Addons, why are they so expensive?

I suppose it’s a rather simple question, why are Addons for the civilian simulators so expensive? I’ve been shopping around a bit to prettify my FSX, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a hefty investment without any guaranteed payout, lot’s of dodgy looking addons ask the same price as for example RAZBAM’s Mirage 2000C in DCS, or one of the Belsimtek helicopters. Often times they have the looks of a 2007 mid tier product too.

I wonder why there is so little competition on the prices, I understand that development is pricey, but when DCS can give me free money everytime I buy a product, and 777 studio’s is selling their sim for peanuts, why does this not happend with the civilian sim world? Does everyone aspire to be PMDG price wise?

I would argue thus:

  1. 777 Studios has ‘wrapped up’ development of Rise of Flight and is making money to just stay active (obviously, I have no inside information and this guess can certainly be, and probably is, wrong);
  2. The FSX market found it’s price - a price that was low/high enough of the flight sim community to be able to support those development groups. There is no real price competition because a) the sales volumes are low, b) the availability of new products is infrequent, c) there are not a lot of directly competing products being released at the same time to cannibalize sales;
  3. DCS ‘free money’ is a bit of a mixed blessing unless you are patient;
  4. Because PMDG is successful, it is a model to follow;

1.) fair enough, I suppose it makes them a dime still.
2.) I would disagree given that this: FlightSim Developers - Pilatus PC6 Porter (for Flight Simulator X and Flight Simulator 2004) is considered viable still to sell at 25 dollar…
3.) I can imagine so, but given that that 25$ seems to be pretty average for mediocre work in FSX, I would still say DCS wins that round.
4.) Is it for many companies though? PMDG prices are outrageous nowadays.

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777 has taken over BoS / BoM.

I did not mean to imply that 777 had given up. I know that they are still active in other games.

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You also have to account for the customer base that is purchasing these addons and setting these prices.

Warning: Massive generalizations ahead!

Who they are: Middle aged men and older who have identified GA flight simming as one of their primary hobbies and have allocated a budget to that hobby. Some of them are pilots, some of them are veterans, many of them are retired. Many of them have been with MSFS in all versions for a decade and a half! They are spending money yearly on their main computer hobby and the prices for these addons reflect that.

The developers don’t set the prices, the customers for their products do.

Edit: and if you think it’s expensive now, wait till you start running out of hard drive space…


I had not taken that into account yet I am well qualified to assure you that that is indeed correct. 95% are middle aged and above white males. A little variation in this hobby would be nice.

‘Means, motive and opportunity’ is what needs to be established for the profile of the person for the most perfect flightsim crime!

Means - well that’s easy - you need money and must be prepared to spend it. It’s cheaper than a Harley and a hair transplant, or (and I still get the shakes even typing the word) a boat. I agree the market price responds to the means of the customer rather than the other way around.

Motive - trickier, but often it is because we want to pretend to do something we couldn’t normally do in real life. Also tends to like things that are not too easy, as in it is the friction that makes it fun. Learning, and all that.

Opportunity - main one being time. For a lot of people into sims, it is their main hobby, or rather if you count ‘opportunity cost’, it’s a high one to do it properly.

So from that we can do the photofit/identi-kit sketch and find our person… :slight_smile:


My stepfather has a neat two-sided saying: “It’s only worth what you can sell it for.”

  1. You might think something is valued at $100, but if you can only sell it for $10, it’s worth $10.
  2. You might think something is valued at $10, but if someone will buy it for $100, it’s worth (at least) $100.

FSX add-ons are expensive because that’s what the community will pay for them.
DCS and other simulator add-ons are cheap/free because that’s what the community will pay for them.

I think a PhD in sociology and a federal grant is required to get any more specific than that.


I always looked at DCS purchases as akin to buying something along the lines of Falcon 4.0 with the added benefit of the asymmetry that comes with different airframes.

Whenever you fly in BMS, as great as it is (and it really is!), you’re flying a Viper flight model edit of some form. In DCS, you have multiple aircraft spanning many generations and the ability to really delve into that asymmetry.

When it comes down to it, war doesn’t care about what is or isn’t obsolete. My two cents.

I suppose I have my answer now, It’s still a shame that this is how the cookie crumbles.

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Personally, I tend to be a late adopter and it has worked out well for me. Some might say that could be at the expense of developers because I’m not (usually) paying full price for something. I tend to wait a couple of years for things to go on sale. I regularly browse the popular online flight sim retail stores and generally only pick up things when they are on sale.

For instance…I really would have liked to have bought some of Razbam’s stuff a few years back…but I waited, and now I can get them for $15 instead of $40. Sure, I wasn’t able to fly the cutting edge releases on day one, but that is the premium you pay for being an early adopter. The same goes for my general gaming…I don’t buy new games until they hit a pretty good Steam sale.

Now, there are some things that will hit that “must have” trigger where I can’t be patient. American Truck Simulator was one…and some DCS modules have been and will be that way. I accept that a “fresh” product will cost me more. Kind of why I’m still on the sidelines about VR hardware too. I’m living vicariously through the other posts about them…but it hasn’t quite gotten me to flip the switch. Hopefully waiting will get me a bit of value as I might get a more developed product for either the same or less price point.

PS - Here are my favorite places to go for deals:

And of course, the sale store:

Good luck…! And post any bargains you find to the bargain game thread…!


I think you really need to try a Rift or Vive with DCS World, Chris. I think you would be reaching for your wallet immediately.


I think that’s why he hasn’t! :slight_smile:

One think I noticed in a few malls now is demo units. The Microsoft and Micro Center stores seems to be getting stock and doing demos. Dangerous times for the wallet!

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Dangerous indeed. :smile: .

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LOL. Nope, I’m here to stay… and I’m going to keep bugging you until you at least try the Rift in DCS. :smile:


@PaulRix, keep in mind that he has a young son, and has to be a positive role model of not giving in to peer pressure… Or something…