I think we are not allowed to say if we are beta testers if we take serious what we might have signed.
This said, Microsoft Flight! to all we know isn't Flight Simulator 11. It is a game containing elements of flight simulation. I do not expect anybody who now is in the FS9 camp or FSX camp to uninstall the sim and go to the game completely. Most of us will play around with the game, and than go back to real.
Flight! is there to attract the masses, due to its game character, and due to its unbeatable price as a game. I never have seen a freeware of that quality, as far as I can judge from what I might know.
Microsoft must make money with Flight!. If this is through extensions of it, they cannot allow freeware. Those of us who know the size of the addon market for FSX and FS9 will doubt their model works out. The best thing that can happen to them is that most people realize that they can get a real sim with all world covered in stunning detail for €30 now named Flight Simulator X Gold.
I read they said there will be no SDK for flight. This makes sense if they do not want to add freeware, and not contact the small designers. They will go and contact the large companies, Flight1, PMDG failed as I read, maybe Aerosoft, and give them a way to add content to the market place. Since that is where MS
gets its money from, they must keep a good margin for themselves, I expect they think of 50% ( which is a usual fraction in the boxed market).
Flight itself could be developped by a rather small core group, it did not require world wide data sets nor all the work needed to convert such data into scenery, something XPlane 10 completely missed so that wherever I look their scenery is just plain wrong.
So I estimate the costs to bring Flight! out to be around 50 man years only = 5 Mio $.
Now let the nominal fee be 10$ for an addon, they need to sell one million addons to get the money back and start to make a profit. Can they achieve this?
In such a scheme does it make sense for the addon producers? Production costs of modern scenery software are high - a photo scenery of Germany with detailed autogen I know to be an investment of several hundred thousand $. With the above numbers, it must be sold 100 000 times to make sense, or 10 000 times in small fragments, before the developer gets a cent. Is this realistic?
I wonder about the economics of Flight! But if it leads to 300 000 new sales of FSX, MS
gets its money back too, and we all can be happy. Flight isn't Microsoft Flight Simulator 11. It does not replace FSX.