Over 2 Million People Have Played Microsoft Flight Simulator

Posted on December 17, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Games, PC gaming, Xbox with 22 Comments

The new Microsoft Flight Simulator is the fastest-growing entry in the series, Microsoft says, with over 2 million gamers since its launch four months ago.

“Microsoft Flight Simulator is Microsoft’s longest-running franchise with a history of 38 years, and we are proud to announce that the latest entry is the fastest to grow to over 2 million [gamers],” Microsoft’s Jorg Neumann announced. “This was possible thanks to the incredible community of fans, real-world pilots, flight enthusiasts, and virtual travelers who have embraced the new simulation since its arrival on August 18 and made it the biggest game launch in Xbox Game Pass for PC history.”

Microsoft shared a few other numbers that help explain the game’s success: Gamers have flown over 50 million virtual flights in the game since the launch, racking up over 3.5 billion virtual miles, the equivalent of 19 round trip flights from the earth to the sun. The most popular destination is New York City, and the most popular three airports are JFK, LAX, and Heathrow. And viewers have watched over 9.7 million hours of Flight Simulator gameplay on Twitch.

Microsoft hopes to expand on this momentum in 2021, when Flight Simulator launches on Xbox Series X|S in the summer, and it plans to add three “large updates” to the simulation, plus 4 or 5 additional World Updates and some other unnamed surprises.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Over 2 Million People Have Played Microsoft Flight Simulator”

  1. johnlavey

    I've had a casual but ongoing interest in Microsoft Flight Simulator since it first was released in 1982. Is the new version, with the advances in computing, that much better than Flight Simulator 1.0? And is it worth the cash outlay?

  2. vladimir

    They should add also the number of bugs in the slide. It's visually stunning and a real step forward in terms of visual fidelity. However, in the current state is more a demo than a simulation. You can fly a bit around to watch the scenery but as soon as you want to go a slight bit deeper into the simulation aspect it will crash or show very inconsistent behaviour

    • chronocidal

      In reply to Vladimir:

      Right now, there's very little actual flight being simulated, it's more of a scenery simulator. Don't get me wrong, the scenery is an amazing achievement, but the flight part just isn't up to par.


      Have a friend who streams lots of simulated flights, mostly airliners in X-Plane, and to say he is disappointed in MFS would be an incredible understatement. The sim is just lacking in some very basic functionality that will be hair-tearingly frustrating if you actually know anything about the aircraft you are flying.


      A short summary of the simulator would be that the quality of the simulation is directly proportional to the chance that you will ever personally own the aircraft you are flying.


      • vladimir

        In reply to chronocidal:


        I completely agree with your friend. I use flight simulators since the late eighties when I couldn’t enter flight schools due to myopia.

        MSFS is not a simulator. It has been released in an awful state. It is visually incredible but that’s it. If you look at the reviews now, after the initial hype, they are pretty bad and it is well deserved. I don’t know what they are thinking at Asobo because, instead of fixing it, they are releasing updates which add to the scenery but break even more functionality. For this reason third party developers are holding onto releasing add-ons that may improve the simulation part of it. Those that did have been severely punished because the updates break the third party products

  3. remc86007

    I hope they flesh out the game quite a bit. It's nowhere near feature parity with FSX

    • miketheheadski

      In reply to remc86007:

      It seems pretty clear that is where they are heading. The world environment is already light years ahead of FSX and even X-Plane. The flight dynamics are better than FSX as well. It will take some time before they are able to create an ecosystem that is on par with X-Plane and FSX but it appears they are committed to doing so.


      I am looking forward to having the G1000, G3000, and other instruments and procedures good enough to do real-world training with. If the FS team can do that in a reasonable time I think this will be the hands-down, go-to simulator. Right now, they are the scenery and world accuracy leaders (capable of true VFR) let's hope they become the flight training leaders as well. Great job, FS 2020!

    • illuminated

      In reply to remc86007:

      What features are missing in your opinion?


      • remc86007

        In reply to illuminated:

        Most of the stuff is related to flight planning and actual navigation in flight. I connect my iPad running Foreflight to the game which gives Foreflight the simulated GPS location and allows me to fly somewhat like I do in real life, but if I didn't have that, the lack of any real EFB features in game makes it impossible simulate cross-country real flying. I know they focused on making a beautiful sim capable of flying by pilotage, but barely anyone flies like that in reality. The total lack of information on the in-game "vfr map" is a great example of how barebones the game is right now. It's not even close to a real VFR sectional; you couldn't use such a basic map to actually navigate a real plane.


        Another basic thing that can't be done last time I checked is setting constant speed wind; it has a forced multiplier for gusts. Sometimes I want to practice cross-wind landings at 20kts, and I don't want a +-10kt gust destabilizing my approach every couple seconds.


        Maybe some of this stuff has improved since launch; admittedly I only played it for about 25 hours the month it released and then decided I'd wait for it to develop a bit. I've checked in every couple weeks since then, but haven't seen any huge improvements.

        • illuminated

          In reply to remc86007:

          No connection to EFB is a big thing. It should be quite easy for Microsoft to do add this support.


          In one of the demos I even saw that simulator could simulate icing effect in the clouds which is pretty impressive and maybe indicates that there is some intention to make this sim really useful .


          If somehow Microsoft could get Garmin on board and port the real G1000 emulator to the flight sim then it would be insanely great. That would be one level above any competition there is. I've seen so many crappy implementations over the years. So many hours wasted developing crappy imitations. It makes me sad.


        • vladimir

          In reply to remc86007:


          there is not even one instrument that returns a correct reading, any IFR procedure is completely wrong. The autopilot of each single plane often tries to kill you with no warning. Right now is just a visually satisfying way of flying over some landmarks

          • illuminated

            In reply to Vladimir:

            Everything is broken and nothing works. Are you saying that even airspeed indicators do not work?

            • vladimir

              In reply to illuminated:


              on some planes they actually aren't. One of the widely reported bugs are random stalls when airspeed is perfectly normal. Check the changelogs and the roadmap for future updates. There is a lot of stuff that doesn't work or is very poorly implemented.

              I repeat, the visuals and the scenery are stunning. The weather depiction is spectacular, unseen in any other simulator, even with costly addons. The problem is the stuff under the hood. Planes don't follow the route and procedures, a lot of systems are non functional, some planes are even missing fuel tanks. The autopilot goes nuts with incredible frequency.

              There are mods that fix some stuff and some of them are actually pretty great. What is maddening is that Asobo breaks everything with each update and this is preventing serious flight simulator developers, such as aerosoft, PDMG to release their products.

  4. duncanator

    I have played it through the training lessons but after that, you're kind of left out there with little additional training. I'd like to learn more and get more experience, but I guess short of becoming an actual pilot, it's kind of hard.

    • vladimir

      In reply to duncanator:


      it's hard because the behaviour of the planes is weird and inconsistent, so you never know if you are doing something wrong or you are encountering a bug. However, one of the merits of FS2020 is that it sparked a lot of interest around flight simulation in general. Therefore, there are plenty of communities, tutorials, streamers that can provide with a lot of support and teach you to become a flight simmer, without becoming a real pilot

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