Microsoft Flight Simulator Launches August 18 on PC

Posted on July 13, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in PC gaming, Xbox with 30 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it will launch Flight Simulator on August 18 for PC and on Xbox Game Pass for PC. Gamers can preorder the title now on Windows 10 or pre-install the game via Xbox Game Pass.

“We have been thrilled and humbled by the support and dedication that has fueled the Flight Sim community for the past 38 years,” Microsoft’s Jorg Neumann writes. “Since the launch of the very first Microsoft Flight Simulator in 1982, we knew it was finally the right time to develop the next-generation version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. We have the right tools, technology, partners, and hardware to release the most realistic and authentic flight simulator to date.”

The new Flight Simulator includes a vast and beautiful world with more than 1.5 billion buildings and 2 trillion trees, mountains, roads, rivers, and more; live traffic, real-time weather and animals; highly detailed and accurate cockpits with realistic instrumentation; an interactive and highlighted instrument guidance and checklist; dynamic weather; day and night flights at any time of day or year; and a new state-of-the-art physics engine with over 1,000 control surfaces per plane allows for a truly realistic experience.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is available in three editions:

Microsoft Flight Simulator Standard Edition costs $59.99 and includes 20 highly detailed planes with unique flight models and 30 hand-crafted airports. This is the version that is available via Game Pass.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Deluxe Edition costs $89.99 and includes everything from Standard Edition plus five additional highly accurate planes with unique flight models and five additional handcrafted international airports.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Premium Deluxe Edition costs $119.99 and includes everything from Standard Edition plus 10 additional highly accurate planes with unique flight models and 10 additional handcrafted international airports.

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Comments (32)

32 responses to “Microsoft Flight Simulator Launches August 18 on PC”

  1. geekwithkids

    Do you know what version Game Pass subscribers will get?



  2. winner

    So this doesn't need a subscription for anything on the PC?

    An early article I read a few months ago seemed to imply that you would need a subscription to use this product.

  3. SvenJ

    Wondering if you buy the Standard Edition of there is some upgrade path to the other two.

  4. red.radar

    Exciting product release.


    I wonder if they will consider updating Combat Flight Simulator. A lot of really neat aviation history to pursue/investigate with this technology.




  5. chronocidal

    With that price for the premium edition, and no mention of an SDK, I wonder what third-party developers will wind up having to purchase.


    That is.. if they even allow it. I almost can't imagine them not allowing user-generated content, because the Flight Simulator franchise has frankly been kept aloft nearly entirely via the efforts of third-party developers over the years... but the asterisks about offering more scenery and aircraft in the future give me pause.


    They tried that before with "Flight"... and while I can't really say from experience how well that went, I don't recall anyone saying anything good about it.

    • poppapete

      SDK already available and many 3rd party developers on board


      • chronocidal

        In reply to Poppapete:

        I was looking into that, and my main concern is more about how they define them as "Microsoft's third party development partners." I don't see any simple "the SDK will be available to download" announcements yet, but it is obviously still over a month away, so I hope that changes.


        I wouldn't actually expect the full SDK to be available for free, since they only included it with the deluxe edition in FSX, but given how they're going to have to use some kind of storefront for distribution of content to the Xbox, I'm -slightly- concerned that developing third-party content is going to take some sort of monetization and distribution format that will hamper the efforts of people who just want to make fun freeware content.


        I'm hoping all my suspicions are misplaced, and we can quickly see lots of freeware developers churning out whatever silly mod they want to make, but either way, I suspect the content available for the Xbox version will be much more limited.

  6. kshsystems

    All the press i have read, talks about flight simulator for the PC. what is the expectation for XBOX?

    • Vladimir Carli

      In reply to kshsystems:


      i wonder how they will implement such a complex simulation on Xbox. A full keyboard is not enough for the amount of controls. How will that work with a controller?

    • PhilipVasta

      In reply to kshsystems:

      That's my question also. Even if the release is set to be later, as it clearly is, I'm curious as to why they didn't give some rough timeline for it.

      • poppapete

        Already been announced by MS that it will come to xbox but not at first release date.


      • chronocidal

        In reply to PhilipVasta:

        Even releasing later, my question is more about why they are so dedicated to implementing this on the Xbox at all. Any extra requirements on third-party developers to make content compatible with the Xbox could potentially limit what that community gets to enjoy, versus the way development has historically worked on the PC.


        Maybe future flight simulator peripherals will be available to use on it? Everything is USB, but higher end flight sim hardware has traditionally been PC-only.


        What does occur to me though is that the Xbox implementation is already hampering the PC version. If they didn't have to develop for the Xbox, I can't imagine they would have built it without Windows Mixed Reality/VR integration from the ground up. If they want to compete with X-Plane, that is going to be an absolute necessity, and the lack of it at launch is pretty disappointing.

  7. sevenacids

    Kudos for this... to Asobo Studio. I don't think it's possible for Microsoft to make a high-quality product like this on their own, and when I look at Windows these days, I'm thankful they didn't attempt to.

  8. bluvg

    The graphics look absolutely stunning. Seems like a true labor of love for those involved.

  9. brothernod

    Will this be the first Microsoft 1st party title that does not come completely to Game Pass? Is this a concerning change that may speak to the future of Game Pass?

  10. hack-o-holic

    So let me get this straight. Every airport in the world completely digitized but I only get limited number depending on price? They going to squeeze us with practically unlimited paid for DLC to get any more?

    • miketheheadski

      In reply to hack-o-holic:

      I have been following this for a while. As skyhisi said, there are 37,000 airports. The ones they are mentioning in price levels are carefully hand crafted for real-world realism. They look amazing! However, even the auto generated airports are very accurate to real-life and look great too.

    • skyhisi

      In reply to hack-o-holic:

      It looks like there are lots of standard airports, the FAQ says:

      Q: What airports come fully hand-crafted for each edition?

      A: The following is a list of customized, hand-crafted airports that come with each edition below. There will be over 37,000 airports in the sim.

  11. Vladimir Carli

    Does anyone know if it will support WMR?

  12. miketheheadski

    Thanks for the update. I do have a question you might be able to help me with...Do we know if this requires Xbox Game Pass for full functionality (Like multi-player experience) or will this be a stand alone sim?

  13. robincapper

    Although perhaps not the prime motivation this is a stunning demo for Azure. Serving two terabytes of info seems a pretty impressive thing for 'a game'

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