Microsoft Flight Simulator is back. What now?

Microsoft dropped a bomb yesterday at E3 as they announced the development (and 2020 release) of a new chapter for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

In case you missed it, you can check the official trailer down below. But yes, Microsoft is releasing a new Flight Simulator, next year.

What we know so far

Well, we don’t really know much.

It looks like the development team has been working on it for the past 5 years (and managed to keep it all a huge secret). The graphics engine seems to have been completely revamped and/or a whole new one. We know Microsoft is using their own cloud computing platform, Azure, more specifically Azure AI but they didn’t get into any more details about it. Could it be to clean up some of the satellite imagery we see in the trailer, for example?

Speaking of satellite imagery, it seems like the scenery is something that Microsoft is working to do a bit different using some sort of “streaming” technology (again, using Azure), which kinda gets me worried. What if we need to play offline or have a slow internet connection? How will that work.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is slated for release on 2020, for PC. Now, I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about it being a console game, because it’s being marketed as “Xbox”. Keep in mind, though: Xbox is Microsoft’s brand for all their gaming stuff. They were very clear about this: it IS a PC release.

But you will need an Xbox subscription: the Xbox game pass. And that, right there, is a major turn off for me. Very honestly, I don’t see myself paying a subscription for a sim. If this is a subscription-only deal, it will not offer me any advantages as I have zero interest for the other titles included in the Xbox pass. My only interest would be Flight Simulator (if it’s being done right). I rather just pay for the sim.

What we don’t know

We don’t know anything else, really!

Will it be an actual complex sim just like the good old FSX? Will be it be easily moddable (which was what made FSX so much of a success in the first place)?

Will it be THE successor of FSX and just push the boundaries of what we know? Just look at the world on the trailer. That’s what we have all been dreaming of for years. Are we getting a good sim with that looks or just a pretty flying game?

What is it included? Are there helicopters (yes, the question had to be obviously asked)? And, if so, are they being finally properly modeled? Hey, Microsoft, here’s my email address: [email protected]. Get in touch and let’s get helicopters done properly, shall we?

We don’t know the answer to any of these and many more important questions.

But I am hoping that Microsoft is doing it the right way and that Flight Simulator will be the return of an amazing product.

Why did Microsoft come back to flight simulation?

Microsoft sold the professional license to Lockheed Martin. They sold the consumer market license to Dovetail Games.

And now they just drop this news on our heads. Weird fact: they did it at E3, instead of FlightSimExpo, which is THE place to present this kind of stuff. They preferred to do it on a gaming convention and a lot of the folks at FSE yesterday were very concerned about it. Should we all be concerned as well? I hope not.

So, what now?

Not much. We’ll have to wait and see.

I hope Microsoft is really paving away for the actual next-generation flight simulator. And I hope they are planning on getting in touch with the community and do this with all of us. If there’s anyone out there that want a great new sim to enter the market and revolutionize it, it’s us.

Until we get more information from official sources, though, we can’t do anything else expect wait and see.

There are a lot of doubts and questions right now. More questions than, answers, really, so we will need to see what’s coming.

Sérgio Costa

About Sérgio Costa

Sérgio has been a flight simulation enthusiast for nearly 25 years. His passion with helicopters developed during MSFS 2000 when he discovered the complexity of these aircraft and the challenge it was to control them. Since then he has been primarily a helicopter flight simmer, trying his best not to crash and kill all his virtual passengers. Sérgio is HeliSimmer's editor and writer and one of the Three Grumpy Simmers, a YouTube series and Podcast produced together with YouTubers Bel Geode and NovaWing24, obviously dedicated to flight simulation.

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