Microsoft Flight Simulator: Steam, VR, helicopters and continuous updates

Among other pieces of information that came out, there are a few that I thought are especially mentioning. In particular helicopters, obviously, and something that seems to not be getting enough attention: updates.

Microsoft Flight Simulator enters the closed beta stage today and is scheduled for release on August 18th. You probably already heard about it several times before and today, as the information embargo for media outlets is lifted, a lot of websites out there will release a world of information.

If you want to get all the other details, I recommend you visit our friends over at FSElite as they have published all the information Microsoft sent us.

I will only cover the points that I think are most important to our community and that includes, of course, helicopters.

Let’s start there.

Helicopters

Like I already mentioned before, there are plans for helicopters further down the road. As the release is nearing, I asked Microsoft to go on record about this and I managed to get a quote from Jorg Neumann, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator:

Helicopters are certainly an important aircraft type and one of the top 10 features requested by our fans, but we need to invest sufficient time and ensure that our helicopter flight model is great to achieve the quality we aspire to and that the fans deserve. Given that, helicopters are certainly on our roadmap, but we will take as much time as it takes to make sure when we launch helicopters, they are truly a great experience.

On a presentation to the media, Jorg also said the following:

It’s just a question of when. As a principle, from the get-go we said ‘if we do something, we’ll do it right’. When you […] for example think about helicopters you can’t just do helicopters, you also need to do all the heliports and you need to get the helicopter flight physics just right. That’s a large research effort […] by itself

It doesn’t get more official than this. Helicopters are in the roadmap and Microsoft wants to dedicate as much time as necessary to get things done the right way.

There was something else that caught my attention on the presentation we had but that Microsoft didn't confirm though: a paid DLC. Will we have to pay extra to get helicopters? That wasn't clear at all.

Virtual Reality

VR is in. Well, it will be, in an update this fall.

Microsoft confirmed that VR will be a reality through the HP Reverb G2 Headset but they plan on adding support for other headsets as well. As with everything in this sim: this is just starting – as you’ll be able to see at the end of this article.

Microsoft Flight Simulator on Steam

A lot of you were asking about Steam support. And here you have it: you can preorder Microsoft Flight Simulator on Steam starting today!

Microsoft once again shows that they are listening to the community and providing us with alternatives.

Continuous updates

Finally, I would like to mention something that Microsoft has confirmed as well, which I think is one of the most important topics of all the information Microsoft sent us, media outlets.

Like I have said before, Microsoft has a 10-year plan for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This is a not a 2-year-cycle product that is being planned to be replaced by another version soon.

If you watch closely, you’ll notice that the name of the sim is “Microsoft Flight Simulator”. There’s no 2020 there or anywhere else. No year, no version number, nothing. It’s simply that.

When I first saw the name, back in June 2019 (when the sim was announced), this got me wondering and I suspected something down the lines of what Microsoft is doing.

This is somewhat of the “ultimate version” of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Microsoft is releasing the product as a platform that they intent to keep on updating and improving over the following years.

Microsoft confirmed that they plan on releasing updates, improvements and DLCs over time. In fact, they said that they can redo the whole world in just a few weeks using Azure and that’s what they will be doing.

As Bing gets new data from all the satellites, aircraft and other pieces of technology around the world, they will feed that data into Microsoft Flight Simulator every few months.

They will also work on new features and improvements over time, making it a living, breathing product that will be continuously pushed out for our enjoyment.

If you remember this article we published a couple of weeks ago, I said that Microsoft was just starting. Well, the company has just confirmed that, and we can expect Microsoft Flight Simulator to grow, expand and improve over the next few years.

We’re in for quite a ride.

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.com'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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