A surprising step back today from FlyByWire concerning the team’s ongoing development of the acclaimed A32NX and also the upcoming and very exciting A380X. Citing mostly licensing issues, the team has decided to definitely pull the A32NX from the Marketplace, which also means the aircraft won’t be available to Xbox users.
You may remember that FlyByWire was forced to temporarily remove the A32NX from the MSFS Marketplace after complications caused by Sim Update V. Now, a bigger concern comes to front due to the need to essentially have two separate versions of the aircraft available to users: the “standard” A32NX, which has always been directly available from FlyByWire and is licensed under GPL-3.0, and the Marketplace edition, which requires an MIT license, as per Microsoft’s requirement.
We won’t bother you with license technicalities, but essentially the problem here derives from the need to maintain two separate versions and how overwhelming that is to the voluntary team of developers that contribute to the project. The team has concluded that it’s not feasible to continue developing both versions given the resources that they have available. The same applies to the prospect of having the aircraft available for Xbox. While that would definitely be exciting for the team, they simply don’t have the manpower to provide the necessary support for the influx of new users. Remember, FlyByWire is made up entirely of volunteers, who give their free time to the development of freeware aircraft out of passion for this hobby and the whole community.
One last reason that led to this decision is a more technical aspect of development. We’ve heard countless times that the MSFS SDK still has a long way to go, some functionality is still missing, you know the drill. More than a year after the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator, while a lot has been done by Asobo, there’s still plenty to do on the SDK, and this is affecting some of FlyByWire’s future plans. In an effort to work around the existing limitations, and because the team wants to implement new features on the aircraft, they are considering running certain components outside of the simulator. This would not be possible to do with the Marketplace edition of the aircraft.
In the end, while these are certainly unfortunate news – especially for Xbox users – they imply a number of changes that will hopefully be positive for the overall FlyByWire workload and their projects. They surely have a lot to focus on, and getting some freedom from licensing issues and other bureaucratic matters should help enhance and accelerate the development of their current and future products.