Microsoft’s Flight Simulator revival operates as free-to-play.
Microsoft Flight, the latest entry from the popular and long-running Flight Simulator series for Windows, will feature a new free-to-play business model and Storefront to purchase your add-ons. Get it here!
This new release is not only the first Flight Simulator game in five years but also the first one in the series to adopt the free-to-play approach. Microsoft Flight will feature a store for purchasing and downloading extra content like new aircraft, regions, and customization options.
Microsoft’s immersive but complex Flight Simulator franchise, which has developed a dedicated following over the last 30 years, seemed in trouble when the publisher closed ACES Game Studio, its development house for the titles, in 2009 to “align [its] people against [its] highest priorities.”
The company announced Microsoft Flight last year, however, as an internally developed continuation of the series that takes place in Hawaii. It’s designed to be more approachable to novice players, and to introduce “a new perspective to the long-standing genre.”
“Aviation can be incredibly technical, but we’ve taken great care to build an experience that makes taking to the skies thrilling and accessible for everyone,” says Microsoft Flight’s executive producer Joshua Howard.
Along with its marketplace for buying additional content, Microsoft Flight features heavy integration for Games for Windows Live for updates (e.g. daily challenges), achievements, and playing with others.
Is Microsoft Flight as good as Microsoft Flight Simulator X?
Well, that depends on how you want to use it. If you want realism and choice of aircraft then the older FSX is probably going to please you the most. If you just want to have some fun and see how it all works then try the new version. Both will look similar graphically but this will depend on your system. Since FSX has been out longer there are allsorts of addons and extras to buy and download so it might be a better choice until Flight has been about for a while.
This is an example of an upgrade package you can buy for London City Airport, before it would have been the right layout and have standard buildings and scenery but since there are 1000’s of airports crammed into FSX they tend to be a bit generic. Here is London City as real as it gets:
What do I need to play Microsoft Flight?
Most computers will play this game but with varying results, depending on your machine there will be a trade off in picture quality and responsiveness.
Very few laptops will run this well although we have tested it on a Medion Core i7 laptop with ATI graphics and found it to run very smoothly even with the headtracking software installed.
Since most desktop computers have more scope for upgrades then they are an obvious choice. More memory and a graphics card will give your machine the horsepower it needs, a bigger screen will enhance your view too. Oh and a joystick will come in handy although you can use your mouse, you want it to feel like a simulator and not a game.
Take control with Saitek Pro Flight
If a joystick isn’t quite real enough for you then you can always build your own cockpit using Saitek’s Pro Flight system. Starting off with the basic flight controllers you can add extra panels which all fit together in any layout you choose.
The Saitek Pro Flight Yoke System is highly engineered to meet the exacting needs of the true flight simulation enthusiast. Stainless steel shaft, ergonomic controls, integrated chronograph and separate throttle quadrant ensure a smooth, accurate and totally realistic flying experience.
Use the integrated USB Hub to easily connect other parts of the Saitek Pro Flight range of products, such as additional Pro Flight Throttle Quadrant or Pro Flight Instrument Panels