I’m willing to bet there would be a great deal of existing renown and experienced 3rd party developers who would be trading some of their time contributing to the FS code base provided they’ll get a chance to enhance its core which would benefit their add-ons development first, and as a consequence any add-on development.
It would also take less people to hire, for managing this process, than hiring people doing the coding itself, while at the same time, I believe it would clearly prove to the community Microsoft and Asobo are really building a simulator for simmers meant to stay for a long time span, while recognizing without a shadow of a doubt 3rd party vendors are essential to the franchise and they wouldn’t compete with any of them directly.
Jorg is saying this himself: it is not like any other game or franchise, because people working in this industry are way more knowledgeable than he thought, way more engaging and passionate too, and he came to the realization FS2020 is a platform.
I believe the best way to turn this new vision into acts, is in forgoing the concept of closed source code and control, because the real value of such franchise comes from its ecosystem first and foremost, and this ecosystem might be Xbox crowd during a time, but most likely simmers only for the next decade, and simmers are expecting at least one thing regarding 3rd party vendors, which is flying their add-ons on simulators capable of running them, not the reverse.
The general idea could be a 3 tier/layer approach for example:
- lower level core simulation IP (physics, weather, network, rendering engine, etc…): closed source.
- higher level simulation environment (UI, gameplay, interfaces, presentation, etc…): closed source.
- middle level implementation: shared source with 3rd party vendors.
The middle tier is about building higher level functionality using the lower tier “blocks” in order to serve the higher tier. This is also where the SDK is plugged into with a certain number of I/O interfaces. In addition, the needs and implementations done by 3rd party vendors at this level would be influential to Asobo building additional lower level blocks and/or enhancing the existing ones.
What pertains to the simulator as a whole remains Microsoft/Asobo IP, and what pertains to the 3rd party vendor ecosystem is shared. In some ways it is not dissimilar as how it is today, except the simulator would benefit from much more developer resources, who would be contributing to enhancing the interfaces between the simulator and the 3rd parties, because these would be based on both their actual needs and the general guiding principles where Microsoft/Asobo want to lead the franchise to. In addition it would give a much better long term picture and vision to 3rd parties about where this is going for their own business, let alone the priceless engagement of 3rd parties ending up working mostly with FS2020 instead of another simulator platform.
There are certainly others ways, but it is a simple win-win idea.