your product at a higher price than high-quality helicopters on other civilian sims, justifying that increase with unique features. Yet, we don’t know which features those are.
You shouldn’t be asking people to give you money out of faith. You should be asking people for money in exchange for access to a product that has a certain value, based on its properties or features.
I’m sorry but, it is weird. It’s a very weird process in which you are selling “faith in your team”, not a product with a closed set of features, because you haven’t even realized what those features will be.
Yes, I am concerned. It’s not so much concerns that you are to deliver a product or not, but a concern that this is opening a precedent and that other teams may look at this and start doing the same, treating the community as a way to get some up-front money “out of faith”.
Your actions count a lot, especially since the market is very small and what you do has a huge reverberation. In the future, you guys will just be another company in the middle of a ton of others but, right now, you have a lot of eyes on you and you are “leading by example”.
Our community is quite old and experienced, but we have a lot of newcomers coming into the hobby. A lot of those, for their inexperience, may be tricked by people that have no problems in trying to squeeze a few bucks out of a few hundred of them. Not you but some other folks that may look at what you do and see it could be working for them as well.
If people start thinking this process is normal because they see developers do it (and it’s not, I’m sorry but it really is not), we are opening the doors to allow for this to happen.
I don’t have anything against you, Dave or the rest of HPG. I just would like you guys to take a deep breathe, take a step back, look at what you’re doing, and make sure you do this well. We need that.
I have been working with companies, developers (software and hardware) and the community for years. I lend my hand to a lot of people (for free). My thoughts are always about helping the community and I work really hard, outside of my regular dayjob (the one that puts food on the table), stealing time from my family and myself to give back to everyone in this amazing hobby. I’m trying to help you and the community here by giving you the perspective that you may not have because you’re “in too deep” into the project. It’s normal. Been there, done that, I deal with that everyday and not just in simming.
It’s, of course, up to you guys. But trust me, Steve: what you guys are doing it’s not really normal. And it’s not a “distruptive” or “innovative” kind of not being normal. It’s just weird.
Another piece of unsolicited opinion: saying “we’re not forcing you to purchase” demonstrates a lack of faith on your own product. If you are doing a pre-sale/sale/early access, sell that sucker. You should be pushing sales, not saying we are free not to buy. Believe in your product and stick to it. Convince us.