Microsoft Flight Simulator is Now Available

Posted on August 18, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Xbox, PC gaming with 14 Comments

Today’s the day! Microsoft’s new Flight Simulator is available on Windows 10 via Xbox Game Pass for PC, the Microsoft Store, and Steam.

“It’s an exciting day for everyone at Asobo Studio and Microsoft,” Microsoft’s Jorg Neumann announced. “This all began as a demo of Machu Picchu in augmented reality for the Microsoft HoloLens and now we’re here, re-launching the franchise after 38 years. The dream to make another Microsoft Flight Simulator has always been alive, but what we really needed was the right combination of elements—a convergence of our collaboration with Azure AI’s cloud technology and Bing Maps to stream more than 2PB of data and—to be able to reach a new level of realism, accuracy[,] and authenticity.”

In celebration of the launch, all players can claim a free “Aviators Club” livery set from Wednesday, August 19 through September 30, 2020 in the in-sim marketplace. The set includes Microsoft Flight Simulator-inspired liveries for all of the aircraft available in the Standard, Deluxe, and Premium Deluxe Editions of the game.

You can learn more about Microsoft Flight Simulator at the Xbox website. The Standard Edition comes with Xbox Game Pass for PC (or Ultimate) or can be purchased for $59.99. The Deluxe Edition is $89.99, and the Premium Deluxe Edition is $119.99.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Microsoft Flight Simulator is Now Available”

  1. ShaneR


    I was heavily into Flight Simulator for many, many years. Gave up on it as it became more about searching for the best set up to get smooth performance from finicky software rather than just flying.

    But, as a pilot who can't fly anymore, I'm tempted by this. I just don't want to fall down the "gotta upgrade my hardware" rabbit hole again.

    • chrisltd

      In reply to ShaneR:

      Seems like FlightSim would be a good candidate for XCloud gaming at some point. I wonder if it will work with GeForce Now?

      • ShaneR

        In reply to chrisltd:

        Really have no idea. The current state of gaming and associated tech ain't my area of expertise any longer. :)

      • Vladimir Carli

        In reply to chrisltd:

        no title from Microsoft studios works with Geforce Now. It's very unlikely that this will be different. It may work on xcloud one day but I wonder how they will deal with flight gear, which is almost a necessity if one wants to have an immersive experience. You can't fly a plane with an xbox controller

    • jdjan

      In reply to ShaneR:

      Do what I did. Try it out with GamePass for $1. I have a 4-year old PC that just about copes with it. It's not buttery smooth, but it is still a wonderful experience.

      • ShaneR

        In reply to jdjan:

        I'm sure I'll give in at some point, but anything less than "buttery smooth" and I won't be happy. And if I'm not happy, I'll go all crazy stubborn and upgrade my otherwise perfectly good system....and then it begins all over again. lol

        I'll probably wait for a few months or so, anyway. Reading some mixed messages on the FS forums I used to frequent. FSX had a rough release as well and took some time for it to become stable/usable for a hardcore simmer.

        • Vladimir Carli

          In reply to ShaneR:

          what computer do you have? I am using a custom built i9-9900k with 32GB of RAM and an nvidia GTX1080ti. On ultra settings, 1440pi is smooth but not "buttery" smooth. The big problem for hard core simmers is that addons, especially additional airplanes are not available yet. The scenery is pretty amazing, definitively superior to any other flight simulator. The weather is good but I expected better. However, the included aircraft are very basic for an expert simmer. So I still prefer to use xplane and fsx. We shall see what happens but we need at least a year to see what will be the third party development scenario.

          If you want to try it out, just get one month of gamepass

  2. rbwatson0

    So much for "pre-install". Been trying since 8:30am to download all the extra required files. 5 hours later I'm only at 32 GB of 91GB total. Microsoft is really having issues delivering software lately...

  3. bleeman

    My download appears to have worked but I can't run the game. Keep getting a, "...The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect." error <sigh>. What a joke! This is the "new" Microsoft. If we can find a way to irritate you we will.

  4. Jim Lewis

    Yes, both the download of FS 2020 and the forums. flightsimulator. com community site were hammered by lots of users in the early morning hours of August 18th. And a number of people were having trouble with the install. I had problems because being ignorant of Xbox games, I had tried the pre-install of the Xbox Game for PC(beta) standard version and had the pre-order of the Premium Deluxe version stub, both still on my computer. Once I uninstalled the pre-install Xbox Game Pass ghost and went to the Microsoft Store, I was offered the choice of disk on which to install the Premium Deluxe (I'd already set the install of new apps to a non-system disk in Win10 settings). After successfully installing the basic real stub of the sim along with the digital ownership, when you try to launch the game, you're told that you need an "update" - actually 95 further Gb of the real sim packages. I was most successful at doing the "update" after rebooting the computer and "playing" the sim by picking Run As Administrator when I launched it. The stupid thing was that even after having installed the initial sim/game stub to my non-system G: NVMe SSD, the "update" was asking to be installed to my C: system drive appdata local location. I just changed the location to the G: drive G:\\WpSystem\\S-(my system ID)\\AppData\\Local\\Packages folder. After a crash or two (perhaps because of server load) and relaunching each time with the Run As Admin option in Windows, the game was fully installed, including Premium Deluxe content (there is a content manager in FS to show you what you have installed). Then I could launch FS 2020 just as a regular user without invoking Run As Admin (which might have just been my Linus security blanket).

    Because I don't have a 4K monitor, I think, the game recommended that I only use only high-res screen and performance settings, not the ULTRA settings. The HIGH res settings are pretty good but didn't knock my socks off. Switching everything to ULTRA and 200 instead of 100 slider points in the settings options did knock my socks off! Wow! Not only are the details great but the lighting effects are awesome. But perhaps because of the combination of the design of my Dell XPS 8930 Special Edition case plus the NVIDIA running hot GeForce RTX 2070 Super design, the card was quickly over 180 deg F (the house was 81 deg F). So to spare the graphics card, I don't think that I'll be running at the ULTRA resolution until the house temperature drops into the 60's and 70's during the fall and colder winter months of the year! I understand that opening the case of a computer can actually disturb intended patterns of airflow and make components hotter rather than cooler, so I don't think that I'll be trying opening my computer case up.

    The other thing I've found is that looking around inside and outside the plane with keyboard or mouse is definitely a distraction from using your hands to otherwise fly the plane (and I have to zoom in quite a bit to effectively view instrument panels with my old eyes). So someday when there is a VR headset good enough to support 4K (or higher!) ULTRA resolution and performance, I'll definitely want a VR headset so I can look anywhere I want while I'm still doing whatever is needed with the plane controls that I have.

  5. robincapper

    It's a fantastic implementation demo for AI and big data processing, and fun too. Have been astonished how well some very remote parts of the world (Himalaya, Antarctica & South Island NZ) I have visited are rendered by autogen + map data. The photometric stuff is incredible.