Flight Simulator is Biggest Xbox Game Pass for PC Launch Ever

Microsoft Flight Simulator has, um, really taken off: It’s the biggest-ever Xbox Game Pass for PC launch with over one million players to date, Microsoft says.

“Microsoft Flight Simulator has a rich history as Microsoft’s longest-running franchise, and we are proud to announce we are celebrating the simulator’s biggest launch in 38 years,” Microsoft’s Jorg Neumann writes. “Just over two weeks ago, Microsoft Flight Simulator launched. Thanks to the incredible support of our community of fans, pilots, flight enthusiasts[,] and virtual travelers, we have had more than one million unique players take to the skies. Additionally, Microsoft Flight Simulator was the biggest game launch in Xbox Game Pass for PC history.”

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday — and get free copies of Paul Thurrott's Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (normally $9.99) as a special welcome gift!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Granted, that’s not a long history: Xbox Game Pass for PC is still in beta and only launched a bit over a year ago, in June 2019.

But whatever, it’s still a nice success story, and Microsoft adds that gamers have flown over 26 million flights and logged more than one billion miles flown to date, the equivalent of flying around the world over 40 thousand times.

Tagged with

Share post

Please check our Community Guidelines before commenting

Conversation 25 comments

  • martinusv2

    Premium Member
    03 September, 2020 - 11:08 am

    <p>For a PC game, 1 million players is a success indeed.</p>

  • duncanator

    03 September, 2020 - 11:10 am

    <p>It's been fun to fly using the training flights but now that they've been completed, there's a huge gap to go from those to just flying somewhere. If you're not a pilot, it's really difficult. Still, it's a lot of fun.</p>

    • Vladimir Carli

      Premium Member
      03 September, 2020 - 1:02 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#567094"><em>In reply to duncanator</em></a></blockquote><blockquote><br></blockquote><blockquote><em>its not that difficult. One needs to study a bit. It works only if you are really interested because it entails quite a bit of looking around and reading</em></blockquote>

  • pauldain

    Premium Member
    03 September, 2020 - 12:18 pm

    <p>Any scuttlebutt on what the actual Xbox version will be like? I'm only using Windows 10 in a Parallels VM, but have been very tempted to get a capable PC exclusively for MFS. However, if the Xbox version is genuinely on the horizon I may wait.</p>

  • Vladimir Carli

    Premium Member
    03 September, 2020 - 1:00 pm

    <p>The main problem on Xbox is the controls. It becomes more an arcade game</p>

    • SvenJ

      03 September, 2020 - 3:03 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#567162"><em>In reply to Vladimir:</em></a><em> </em>You don't think there are flight controls for XBox, or there won't be more?</blockquote><p><br></p>

    • Vladimir Carli

      Premium Member
      03 September, 2020 - 3:48 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#567162">In reply to Vladimir:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>i dont know if there are flight controls for Xbox. I guess there is some joystick available. But that’s not the point. The problem is that the number of required buttons is way over a controller or a joystick. To use all functions you need a keyboard or a mouse. How are they going to implement that on Xbox?</p>

    • paulkocz

      Premium Member
      03 September, 2020 - 7:21 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#567162">In reply to Vladimir:</a></em></blockquote><p>Thrustmaster make these: <a href="https://www.thrustmaster.com/en_US/products/tflight-hotas-one&quot; target="_blank">https://www.thrustmaster.com/en_US/products/tflight-hotas-one</a></p><p><br></p><p>I have one which I use on PC and XBox One X. Great device – reasonably priced. There is more coming as well.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      04 September, 2020 - 9:05 am

      That sounds like an advantage, not a problem. 🙂

      • Vladimir Carli

        Premium Member
        04 September, 2020 - 9:52 am

        <p>It depends a bit how one wants to play. The arcade part is to fly around and watch the scenery. That's amazing in the beginning but I believe it becomes much less interesting over time. What gives the depth to the game is the simulation part and that's going to be though on xbox. How are you going to tune a radio or program the flight management computer? With a controller one will encounter the same issues that you have when you have to type in username and passoword with a controller. Mouse and keyboard becomes essential</p>

        • Paul Thurrott

          Premium Member
          05 September, 2020 - 9:44 am

          I can’t argue with making the game more approachable. If you want that level of realism, the controllers exist or, for console, soon will.

  • xapache

    03 September, 2020 - 2:28 pm

    <p>It is a fun sim that I missed flying with from the years gone by. Wondering if they are going to add helicopters….Since I'm a helicopter pilot.</p><p><br></p><p>Also, the initial install was a terrible experience that took far too long which I had to repeat twice before I got it successfully installed. I'm sure my ISP appreciated the gb of data I downloaded.</p><p><br></p><p>Other than that gripe I like it.</p>

    • sydney2k

      04 September, 2020 - 12:08 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#567177">In reply to xapache:</a></em></blockquote><p>Helicopters are coming up soon on the roadmap.</p><p><br></p><p>Also the first patch has just been uploaded, and that should alleviate most if not all of the issues people had with downloading the game- so give it another spin.</p>

      • wp7mango

        04 September, 2020 - 5:24 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#567365">In reply to sydney2k:</a></em></blockquote><p>Are they going to add hot air balloons and airships? I would love to explore this virtual world in a balloon. </p>

    • Jim Lewis

      04 September, 2020 - 10:51 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#567177">In reply to xapache:</a></em></blockquote><p>Besides helicopters, hot air balloons and gliders have also been requested. They have an MSFS forum category called "Wishlist" and people who participate in the forum can upvote features they most want but it's a long and winding road …. They have to take care of the weather. At a number of places in the world it's always blowing from 225 degrees @ 3 knots right now! – in spite of the world weather data provider saying everything's OK on their end going into the pipeline. And some places in the world have too many trees, others too few or trees only pop into detail at a reasonable height when you get close. But a reasonably small number of gotcha's aside, it's incredible.</p>

  • Scott Ross

    03 September, 2020 - 3:02 pm

    <p>Yup I am one of the many who downloaded it with game pass. Still trying to get the sim to work with my Logitech G29 set up I do not want to buy any flight sticks or controls</p>

    • Vladimir Carli

      Premium Member
      03 September, 2020 - 3:49 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#567182">In reply to SRRLX1986:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>you want to use a racing wheel for an aircraft? Lol</p>

  • proftheory

    Premium Member
    03 September, 2020 - 3:45 pm

    <p>So is Brad flying over "Tornado Alley" looking for storms?</p>

  • chrissickels

    03 September, 2020 - 4:08 pm

    <p>I also had install issues and issues where I need to reboot my system before i start playing but besides that I love it!!!</p>

  • MutualCore

    03 September, 2020 - 6:45 pm

    <p>This really should be a launch title for XBox Series X.</p>

  • red.radar

    Premium Member
    03 September, 2020 - 7:06 pm

    <p>A title worthy of building a halo computer to enjoy. </p>

  • Jim Lewis

    03 September, 2020 - 8:06 pm

    <p><em>Quote from Vladmir's post</em>:</p><p>"i dont know if there are flight controls for Xbox. I guess there is some joystick available. But that’s not the point. The problem is that the number of required buttons is way over a controller or a joystick. To use all functions you need a keyboard or a mouse. How are they going to implement that on Xbox?"</p><p><br></p><p>The function of the Xbox controls in the sim changes depending on what you're doing, i.e. flying from the cockpit vs. using a camera, like the drone camera in the external view, etc. And whether an Xbox controller is sufficient also depends on what you want to do. There is in-sim "AI" – if you fly in the EASY (beginner's mode), many flight functions are taken care of automatically for you, e.g., your wings never ice up so you don't need to use deicing, etc. If you just want to go for sight-seeing joy rides, you might get by with an Xbox controller. If you want to pretend to be a real airline pilot and start "cold and dark," you might need a lot more "stuff." So I think that's the amazing thing beyond the success of the sim itself. If you check on Amazon or elsewhere, many different types of flight controllers are sold out and then quickly bought out again as soon as they're restocked. It's going to be a bonanza for flight sim add ons, too. My Thrustmaster TFRP rudders pedals are on their way now, my old analog CH FlightStick from the early '90's has been resurrected with a $25 Rockfire USB game port, and when they're back in stock, a Honeycomb yoke and separate throttle quadrant will be heading my way, too. So for a $120 simulation (the Premium Deluxe version), I'll probably lay out close to $1K in simulator hardware (tempted to get a 4K monitor, too). But if you want, you can just get by with mouse and keyboard or with an Xbox controller. It definitely helps to pay attention to the hardware requirements to run the game at various performance levels. A lot of users who are complaining about the sim performance are trying to make do with inadequate RAM and VRAM in older computers with older graphics cards.</p><p><br></p><p>The coolest use of the Xbox controller is if you're not up to squandering a fortune on hardware and just want to have fun, you can use the mouse and keyboard to fly and you can use your Xbox controller to control the external drone camera to get a bigger clearer view at different focal lengths thru the zoom function to enjoy what you're flying over.</p><p><br></p><p>Paul said on Windows Weekly that he intends to give the game a shot when VR is ready to play. To give it a fair review, I think he's going to need a pretty powerful computer. Nvidia just announced the RTX 30 series, which approximately doubles graphic performance at each card level so to have a truly immersive and powerful VR experience one might need a RTX 30 series card in a really powerful desktop computer. I don't think the usual type of laptop that Paul reviews is going to cut it for testing out whether something like the HP Reverb G2 really makes for a WOW! experience with the sim as the VR lives off the machine's graphics card. Maybe Paul should start building his own high-end PC from one of those suppliers who sells a plan and the parts to go with it? Then he can review the whole experience from start to finish.</p><p><br></p><p>P.S. I haven't tried it with an Xbox controller yet, but with just a mouse you can do a lot of stuff, e.g., change the view within the cockpit, zoom in or out on control panels, click and drag to push or twirl flight controls like the throttle or the control panel backlighting. So if there is a click-and-drag function for the Xbox controller in conjunction with your screen cursor, you can do "everything" in just the same way. Same goes for a VR headset. How can you control anything with that or adjust your controls (you can no longer see physical controls on the table in front of you!). One way is just to target stuff with your gaze and then control it in mousy fashion with your VR controllers. So before I buy a VR headset, I'll be looking forward to Paul's review and how well VR works to control his plane. I think he should report on trying to fly the Airbus A320 or the Boeing 747-8 or 787 with a VR headset!</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      04 September, 2020 - 8:45 am

      If I can, I will 🙂

  • mattbg

    Premium Member
    04 September, 2020 - 9:42 am

    <p>FS seems like the ideal product for xCloud, with it being a large game with a low frame rate. Not sure how you would play this with an XBox Controller, however.</p>

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott © 2024 Thurrott LLC