Friday, February 3, 2012

Flight Simulator Plus: Don't Waste Your Money

Don't fall for the scam that is Flight Simulator Plus.

Flight Simulator Plus is just ProFlightSimulator in a new dress - identical to the old dress, except that the tags have been cut out of the collar and new tags sewn in.

And it's still a SCAM.

The scammers are learning, though: the webpage isn't three miles long like its predecessors, full of breathless Ron-Popeil-worthy prose. It's much shorter, and includes a few photos and videos.

(Ah, but the original three-mile-long page is still there, along with sock puppet "Huge Miller." ("Huge"? What kind of name is that?) You can see it by clicking on the "Discount" link on the FSP main page. It's fun reading. Just don't take any of it seriously.)

I haven't watched the videos. But the photos? Six of them say they're copyrighted by FSP:
- One is a photo of a real Boeing 747, taking off into a real sunset.
- One is a photo of a real sunset under the wing of a real airliner, taken from about row 34, back in the cheap seats.
- One is a photo of three real F-18s, taken from the deck of a real aircraft carrier.
- One is either a screen shot of a WWII fighter simulation game, not FSP, or the picture from the box the WWII fighter sim game came in.
- Two are views of runways, one on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They're clearly taken from Google Maps, Google Earth, or Mapquest, and not from any flight simulator.

While the photo taken from the cheap seats could be a legitimate photo owned by the purveyors of FSP, I think that FSP ripped off all six photos from somewhere else, and their copyright notice is bogus.

The other photos are all screenshots from FlightGear, X Plane, or MS Flight Simulator X, and have been previously posted on the Web. If you do an image search for "FlightGear," you will find every one of them - and more. The FSP guys just ripped them off.

The program itself is a rip-off.  FSP is a blatant copy of the free (and really, really good) flight simulator, FlightGear. Independent research has shown that they took all the FlightGear source code, and a lot of the copyrighted add-ons, edited them to try to hide the original authorship, repackaged the lot, and are selling it as their own work.

And they will rip you off, too. People who have bought it and then tried to return it under the warranty policy, have told their tales of woe here on Zyzmog Galactic HQ, the FlightGear forums, and elsewhere.

("They" remain carefully hidden, though. This version of the scam has no identifying information on the website at all. If that doesn't raise a red flag for you, the buyer, then you deserve to get scammed. NEVER buy anything online from a seller who isn't willing to reveal his or her true identity and contact information.)

Don't reward the scammers. Read everything that Zyzmog Galactic HQ has to say about this scam. Then go over to the FlightGear website, and download and enjoy The Real Thing. Or, if you can't stand to get something this good for free, and you're itching to spend real money, then buy XPlane or Microsoft Flight Simulator X instead. Both are very good, commercial flight simulators, and worth every penny. If you insist on buying FSP, then we'll be reading your regrets, here or on the FlightGear forums, in a little while.

But Flight Simulator Plus is a scam. Get it?

Postscript: You will find a lot of pages on the Web, insisting that FSP is not a scam. Go ahead and read a few of them. You will discover that they're all written by sock puppets, and most of them are poorly written. You will also find a lot of bogus "reviews" of FSP. They're all written by the same person (or persons), and posted under different names and using different URLs. For a scammer, URLs are cheap and disposable.

Postscript 2: I'm tickled that this article and its sequel are getting so many hits. I'm rather amused that so many of the hits come from Australia and New Zealand, whence the scam originates.

1 comment:

Packetguy said...

"Miller" is Ozzie slang for a stale old joke (more properly, a "Joe Miller"). "Huge Miller" seems to be a mocking acknowledgement that the whole FSP thing is the same old scam. Hopefully the infringed copyright owners will issue takedown demands on the FSP site.