How should a Market Place refund or free trial policy look like?

For us, yes. Asobo may not agree. And if the option were to have a trial period in a controlled environment or no trial period at all, I’ll take the trial period in a controlled environment - because right now we’re going in completely blind.

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Yes this is right. A simple time limited trial period. So we can test the way we want. I can’t see what difference it would make to MS (Asobo wouldn’t figure in this). A couple of hours just wouldn’t do it nor be a worthwhile trial. Right now I am still struggling getting to grips with the revamped ATR for example. A couple of hours trial even after it was fixed would not show me enough. But two weeks would seem reasonable.
I hope the Community will see how this would help all of us, weed out the bad developers and restore confidence in the MP and most likely increase sales. A win all round…

This has nothing to do with Asobo. Microsoft sets the commercial terms of Sale.

Please note that I have changed the heading of this thread slightly to reflect that the direction of the discussion has turned towards how a free trial on the MP could look like. As the true underlying objective should be to improve quality of items in the MP, highlighting good developers and generally improving the reliability of the MP, discussing the Free Trials route would seem to be a win for all and the way to go, judging by many posts.
So the thread is now called:
How should a Market Place refund or free trial policy look like?
It would seem that we need to push this so please add your vote to an already existing topic rather than vote here so we maximise effort:

Trial period for items in Marketplace

I like how Google does it with the Play store. You can request a refund within a certain amount of time, no questions asked. When you do, the app is uninstalled and you lose access to it. If you later decide to buy it again, you get no refund period.

How long that period should be, or if it should depend on what you buy (a skin vs airport add-on would take different amounts of time to fully judge) are debatable, but it’s the general concept that I like.

Ok, but that doesn’t change what I said. I’m just used to typing in “Asobo”.

The problem with refund is, it’s a finance and accounting nightmare to manage. There’s positive in account receivable, then there’s negative values coming out as account payable, then you manage a whole lot of transactions coming in and out and also working with the third-party developer themselves to get them paid accordingly.

Even as the customers who pay, I’m pretty sure refunds are annoying as well. I know it’s annoying for me to request a refund, because I had to deal with their finance and marketing person and I have to tell them a reason why I had to request, then you have the social and emotional burden that comes with taking money away from someone else, it’s not a process that I would prefer as a customer. I would prefer to have as many information as I possibly could before I make a decision whether I would pay for something or not, then commit to it and live with that decision.

Free trial is the only sensible way to go for me.

So for OP, my suggested policy would be:

  • Marketplace content can have an option, to purchase the content out-right which will permanently unlock that content on your account. Or to click on Free 7-day trial.
  • Pressing the Free 7-day trial would temporarily unlock that content for your account and download the content with the same encryption. Then a timer starts that’s bound to your Microsoft Account with a date stored on the cloud server with the free trial start date and time, with their expiry date. Once it’s downloaded and unpacked, the user have 7 days to try that product in any way that they want and spend as much time with it as they want as well.
  • At the end of that 7-day trial, the content will get locked with a different encryption and the content removed and deleted. The trial button itself will be greyed out and no longer available for the user. Users who wish to continue using the product have to purchase the content outright. No more trial is allowed.
  • Throughout the trial and any time, the user has the option to purchase the product straight away, if this is done within the trial period, then the timer stops and the server will flag that account to have permanent access to the content, so no need to be locked or removed.
  • The 7-day trial has a hard date and time. No extensions given. So if user press a trial and they’re not utilising that time effectively to properly try the product, it’s their fault, not Microsoft or the developers. So users have to make sure they are aware of this policy.

This suggestion is probably controversial, but it does add a bit of drama and twist to this free trial process:

  • Outright purchases without free trial can be 10% cheaper than when you press the free 7-day trial. For example, if a content is being sold at $10 when purchased outright. The moment you press to enable the Free 7-day trial period. The price becomes $11 when you want to decide to purchase the product. This will form some sort of “insurance” both for Microsoft and the developer that allowing free trial we should pay them more for saying “thank you” for providing this feature.

So this part of the policy will create a bit of tension and drama on should I buy the product directly, or pay a bit more at the end after I try the product. This applies on discounts and sale prices too. So if the discount cuts 20% of the price, then the trial will add 10% from the discounted price, not the original price. This is fair.

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I do like all this. It is simple and the way a trial should work.

The discount idea is interesting but may have a hidden issue. Some folks, tight on funds, may opt for it on financial reasons. But the objective is to improve the products via trials but also users not waste money.
But an interesting thought as long as the free trial is included as an option.
Please don’t forget to vote for the basic principle of free trial.

I suppose another layer to add is what happens when developer updates the content.

Do they allow 7-day trial enabled again for users who tried the content before, since updates may introduce new features that would have made it interesting for the customer to buy, something that became a dealbreaker in the previous version.

Or maybe letting them a shorter limited trial period(let’s say 3 days) so that they have enough time to properly test the new version updates. But everyone else who never tried the product can still get their 7-days. But that doesn’t get added just because it’s a new version from launch.

So it’s either 7-days for everyone else, but only 3-days for users who have already tried the product previously.

so have you gotten marketplace refunds from MS then?

Three since the beginning of April.

I suppose the detailed conditions should be left to MS. Establishing the principle of trials would be an achievement.
Having said that, it would be reasonable to assume, having accepted the product after trial, one will also accept the developer does updates correctly. I think trials on fixes or updates may be a step too far and make any trial system a practical Nightmare.

Asobo would set the standards. All market aircraft would be required to have the same level and functionality of the stock/Local Legend planes in FS2020. 4k textures. Realistic flight dynamics. Ect.

And who is the Authority, and who has the knowledge, to say if a given plane has "Realistic " Flight Dynamics , or even what “realistic” flight dynamics are for a given plane.

Do those vetting a plane for the Market Place, even actually fly them, or know how they should fly - :woozy_face:

Are the hinted at “Real World Pilots” that seem to get quoted as having tested the plane, in the developers advertising blurb, really providing accurate feedback to both the developer and the potential purchaser.


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Ideally, the entity who has the authority is the manufacturers themselves, or someone who has been certified to assess them.

So for example, the easiest way to authenticate its realism is by having Airbus themselves to issue a certified licensed product to Fenix A320 to say that it has been deemed realistic based on their testing.

Same with PMDG to obtain Boeing certification (which I’m sure they do). So without that certificate, then we can safely assume that the plane addon is not realistic.

They could even go with tiered certificate: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum rating. With Platinum deemed to be certified to be used for Commercial Pilot training purposes. and with diminishing standards the lower tier you go. But they all come from the original manufacturer.

So, Concorde addon by DC Designs/FSLabs would have to be certified by BAE Systems/Airbus.
The F-35 Lightning II Addon by Indiafoxtecho would have to be certified by Lockheed Martin, and so on.

Great – and then your Addon Plane, now at $35, will cost you $350 at least, to cover the cost of Manufacturer certification.

More likely is that the Manufacture will turn around and say :

" No way, not in our interest – and BTW, you are not licensed to copy and reproduce a simulation of our Plane – our Lawyers will in in touch with you with a Cease & Desist order + Damages"

Note: Isn’t MSFS ONLY licensed for “entertainment purposes”.

I am not aware of any Commercial Licenses ??

Maybe there are some, but they do not appear to be publicly advertised.

Maybe someone has more current details of Licensing options, they can share.

This is getting way out of hand. Who cares about if it is authentic. The test would be against some basic SIM requirements.
Does the plane comply with basic simconnect bindings
Does the gear work etc.
If the developer states this plane does not comply with basic simconnect bindings then it won’t be tested. This is NOT against realism, this is a simulator. Developers are tested against basic SIM criteria their planes/scenery has to comply with.
Don’t make this into something it ain’t. It is about testing during a trial period.
Yes it will put pressure on developers, So?
They want my money don’t they?

Unfortunately, most of these discussion thread typically get way out of hand, as some post ideas that are totally ridiculous and unpractical, without any realistic idea about what they are asking for.

Such is the nature of any forum, or collection of people, with such diverse ages, and understanding.

But in a forum like this, EVERYONE has a right to express their thought, and as long as it is on MSFS topic, and within the Forum COC, then almost any wild ideas can be expressed.

Members can write what they feel they need to express, but that does not mean than other member have to read it, or respond. Sometimes it is far better to just move on … for everyone’s sanity.

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As far as I know, the only aircraft that are licensed in any way in the sim are the default examples, and the ATR. As has been pointed out, approaching a manufacturer in pursuit of a licence is asking for trouble, unless you’ve deep pockets (like Microsoft). They must know it goes on, but choose to turn a blind eye…