Today pilots, aviation enthusiasts, simmers, and explorers can take to the skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator, now available on Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta), Windows 10 PC, and Steam. In celebration of the return of the beloved franchise, all players will be able to claim a free “Aviators Club” livery set as a special thank you for being one of the first to take flight from next week through September 30, 2020. The livery set will be available starting next week for this limited time in the in-sim marketplace and includes Microsoft Flight Simulator-inspired liveries for all aircraft available in the Standard, Deluxe, and Premium Deluxe Editions.
It’s an exciting day for everyone at Asobo Studio and Microsoft. 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 (as mentioned in Protocol).
Sharing on behalf of the entire crew at Microsoft and Asobo Studio, it has been an amazing and humbling experience to add to the legacy of Microsoft’s longest running product franchise with Microsoft Flight Simulator. Almost everyone on the team has a personal story or connection to flight simulation, but hearing from numerous pilots, engineers and simulation fans about the impact the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise made in their lives has been incredibly inspiring.
It was immediately apparent that while we all share the same love for aviation and aircraft, the vast wealth of knowledge and experience from the community was going to be critical to success. We made it our mission from day one to gather feedback from the various aviation and simulation communities, and to do our best to learn from the past. We read thousands of threads on the various message boards, worked directly with pilots and engineers from different aircraft manufacturers, and created an alpha program to get direct input from fans.
What impressed us the most was how this community continued to grow and thrive in the absence of updated software. The community rallied together to continue development and support for Microsoft Flight Simulator, and created a robust ecosystem for additional aircraft, airports, sceneries, and features. From free mods, to career modes, to incredibly complex “study level” aircraft, it was clear that we needed to support the community’s passion for creating, building and modding. From the very beginning, we treated the new Microsoft Flight Simulator as a platform, and not just as a product. We worked directly with hundreds of third party developers to ensure the SDK, which is available to everyone for free at launch, has the features and tools needed to continue to deliver amazing addons, and we will continue this partnership well into the future.
In addition to all of the insightful feedback we received, we also wanted to add our own mark on the franchise. We wanted to make a fundamental leap forward in the genre and redefine what it means to be Flight Simulator. We had access to amazing technology and vast data in Azure and Bing Maps, and it showed us that for the first time, the entire world could be flyable in VFR (visual flight rules) in a simulator. Having the entire world in 3D was only the first step, and so a fully redesigned weather and lighting system was needed to truly simulate the world. With all of this terrain and weather data, we can accurately simulate the forces that would impact an aircraft in flight, so we created an all new, fully redesigned aerodynamics model for our aircraft to take advantage of that data.
These three key areas (world, weather and aerodynamics) created the foundation for Microsoft Flight Simulator’s platform. We’ve added 30 diverse aircraft (in the Premium Deluxe Edition) ranging from single engine piston aircraft, to long range turbo props, business jets and airliners. We’ve created a multiplayer system that allows friends from all over the world to fly together. We’ve made improvements to almost every system in Microsoft Flight Simulator and have plans to continue to expand and enhance the sim post launch (VR coming later this year, for example). We see this as just the first step in a larger journey, and with the community’s help, we’ll continue to grow Microsoft Flight Simulator for years to come.
This is just the beginning. We will continue to update our development roadmap with simulator updates including free world updates, themed DLC bundles, VR and more including all the great content that 3rd party developers have begun to announce will be coming to Microsoft Flight Simulator.
We built a sim for simmers, but the invitation is here for anyone who’s ever dreamt of flying, exploring the world, or visiting your favorite destinations. We’ll see you at 30,000 feet.