In a surprise move, Hype Performance Group announced that they are working on a H145 for Microsoft Flight Simulator. What is surprising about it is not the fact that they are working on a new helicopter and not even the fact that it’s going to be payware.
What really caught me by surprise (and I am sure a lot of other people out there as well) is that HPG is asking for money upfront. The H145 is listed at $42.99 but it’s not available yet, which means you will be paying for something that you really don’t know how it will turn out.
But the team even adds something more and say that "Following our early access period the H145 bundle package will increase in cost and the base package and will also be offered for purchase separately at a to be determined cost.". $42.99 already places the addon as one of the most, if not the most expensive helicopter outside of the DCS ecosystem (which is a whole different league). More than that makes it... Unexpected.
And, if their H135 is any indication of the quality of their work, I am sorry to say, it’s not worth that amount of money.
I am not saying the team does not have the ability to develop a product of great quality, but the fact is that the H135 is definitely not that product, and we don’t know how the H145 will turn out to be.
The features list (which you can see below) mention quite a few interesting and exciting features but there’s no word on the flight dynamics (which is still quite stale on the H135), for example.
This opens quite a weird and scary precedent in our community. If my memory serves me well there is no other helicopter, on any other sim out there, that has been priced this high.
Not even companies that release highly complex and amazing helicopters like DreamFoil Creations, X-Trident or Nimbus Simulations or Cowan Simulation have helicopters this expensive. And we are talking about absolutely amazing products that go above and beyond!
And ask people for money in advance… It’s not something we should feel comfortable with.
Developers need to show the goods before asking us for money. We need more information, we need some proof of what the product will be able to do and maybe, just maybe, a few weeks before release, start a preorder campaign.
But asking us for money – and the highest amount of money we have ever seen a helicopter developer ask for – at this stage?
This is a huge red flag and it’s not something I would like to see as a trend in our community. Unfortunately, like I said in Part 1 of the last Three Grumpy Simmers video, MSFS and the growth of the community seemed to have brought a lot of good things to our sim, but also not so good ones.
My recommendation? Don't give your money to any developers that still has to proove themselves. Especially when they didn't even tell you when they expect to release it. I would wait until the product is released and reviewed because, honestly, we don’t know what’s coming.
As a community, we can't have this becoming a standard where developers are increasing their prices and asking for money months in advance. And that will be exactly what we will be doing if we take our money out of our wallets and play this game. Other will follow and we will eventually become hostages of "early access" just like how it's happening in other markets.
Do we really want to go this path?
By the way, expect another look at the H135 as version 1 is out. Stay tuned!
Official features list
- 3 model variants available (Civilian, Luxury, Military) with the possibility for more based off user demand
- Airbus Helionix avionics and an upgraded EFB with support for Navigraph charts
- Avionics will be reworked to deliver graphics with higher fidelity, performance and depth when compared to the Airbus H135
- Compatibility with the optional pms50 GTN750
- Professional 3D modeling, PBR texturing & stunning liveries
- Realistic rotor animations including blade droop
- Realistic turbine, rotor, cabin and environmental sounds designed to provide pilots with the most immersive experience available
- 4 axis autopilot including GPS TRK/FPA, V.APP, GS/APPR and auto-collective (similar to auto throttle)
- Ability to create custom precision GPS vertical approaches to your favorite helipads
- Trend indication for exceedances (TOT, TRQ)
- Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS)
- Detailed systems such as detailed systems MBG, fuel monitoring, electrical and air conditioning
- Accurate limitations for engine N1/TRQ/TOT when all engines operative or one engine inoperative
- Increased range, speed, power and high altitude performance