The Microsoft Flight Simulator series has been on hiatus for fourteen years (if you don’t count a steam rerelease in 2014). Today the launch date for the long-awaited return of the series was announced.
Since its surprise reveal at E3 2019, Microsoft has been fairly quiet about the new Flight Simulator. This is understandable given the company is about to launch a new console and Flight Simulator is exclusively a PC title. The game will be available on August 18th in three versions. There will be a Standard Edition for $60, a Deluxe Edition for $90, and a Premium Edition for $120. Each step up on the ladder of editions gives access to more planes and airports than the Standard Edition’s twenty planes and thirty airports. There is also a Beta currently running for Flight Simulator which is open to Xbox Game Pass subscribers.
The new Flight Simulator is shaping up to be a return to the classic formula in all its excessively detailed glory. According to the game’s marketing, “Travel the world in amazing detail with over 2 million cities, 1.5 billion buildings, real mountains, roads, trees, rivers, animals, traffic, and more.” The game will also allow players to download real-time weather data for a given location, making it even more realistic.
There was a time when Flight Simulator was practically a must-have PC gaming staple. The main reason some people kept a flight stick in their PC setups was this series of games. Since 2006’s Flight Simulator X, though Microsoft’s strategy for the gaming business has gone through several different iterations. Catering to PC players was not really a priority in any of those various strategies. Now that Microsoft has remembered that the vast majority of PC owners run their OS and it gives them a captive audience. An audience for games and subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.
Time to dig that HOTAS setup out of the closet.