The deskop simulation market can be divided into three basic sectors, as outlined below:
Training Sector- The largest customer base currently in this sector is the general aviation training facility (FBO) and private pilot. Both use desktop simulators to augment instrument training and to stay current. As the capabilities of the personal computer have made dramatic increases in computational and graphic performance over the past years, many corporate and airline training centers are now adopting desktop simulation to support their simulation requirements. This part of the desktop training market is now experiencing rapid growth and this will continue for the foreseeable future.
Enthusiast-Hobby Sector- These are the desktop simulation users who purchase the vast majority of flight sim add-on software products and control devices. It is estimated there are as many as 250,000 desktop simulation enthusiasts in world, with the majority being in Europe and North America. In many aspects the products available for this market segment exceed in scope and capability what is available for the desktop training sector. Most simulation hobbyists are deeply interested in all aspects of aviation and dedicate much of their leisure time to their hobby. Many are real pilots and the percentage of real pilots involved in this segment of the market is growing at a rapid pace.
Gaming Sector - This is by far the largest part of the desktop flight simulation market. The user who purchases flight simulation software as a gaming product is almost never a pilot and has little interest in learning the complexities of real-world aviation. This type of user normally considers the software as just another entertainment PC game.