Aamir from Fenix Simulations have now announced on Discord that they “do indeed have a licence with ProSim to utilise and modify elements of their simulation software, and are building upon that to building something much more desktop-orientated and more in line with what PC simmers are used to.” (#Announcements, Fenix Sim Discord). Aamir has also provided further clarification on Reddit.
I have also received personal word from Hanne (ProSim-AR), and further confirmation on the ProSim Forum:
“Fenix indeed is a customer of ProSim, Fenix is licensing certain components from our generic cockpit building software, on top they build their own A320 product for their market.”
It is great news that we finally have confirmation from Fenix Simulations and ProSim. There was endless speculation when Fenix A320 was first introduced last month, and their announcement puts it to rest (however opening up many more questions). In my opinion this was an excellent strategic move by ProSim-AR and Fenix Simulation. How do the two companies benefit from the relationship?
ProSimA320 to the Rescue – Why Reinvent the Wheel?
ProSim-AR has been established for many years in the Flight Simulator community. Their research and software development was with the B737 but their product offerings have now expanded to other aircrafts and types including the A320, and now the B737 MAX. They were initially targeting home flight deck builders, but now have licences for commercial use and training operators. Recently ProSim also launched an A320 FMS trainer tool to allow for computer based familiarity (no flight deck required for operations).
Their target market, which ever way you spin it, remains a niche of a niche, and as a result offers a reasonable solution, but requires it to be valued at a higher price point with a subscription model. Other software developers (PMDG, FSL) also offer high fidelity aircraft but are able to sell at a much lower price point because of their higher sales volume (they target desktop PC flight simmers which make up a larger audience).
Without doubt, ProSim-AR must have been looking at ways to diversify their product offerings, especially with the successful launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) in 2020, bringing with it hundreds of thousands of new prospective customers.
By engaging Fenix Simulations (or was it Fenix Simulations which approached ProSim-AR?) ProSimA320 can operate in the backend performing aircraft system logic, autopilot management and ECAM actions. Fenix Simulations will provide an accurate dynamic model of the aircraft for use in MSFS and provide a mouse-friendly clickable virtual cockpit, translate the visual displays (PFD/ND/ECAM/MCDU) and provide other enhancements which could possibly feedback into the core ProSimA320 systems program.
By using ProSimA320 as their platform, Fenix Simulations have been able to jump start their MSFS development and will be able to release a high fidelity aircraft in an exponentially shorter amount of time then it would have taken them to develop it from scratch. ProSimA320 still has it fair share of pressing bugs and inaccuracies, from terrain rendering issues, missing sound environment, to an unworkable (VHF) audio control panel, among many others. Hopefully the team at Fenix Simulation will also be able to address these issues with their enhancement and provide feedback, potentially trickling down the fixes to the core ProSim program.
In the end, all parties benefit – ProSim-AR has much to gain from the financial licencing of their software; Fenix Simulations will be able to fill a gap in the MSFS market by providing a quality study level aircraft; the flight deck builders and training operators (ProSimA320 users) should receive a rigorously tested and serviced product in return.
Purely speculation for now, but if this is successful and Fenix Simulations are able to pull this off, you might even see a Fenix B737 or B737 MAX, again based on the ProSim platform in the very near future.
Well done ProSim-AR and Fenix Simulations.
How tightly integrated is ProSimA320 with the Fenix A320? I ran a few tests on the ProSimA320 Flight Simulator replicating the brakes and video hydraulic demo by Fenix A320 – they are similar in modelling as expected.
Fenix A320 Alpha Demo: Brakes and HYD System Interaction
ProSim A320 Demo: Brakes and Hyd System Interaction
You can also watch both videos side by side (synced comparison).