According to Gamasutra sources, Microsoft Flight Simulator, one of the longest running PC simulation / game products, may be coming to an end. Members of the Microsoft "ACES" team, which develops the Flight Simulator franchise, have reported that they were among some of the first laid off immediately after the announcement. Additionally, the "Gamerscore Blog" crew, which ran alongside Microsoft's Major Nelson and Trixie360 to report on Xbox related news, has also been given the axe according to Kotaku.
The Microsoft Flight Simulator series has existed almost as long as Microsoft, and has seen a total of twelve official releases since the original 1.0 version hit store shelves. In the most recent versions, the Flight Simulator franchise has earned a great level of respect in the pilot community as a solid and relatively inexpensive tool to assist both would-be pilots and current pilots in honing their skills. Without the ACES team to continue their work on the next edition of the franchise, the question remains if the series will see its thirteenth release. The ACES team was also actively developing a sequel to Microsoft's Train Simulator from 2001, which may meet the same fate as the flight franchise.
The GamerScore blog team had just recently announced that they would be closing their doors as an outlet and moving on to other positions within the company, however the bad news had only just begun. As per former GamerScore Blog top dog Chris Paladino's recent Twitter updates, the team was ultimately let go before they were able to settle in to any new positions. Major Nelson and Trixie360 however still seem to be employed by the company.
With Microsoft's investments in the entertainment industry steadily declining over recent years, Microsoft may be revealing groundwork for a new business strategy that is less focused on entertainment, and more focused on core applications once again.