@DatonKallandor - could not have put it better myself. The sim market is small but still large enough to be profitable. I think also that it is often underestimated. Their was a star trek game that came out recently, but it was sooo simplified it bored me to death. Cannot remember the name. Klingon Academy and Starshatter are the best ones I have encountered so far.
star trek legacy, it s*cked a*s, at least on the pc.
but generally, it is true that simulators dont attract enough crowd (i.e.) money.
star trek legacy wasnt even a simulator at all, it was an arcade third person shooter in space in my opinion.
don´t get me wrong, you can earn a lot of money with simulators, it´s just that it is mostly not enough to interest the big publishers (ea, ubi, etc.) and the risk is much much higher than releasing a starcraft 2 or something like that.
the only sims that get real attention (atm) from outside the simfans are x³ and silent hunter and that´s because both build on a large fanbase that was build back in the days, when sims still were popular (read: when only geeks owned computers )
x³ is - of course not directly, but in some ways - the grand grand newphew of elite and silent hunter is just silent hunter, number x.
the last really popular simulator that i can remember was freelancer - which was released when? 2003? something around that - and freelancer wasnt even that "simulationnish", it was easier to play with mouse+keyboard than with a joystick (though i prefer that)
You really shouldnt pretend to understand the topic if its readily apparent that you have no clue. nintendogs,Sims,Mechwarrior/commander,wing commander,tie fighter are just a few off "simulators" off the top of mainstream AAA simulators that tended to sell millions of copies each. So i would have to say you are WRONG repeat WRONG. The genre in itself isnt niche and has multiple examples of million box seller franchises throughout its history. This is also completely ignoring strategy simulators" like the civilization series and car driving.
i know, this has already been answered...but nintendogs?? mechwarrior? tie-fighter? NINTENDOGS??
first of all, when was the last mechwarrior released? when was tie-fighter released?! 1994 when i remeber correctly? seriously, that is hardly a good example, to show how tremendously well space-sims have prospered...(oh yeah, same goes to wing commander). the mechwarrior series had a lot of really nice games, but there hasnt been released one since part 4 - and again that´s a game that already had a large fanbase from back in the days.
car driving games are the only real sims (in term of simulator like sitting in a cockpit of something) i can think of that are really popular and even those became extremely arcadish for the most part (nsf, burnout, etc..)
so datonkallandor is quite right when he says that the sim-market is a niche...