Microsoft has announced the release date for its highly anticipated PC flight simulator. The Microsoft Flight Simulator game will be available to purchase and play from 18th August, according to an Xbox Wire news bulletin. You can pre-order the sim right now via the Windows Store, if you are running Windows 10. If you are really keen to take off you might even be tempted to sign up for the Xbox Game Pass for PC which will give you immediate beta access to Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Microsoft plans to make its flight simulator available in three editions. The entry price is $59.99 for the Standard Edition. This includes "20 highly detailed planes with unique flight models and 30 hand-crafted airports". This is the version you can play now if you get beta access. The Microsoft Flight Simulator Deluxe Edition costs $89.99 and adds five additional planes with unique flight models plus five more handcrafted international airports.
If you want to go all-in in your flight sim investment, Microsoft hopes you might consider the Premium Deluxe Edition for $119.99. Add five more planes/airports compared to the Deluxe Edition (ten more planes/airports than the Standard Edition) for your fee.
Some of the world's biggest airports seem to be reserved for the more expensive game editions, and UK dwellers might be disappointed that the only airport available on the UK mainland, Heathrow, is one of the Premium Deluxe Edition extras.
Click to see what specific airports/aircraft are available in each edition
You won't be limited to digital purchases for this game, Microsoft is going to distribute retail disc versions in Europe via Aerosoft.
To recap on the appeal of the latest outing of the Microsoft Flight Simulator, which first launched for PC in 1982, I have reproduced Microsoft's key features promotional blurb below. It is also worth a peek at the 4K trailer I have embedded, top.
- Vivid and Detailed Landscapes – Immerse yourself in the vast and beautiful world that is our planet with more than 37 thousand airports, 1.5 billion buildings, 2 trillion trees, mountains, roads, rivers and more.
- A Living World – Earth is vibrant and ever-changing and so is the world of Microsoft Flight Simulator which includes live traffic, real-time weather and animals.
- Highly Detailed Aircraft – Hone your pilot skills in a variety of aircraft from light planes to commercial jets with comprehensive flight models. Every aircraft includes highly detailed and accurate cockpits with realistic instrumentation.
- New Checklist System – From pro to beginner, scale your level from full manual to full assist with interactive and highlighted instrument guidance and checklist.
- Dynamic Weather – The new weather engine enables users to switch on the live weather mode to experience real-time weather including accurate wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, rain and more.
- New Day & Night Engine – Experience flight at any time of day or year allowing for night VFR, visual flight rules, navigation.
- Aerodynamic Modelling – A state-of-the-art physics engine with over 1,000 control surfaces per plane allows for a truly realistic experience.