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Microsoft shuts down Flight game, bailing out of flight sims for second time in 3 years

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Update: As Kotaku reports, Microsoft has only shut down Microsoft Flight and another children’s game for Kinect, Project Columbia, laying off some developers. But the Vancouver, Canada-based studio itself is still operating.

In a statement, Microsoft said:

Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families, and the company, and this decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management. Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia, but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans. For Microsoft Flight, we will continue to support the community that has embraced the title, and the game will still be available to download for free at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/.

Original story: Microsoft has reportedly shut down Microsoft Flight, a simulation game of piloting real-life aircraft, again. If it’s true, as one user reported on Twitter, it would be the second time in three years that that has happened to the flight simulation division.

The company has yet to confirm the rumor, which is spreading rapidly through Facebook and Twitter.

Microsoft was the custodian of one of the longest-running flight sims in the history of video games, Microsoft Flight Simulator. But three years ago, during a time of contraction in the game industry, Microsoft shut down the studio developing this series.

Then the company revived the game studio to create a small-scale version of the traditional games. During the past year, Microsoft launched Microsoft Flight, which is a downloadable, free-to-play, online-only game. In this successor, you can fly one or two aircraft over the Hawaiian landscape. If you want to fly over a different island, you can pay real money to unlock new territories.

As such, Microsoft showed it was willing to invest in games with new business models. Free-to-play web games are taking off. Riot Games has a huge hit with the downloadable, free-to-play game League of Legends. That prompted China’s Tencent to buy Riot for almost $400 million. But not every free-to-play game is a huge hit.