I am wondering why MS has always insisted on uniformity, but they never enforced a rule that prevents addon aircraft from using external nav data set? I believe XP12 was moving toward that. AS CRJ, Fenix 320, Leonardo MD, and PMDG737, why do all these jetliners need to be updated with Navigraph separately (not sure about JF 146)?
it is right, that MS/Asobo offers an open API to access the internal MSFS navdata but this is still only helpful for PC user NOT for XBox user. You can´t update the internal BGL navdata on XBox (only MS/Asobo can do this with their data).
So, to implement the MSFS navdata format for an addon developer is only the half way, because it doesn´t mean that we can be updated it on XBox either. So the addon developer can only use the stock navdata which are from NavBlue + a merge with the public FAA data - so MS/Asobo mixes data, so no unique data. The reason for that merge is, because the NavBlue doesn´t really coverage the whole world - Europe is good covered but the quality and the completeness of the rest of the world no. For at least really study addon developer expects complete, unique data and to be flexible to request additional data which are not included in the MSFS navdata format (ie. GLS, supplemental data, …).
So, it is much more easier for addon developer to use their own dataset instead of the API because this offers the addon developer to update their addons with new data without MS/Asobo in the future. Also, the risk of a bug is less - because you can go back - not possible when you use the MSFS navdata and when the API has an bug, it needs time to fix it and to distribute it (example last year, where MS/Asobo needs two months for a fix).
With the current technology on XBox and the strict rules from MSFS, we can´t update the XBox navdata - so that means the addon developers has only one choice - using the merged data (NavBlue/FAA) offered by MS/Asobo, and that´s in most cases not favored by the addon developer (at least the study level addon developer).
Hope that helps and bring a little light in this topic
Indeed Richard, good comments!
What most people do not understand is that every company that creates these databases only includes what their customers need. If none of your customers flies to China, you only include the bare minimum. We saw that in the last when Lufthansa Data Systems did not have customers flying to large regions of Canada and whole sections of Canada had hardly any coverage. Still at this moment, any database has airports that customers might expect but are simply not included.
Compared to Jeppesen (used by Navigraph) and Lufthansa (used by NavDataPro) NavBlue (used by MSFS) simply does not cover all the airports our customers would expect. And we would gladly support the build-in database when it suits our needs. Why would we not?
We at PMDG do update our understanding of what the sim offers, and it is something of vital importance to us. We are not sure where that comment from Microsoft came from.
The comment from Microsoft came from Jorg Neumann by email to me, in direct response to your email to me. And this is precisely why I am formally requesting a dialog between developers.
I really do appreciate everyone’s position, and willingness to discuss it. I realize I’ve ruffled eveyone’s feathers - that was not my intention. When I started this thread I did not understand who was responsible for navdata - only that I paid good money for a premium product only to find out the navdata couldn’t be updated, and was surprised and disappointed.
I do believe if Microsoft (including Asobo and Xbox team) and PMDG and Navigraph have a discussion, that this problem can be solved.
All that is needed from the customer perspective is:
- A way to enter Navigraph credentials to download navdata updates that I pay for.
- And / Or / Ideally … a choice to use the native MSFS navdata for those who don’t subscribe to Navigraph (I recognize this would require massive effort in programming your FMC, that may not be feasible or make sense businesswise…)
- If neither of the above can be accomplished, A clear notice on the Xbox marketplace that if you purchase the PMDG 737 (and possibly the 777?) that uses Navigraph instead of MSFS for navdata, the navdata will not be updated.
Thank you very much.
Where is Microsoft and why weren’t they here first?
Microsoft is saying that this characterization of it’s Navdata is no longer true, as they have been working to improve it.
I subscribe to Navigraph Unlimited because I want the charts (and secretly hope someday the airport gates and taxiways in MSFS will match the Jeppesen charts). I have also been in MSFS beta testing for over a year on Xbox, and I can tell you that the MSFS navdata has improved significantly in that time, to the point where I no longer have any issues importing a Simbrief flight plan in to the default Asobo / Working Title 787. (Maybe the odd waypoint, but it’s vastly improved).
I can see and appreciate that when MSFS launched, Navigraph and PMDG (and others?) looked at it and decided you could and would offer better, custom data. And there was a path to updating that data, via a separate subscription to Navigraph, on PC. And, that MSFS on Xbox probably wasn’t even on the horizon yet, so the challenge to update it wasn’t considered.
I do wish that PMDG and Navigraph would post in the Xbox Marketplace product details a simple description for MSFS Xbox customers. My current understanding is this: Navigraph allows PMDG to include a copy of Navigraph navdata in the 737 as a courtesy, but it is not updatable without (A) a subscription to Navigraph Unlimited, and (B) a path to actually get the data on XBox. The current snapshot if you purchase today, is AIRAC 2204 from April 2022, 19 cycles out of date.
The problem is that the original rationale - of using custom data - has led to to customers on Xbox being locked to stale data, that goes further out of date every month. A year from now, my PMDG will have navdata 32 cycles out of date. I recognize Xbox users who fly PMDG and want navdata updates are a small sliver of the pie, but this wasn’t made clear at purchase, and, I do believe a solution can be found if developers are willing.
From a customer perspective, I’d rather have current data that matches the platform, or at very least the CHOICE to use the native platform data, or the custom Navigraph data.
Again, thank you for responding. My goal is to get YOU ALL to have a constructive conversation as developers, and hopefully find a solution for customers.
And hey - if it can’t be done, or the investment required can’t be justified, then just say so and admit the limitation so we can make informed purchases. I still love to fly, and will seek complex airplanes and procedures. But finding out a premium purchase is hobbled after the fact is, well, disappointing.
I’m going to guess that Microsoft has a policy to not engage directly on the Forum (either because it would open the flood gates, or lawyers say don’t, or both).
I do believe they read them. Mr Neumann did take the time to respond to an email, promptly and in great detail. I hesitate to post it here because I worry that I’ve kicked the hornets nest - I don’t want to exacerbate frustrations further. I have asked his permission to share it and am waiting for a reply.
At the end of the day, this is a simulator. I enjoy it. I accept there are technical and legal limitations on Xbox, and am ok with that as long as it’s clear up front. I was initially quite frustrated, but I have also learned a great deal in the past week. I do believe each company wants to create a great experience for customers - and that there are differences in approach, technical and legal challenges, unanticipated consequences like this, and natural competition between providers.
What has been missing from everyone’s position is the customer’s perspective in this unique example of bringing complex simulation to Xbox. I don’t care about navdata flying GA planes VFR. But for airliners, navdata is foundational for flight planning, complex procedures, etc. For this reason I’m a bit disappointed in both Microsoft and PMDG for not anticipating this issue and proactively collaborating on a solution, or make it clear there isn’t a solution (yet). Again, I appreciate how small this segment is, and how hard it is.
So I’m sticking my nose in. I firmly believe if they want to bring more of these great products, from more providers, and want more customers on Xbox - then the issue of collaborative data and updates is going to NEED a solution.
I am in agreement with you on this, but I highly dislike that this is our take.
This is their forum, their hardware, their software, their Marketplace.
I don’t understand the need to be so illusive with us on how they have chosen to manage these issues with us. This is not the first example where MS appear to hide behind some veil – whether that be legal or otherwise.
If the state of business and providing service has become so mired in legal red tape (or the ultimate pursuit of money over all else) that all of us are negatively affected by it, then we really have wrecked the world.
I’ve repeatedly expressed a desire for more interaction with MS directly, and I will continue to do so regardless of the “likeability” of my request by MS or those that run the forum.
In a reasonable world, that isn’t an unreasonable request.
You should not have needed to go to Jörg to get start a dialog about this. While I laud his responding to you and being open to dialog, it is ridiculous that you should have to reach the head of the entire project to get some traction.
You bought, arguably, the most expensive aircraft on the Marketplace and a core part of that add-on is affected by the Xbox’s walled garden. That should have been disclosed.
This is still the Refund Policy listed on Zendesk:
"CAN I REQUEST A REFUND FOR CONTENT I REGRET PURCHASING?
You can’t request a refund. Marketplace purchases are not refundable unless the DLC was removed from the Marketplace at the creator’s request. If your addon was removed from Xbox, contact our support, otherwise, contact the developer of the addon."
Fully agree, but I also appreciate and want to acknowledge when they do make an effort, when they are responsive, and I believe they genuinely do care. I can’t deny the frustrations, but I’m still here because I do want MSFS to succeed and grow, I do see incremental progress in functionality and stability, and a consistent long-term effort to be engaged with the user base (even if there could be more). Not defending, just acknowledging the positive aspects.
The pattern I’ve learned here is that sometimes in all the technical and legal complexity Microsoft, Asobo, and developers are navigating - the customer perspective gets lost.
For that reason I want to acknowlege this forum - without it my only avenue to get the customer perspective noticed would be to bother management (since I find Zendesk to be dismissive about most issues). I appreciate the forum is available and that I can express frustrations, be corrected for wrong assumptions, and also raise issues of concern. It has it’s own frustrations from a customer perspective, but I’m still here using it.
I’ve been clear and vocal to management that I have money to spend but am not becuase of the way it looks. MSFS was unstable when I started, and every single support document says you must disable 3rd party content to troubleshoot. Purchases are of “tokens” not products and services (contradicted by the terms of sale, which specify products and services), and refund policy actively keeps me from buying things I would like to try. But that’s another discussion!
I want to voice my agreement here, too. I do believe they care and I do see efforts being made to move the sim and our concerns surrounding it forward, but there is still work to be done in this manner.
I know I’ve been thankful and have given thanks when it is due.
While at Aerosoft I looked at this issue for a long time (where we support Navigraph and NavDataPro (Lufthansa data), just as now with PMDG, but it is really a very complex issue. You are talking about a very substantial amount of coding (months) that touches the very heart of the navigation system. The navdata inside the sim is implemented in a way that makes it, let’s say, less easy to access when compared with the external datasets. All these things are the same for all developers, and thus, you will find that virtually all developers who work with hand-coded systems (so not based on default systems) prefer to use external databases.
Now part of this is, without a doubt, based on old habits and the growth of the Xbox platform surely changes things (for the better, we love working for that platform). But for now, we want to see how things play out between Navigraph and Microsoft. If there is anything that we could do to assist, we would be very happy to do so. When that path really closes down, we will have another discussion on the internal database and do some market research on how many people would welcome it. Always keep in mind that forum users do not represent the vast majority of customers!
In the meantime, I will look at the text we use on the Marketplace and see if we want to change that.
Thank you for the reply. I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot. I do appreciate you taking the time to engage, I appreciate the quality of the PMDG products I’ve seen so far, and I appreciate the challenges of adapting for new platforms - even if I am being critical and expressing frustrations about this topic.
As you describe, the problem of stale custom navdata on Xbox is not limited to the PMDG 737, but will be the same problem for other products and other developers who might offer planes on Xbox as well. It is a valid problem to discuss, even if I “do not represent the vast majority of customers.”
It is a simple fact that, today, if a customer buys the PMDG 737 on Xbox, you get AIRAC cycle v2204 (April 2022) and it can not be updated, even if you pay for a Navigraph subscription for that purpose. If you release the 777 for Xbox, I can assume it will have the same limitation. I’m not the first to point it out, or to be surprised by it.
As someone relatively new to flight simulation - I do not have the benefit of knowing the history of flight sim on PC, but I can undertand how the hardware, OS, simulator, and 3rd party planes are all separate, and enthusiasts learn to tinker to put it together for themselves with community help.
What I’m trying to voice (perhaps badly) is that Microsoft and developers have invited new users via the closed platform - where everything appears to come from 1 source: Microsoft. The hardware, OS, simulator, data for weather, traffic, navigation, and even content all come from the “Marketplace”. It’s presented as an ecosystem, and for a new user there is a natural expextation that it all “just works”. There is a learning curve to find out it’s an experiment in progress, pushing the boundaries, with lots of potential and some real gotchas. Also, it’s not clear who provides what, and when you start asking for help, you start learning who’s who. So I hope you can forgive my early attempts to uderstand with assumptions, some of which were not accurate.
I recognize that it is a monumental - and ambitious - task to wrangle the extremely complex parts of flight simulation into a closed system like Xbox so you can “just fly”. And I appreciate not only the effort from all parties, but also the results so far, and recognize this stale navdata is just one unanticipated consequence of an otherwise amazing result for customers. I enjoy it thoroughly when it works.
I also believe that a solution can be found that doesn’t require re-inventing the wheel - and if not, simply that the marketing should be clearer so customers can make informed decisions.
We are working actively on a mechanism for navdata updates on Xbox, together with PMDG. This work is very much ongoing and we have not yet hit any definite roadblock. Just have a little more patience.
As I’m sure you’re familiar with the forum Code of Conduct, you will undoubtedly have seen this section before (bolded emphasis added):
The most frequent staff members you will see posting on the forums are the community managers and moderators. We enforce the CoC and respond to threads and posts, whether it is to address an issue or simply having fun.
If you don’t see us responding, it isn’t because we are ignoring you. Sometimes we don’t have a good answer, or we are looking for an answer or we cannot comment on the issue at the time.
We also have other work we have to do that isn’t on the forums so if you don’t see us around, we are working on something else for you!
The community team member list can be found here.
The Community Management team reads almost every message posted to these forums, and we have been actively following this thread from the very beginning. In this case, both @Chewwy94 and I have been working behind the scenes to find out if there’s more information we can share to address the questions in the OP. For reasons you no doubt understand, it’s essential that we do not post anything that is incomplete, incorrect, or confidential, so oftentimes that means we need to reach out to other members of the team to make sure we understand the issue fully and know exactly what information we can share with you before we comment.
Thank you Stephen, again. And to everyone, thank you for engaging in conversation, for helping me to understand the challenges, and letting us know it is on your radar.
Why not just let us know that you’re looking into this up front?
Sure, you have told us repeatedly that you read all the posts here and that is a very convenient way to “umbrella” any of our feelings that you’re not here.
Is there good reason to not just pop in when several days have gone by and repeated posts have been made in a thread such as this where you can’t just say, “Hey, we’re hearing your concerns and are looking for answers.” or something along those lines?
Why does it seem that, often, the times you do post is as you have done here — in defense.
Why not just be more communicative initially rather than leaving us to feel compelled to call you out?
This happens enough times where it’s not really uncommon.
The reality is, there are many, many other instances where no one from the CM team appears until someone, such as myself, has to make some combative post to draw you out.
I absolutely abhor feeling like I’m “the bad kid” around here and am on some list of users who are trouble, but I often feel backed in a corner.
I’d so much rather be in a position where I’m not feeling like I have to beg for CM input on hotbed topics.
Am I just some jerk user here who is so totally offbase in his perception?
How about a pair of that tells us CMs are actively monitoring a thread? Or something along those lines if posting words would violate your internal policies?
Could it be as simple as having a “Navigraph Data” … app? … on the Marketplace, which does 1 thing: enter credentials so that other addons like PMDG (but also others in the future) have a path to download the periodic updated data file, which would come via the authorized Xbox servers? Again I’m not a programmer, but from a customer perspective it seems that would be feasible and not compromise the closed ecosystem?
There are many times where someone from the community will bring up a concern that, for any number of different reasons, we may not be able to comment about publicly. If we responded with “We’re looking into this,” to each of those posts, it would set a false expectation that a response will be forthcoming when one is not.
There are some cases where we know the answer to a player’s question and will respond immediately. There are other times where we don’t know the answer and have to connect with someone else from the team (who is busy working on their regular duties and may not be free to respond to our request immediately) to get an answer for you. This can sometimes take a few business days of back-and-forth messaging. And there are yet other times where we know the answer but are unable to share that information because it is confidential.
Our team works M-F during regular business hours. This thread was created on Friday afternoon, so when you say “several days have gone by”, that may be true in an absolute sense, but in terms of working hours, it was slightly more than one business day. During that time, multiple CMs were working to gather more information about this issue before we made any kind of statement on behalf of the team.
Once again, I will refer you to this section of the Code of Conduct and kindly ask that you keep this in mind if you don’t see a response from a CM to any particular topic:
If you don’t see us responding, it isn’t because we are ignoring you. Sometimes we don’t have a good answer, or we are looking for an answer or we cannot comment on the issue at the time.
Between me, Jayne, iinKWest, and Chewwy, one or more CMs read almost every single post written on the forums, and we also monitor most other communications platforms where people discuss Microsoft Flight Simulator, including (but no limited to) Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Discord, Reddit, YouTube, and Twitch. As a team, we regularly meet to discuss emerging issues that are generating lots of comments from the community. Sometimes we are able to respond almost immediately, sometimes our responses can take longer while we track down the right information to share with you, and other times we may not be able to comment at all.
I’m trying. I really am. It might not appear that way, but I am.
I don’t want to take the conversation off topic - but would like to provide a little bit of constructive feedback to the forum team on this issue, from a customer perspective.
First the acknowledgements - I and I’m sure many do appreciate the existence of the forum, the effort required to run it, and that it is not an easy task. I recognize you do so under the rules and policies set by a corporation, and thank you for all you do.
From a customer perspective, I share Nixon’s frustrations. It does often feel like genuine concerns are not heard when there is silence. I believe there is a percentage of collective frustration - larger than zero - that could be removed with a little more acknowledgement, especially for new users. As Nixon says, a simple “we hear you and are looking in to it.” is often all that would be needed - reducing frustration and the need to raise TOS issues. When a paying customer has a valid concern, and comes to this official support forum, but the only official response is the TOS, it doesn’t help from a customer perspective. Thanks for listening.