It is sad that we are having to write to you now that our business has permanently closed. However, we as ex directors of VEAO feel that you, our customers, are entitled to a full and frank explanation of at least our side of events.
Early in November 2018 we were contacted by Eagle Dynamics offering us a new contract in retrospective agreement for our Hawk module. This agreement varied significantly from our original publishing agreement signed many years ago. Now while we expect and agree that contracts are subject to change and variation, especially in the technology and software industry, this should not be implemented unilaterally. The new contract included several clauses that we as a British business simply could not legally or morally consider.
Clauses included terms to place our IP into escrow outside of our control at a mandated agent, penalties for bug fixing where the error is solely within the control of ED. An example being 4 bugs that we reported with ED in 2014 that are still unanswered or fixed, these would incur financial penalties to us as a business where we are unable to remedy the issue. This is obviously unfair and impractical.
We raised our concerns with ED directly and via the directors of the business, these concerns were met with rebuttal as we were advised that the contract was mandated and non-negotiable, as a result we are unable to sign the agreement. ED’s response to this was simply “we wish you well in the future” but that they could not do business with us going forwards without us signing this retrospective and punitive agreement for Hawk. This included a refusal to renew the standing agreement we had with ED for the P-40F.
Our existing agreement makes no provisions for IP transfer or ownership in the event of company failure, as such we will not be making assets or code available for the Hawk, either to ED or the community.
While ED maintained that we could continue publishing Hawk under our current agreement, we as a business are unable to maintain a product / support line for a simulator where there is zero potential for growth so under these circumstances the decision was made that we would close VEAO Simulations and walk away from DCS.
Contrary to popular belief the last communication we had from Eagle Dynamics happened on the 27th of November, a mere 2 days after our decision to withdraw from DCS. No further contact was received from ED after this date.
Some 3rd parties have agreed to the new conditions and we both sincerely wish them well, some were bullied because of liabilities that they have and financial investments they must recoup. We had no such obligation as we were entirely self-funded, while we are no longer involved with DCS World we wish them all well in the future.
A major stumbling block for any DCS world development is the lack of documentation and assistance for the platform. Some people may criticise us for the slow response to critical software issues and bugs. Often we had to find a solution for these with little to no assistance from ED, despite them claiming 35% of the gross revenue for each sale.
It is our belief, that if more support was provided to 3rd parties that critical bugs would be resolved faster, damage model implementation would work as intended and release timelines would be considerably shorter.
ED even admitted in a 3rd party developer meeting that their SDK documentation is almost non-existant and in fact Chris from VEAO produced development guides that are still part of the SDK today. There is a reason that most 3rd parties have now undertaken to work outside of the DCS world simulation, to calculate results required for their aircraft…
While this news is never welcome, we invested heavily with both financial and personal sacrifice to work on DCS world. This led to many sleepless nights and countless unpaid hours to try and resolve and improve our product.
We would also like to remind the community that while Hawk was our only released publicly available product, we undertook many corporate and military projects and over 30 contractors are now out of work based on this decision, as the refusal to allow us access to DCS World was universal and not limited to our consumer works.
This decision came at a critical time for us as we were on the verge of signing a new agreement with outsider investors for over £100,000 of investment to recruit a full-time studio to work solely on consumer products for DCS world.
Finally, I would ask that you remember that the VEAO family worked on DCS as a love for the subject matter and the product, every one of our guys and gals worked on DCS world for the love of it and came from within the community. Each and every one of us were heavily invested emotionally and with passion for the DCS community and we are all devastated to be leaving under such circumstances.
We wish you all well in the future, The VEAO team.