Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020 video game)

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Microsoft Flight Simulator
A series of general aviation and commercial aircraft flying in unison above three different areas with different climates, bordered by triangles. In the center, slightly diagonal, is the Microsoft Flight Simulator title.
Developer(s)Asobo Studio
Publisher(s)Xbox Game Studios
SeriesMicrosoft Flight Simulator
EngineACE (Asobo Conception Engine)[1][2]
ReleaseAugust 18, 2020 (PC)
Genre(s)Amateur flight simulation
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Microsoft Flight Simulator, colloquially known as Flight Simulator 2020, is an upcoming flight simulator developed by Asobo Studio and published by Xbox Game Studios exclusively for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. It will be released on August 18, 2020 for Microsoft Windows.[3] It is the eleventh major entry in the Microsoft Flight Simulator series, preceded by Flight Simulator X.

Flight Simulator will simulate the entire Earth using textures and topographical data from Bing Maps. Three-dimensional representations of the world's features, such as terrain, trees, grass, buildings, and water will be generated using Microsoft Azure technology. Some players received the Alpha version as part of the game's Insider program.[4] On July 13, 2020, Microsoft opened up preorders, and announced that Flight Simulator for PC would be available on August 18, 2020.[5]


Flight Simulator will feature Asobo's in-house developed game engine, and leverage Bing Maps data, accessing over two petabytes of data from the cloud on demand.[6] Azure AI analyzes map data and photogrammetry to generate photorealistic 3D models of buildings, trees, terrain, and so on. This allows the simulator to depict most parts of the world in 3D photo-realism, and other parts in high definition.[7]

Asobo has created their own flight model engine, allowing thousands of surfaces and 3D forces and moments to be fully simulated.[6] There will also be realistic physics and weather systems, and utilization of real-world weather data. An example used at E3 2019 was that if it was raining somewhere in real life, it would be raining in-game. Individual clouds will have their own behaviors and they will impact aircraft performance depending on its location within the system.[8]

Flight Simulator will populate the world with animals and roads with vehicles, water will flow realistically based on wind direction, grass will have individual grass blades and trees will have individual leaves, creating the illusion of a living world.[9] The game world will include over two million cities and towns,[10] 1.5 billion buildings, 2 trillion trees, and 37,000 real-world airports.[11]


"Using data of Microsoft’s home city of Seattle, which Bing Maps has rendered down to five-centimeter resolution with photogrammetry, Asobo took a few weeks to put together a demo of a Cessna flying downtown. Neumann then showed it to Phil Spencer, a VP at the time who is now the head of Xbox. “He just looked at me and said, ‘Why are you showing me a video of Seattle with a plane?’” Neumann says. “And then the plane turned, and we flew over the Microsoft campus where we were sitting at that exact moment. And he’s like, ‘Is this real time? Is this running?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, it is!’ And we knew then we had something special.”

– Jörg Neumann on presenting an early build of Flight Simulator 2020 to Xbox head Phil Spencer[12]

Flight Simulator was announced at E3 2019 on June 9, 2019.[13] It is the first major entry in the series since 2006's Flight Simulator X, following a long period of uncertainty over the future of the series after the closure of Aces Game Studio in 2009. It is being developed by the French Asobo Studio and will be published by Xbox Game Studios.[14][15] The game is set to be released on August 18, 2020.[16]

Launch announcement[edit]

On July 13, 2020, Microsoft opened up preorders, and announced that Flight Simulator for PC would be available on August 18, 2020.[5] The company announced three different versions of the title — Standard, Deluxe, and Premium Deluxe, each providing an incremental set of airplanes to choose and additional airports with more detailed visuals.[17] The pricing ranged from US $59.99 for Standard, to US $89.99 for Deluxe, and US $119.99 for the Premium Deluxe edition.[17] While the initial launch is focused on the PC, the date for launch on the Xbox family of consoles is awaited.[18]

Retail version[edit]

Aerosoft announced in July 2020 that they have partnered with Microsoft to release a physical version in Europe. It is available in two editions, Standard and Premium Deluxe (see the features comparison below), and comes with 10 dual-layer DVDs and a printed manual.[19] The Premium Deluxe edition also comes with an artbook.[20] Otherwise, there is no difference between boxed retail and the version Microsoft sells directly.

However, it is to be noted that the discs contain only the installer and the basic content (aircraft, default world etc.) that is around 90 GB and not playable out of the box; the actual simulator software and updates are downloaded during installation. An active internet connection is also needed for the simulator to update itself when needed. Additionally, more details for the world, better ground imagery, as well as weather and traffic data can optionally be streamed from Microsoft's servers.[20]



Aircraft to be included in the final release include the following, depending on the edition:[3]

Aircraft Manufacturer Standard Deluxe Premium
A320neo Airbus Yes Yes Yes
Pitts Special S2S Aviat Yes Yes Yes
747-8 Boeing Yes Yes Yes
XCub Cub Crafters Yes Yes Yes
SOCATA TBM 930 Daher Yes Yes Yes
DA40 NG Diamond Aircraft Yes Yes Yes
DA62 Diamond Aircraft Yes Yes Yes
330LT Extra Aircraft Yes Yes Yes
CTLS Flight Design Yes Yes Yes
ICON A5 ICON Aircraft Yes Yes Yes
VL-3 JMB Aircraft Yes Yes Yes
CAP 10 Robin Aircraft Yes Yes Yes
DR400 Cadet Robin Aircraft Yes Yes Yes
Beechcraft Bonanza G36 Textron Aviation Yes Yes Yes
Beechcraft King Air 350i Textron Aviation Yes Yes Yes
Cessna 152 Textron Aviation Yes Yes Yes
Cessna 172 Skyhawk (G1000) Textron Aviation Yes Yes Yes
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan Textron Aviation Yes Yes Yes
Cessna Citation CJ4 Textron Aviation Yes Yes Yes
Savage Cub Zlin Aircraft Yes Yes Yes
DA40-TDI Diamond Aircraft No Yes Yes
DV20 Diamond Aircraft No Yes Yes
Beechcraft Baron G58 Textron Aviation No Yes Yes
Cessna 152 Aerobat Textron Aviation No Yes Yes
Cessna 172 Skyhawk Textron Aviation No Yes Yes
Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner Boeing No No Yes
SR22 Cirrus Aircraft No No Yes
Virus SW 121 Pipistrel No No Yes
Cessna Citation Longitude Textron Aviation No No Yes
Shock Ultra Zlin Aircraft No No Yes
Total 20 25 30

Third-party aircraft will also be supported within the simulator, being directly purchased from the in game marketplace. Notable confirmed third party aircraft are the Concorde, developed by DC designs, as well as many other aircraft.[citation needed]

The Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network, also known as Vatsim, is an online flight-simulation network confirmed to be supported within Microsoft Flight Simulator.[21]


Flight Simulator will include around 37,000 manually edited airports from around the world based on real-world satellite images,[22] of which 30, 35, or 40 are hand-crafted replicas of their real-world counterparts, depending on the edition.[3]

Hand-crafted replica airports to be included in the final release include the following, depending on the edition:[3]

Airport ICAO Standard Deluxe Premium
Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (USA) KASE Yes Yes Yes
Bugalaga Airstrip (CAMA) (Indonesia) WX53 Yes Yes Yes
Chagual Airport (Peru) SPGL Yes Yes Yes
Courchevel Altiport (France) LFLJ Yes Yes Yes
Donegal Airport (Ireland) EIDL Yes Yes Yes
Entebbe International Airport (Uganda) HUEN Yes Yes Yes
Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport (Portugal) LPMA Yes Yes Yes
Gibraltar International Airport (Gibraltar/UK) LXGB Yes Yes Yes
Innsbruck Airport (Austria) LOWI Yes Yes Yes
Los Angeles International Airport (USA) KLAX Yes Yes Yes
Tenzing-Hillary Airport (Nepal) VNLK Yes Yes Yes
Nanwalek Airport (USA) KEB Yes Yes Yes
John F. Kennedy International Airport (USA) KJFK Yes Yes Yes
Orlando International Airport (USA) KMCO Yes Yes Yes
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (France) LFPG Yes Yes Yes
Paro International Airport (Bhutan) VQPR Yes Yes Yes
Queenstown Airport (New Zealand) NZQN Yes Yes Yes
Mariscal Sucre International Airport (Ecuador) SEQM Yes Yes Yes
Rio de Janeiro-Antonio Carlos Jobim/Galeão Int'l Airport (Brazil) SBGL Yes Yes Yes
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (Dutch/Saba) TNCS Yes Yes Yes
Gustaf lll Airport (France/Saint Barthélemy) TFFJ Yes Yes Yes
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (USA) KSEA Yes Yes Yes
Sedona Airport (USA) KSEZ Yes Yes Yes
Sirena Aerodrome (Costa Rica) MRSN Yes Yes Yes
Stewart Airport (Canada) CZST Yes Yes Yes
Sydney Airport (Australia) YSSY Yes Yes Yes
Telluride Regional Airport (USA) KTEX Yes Yes Yes
Haneda Airport (Japan) RJTT Yes Yes Yes
Toncontin International Airport (Honduras) MHTG Yes Yes Yes
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Canada) CYTZ Yes Yes Yes
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Netherlands) EHAM No Yes Yes
Cairo International Airport (Egypt) HECA No Yes Yes
Cape Town International Airport (South Africa) FACT No Yes Yes
O'Hare International Airport (USA) KORD No Yes Yes
Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (Spain) LEMD No Yes Yes
Denver International Airport (USA) KDEN No No Yes
Dubai International Airport (United Arab Emirates) OMDB No No Yes
Frankfurt Airport (Germany) EDDF No No Yes
Heathrow Airport (United Kingdom) EGLL No No Yes
San Francisco International Airport (USA) KSFO No No Yes
Total 30 35 40


  1. ^ "Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox One". Console Mania Games. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  2. ^ "Microsoft Flight Simulator: everything we know about the boundless aviation sim". PC Gamer. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Microsoft Flight Simulator Set for Launch on August 18 for PC, also with Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta)". Microsoft Flight Simulator. June 13, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  4. ^ "Insider Program Faq | Microsoft Flight Simulator". Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Warren, Tom (July 13, 2020). "Microsoft Flight Simulator will launch on August 18th on PC". The Verge. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 | PRE-ALPHA Gameplay Footage | 737 Captain Review, retrieved November 12, 2019
  7. ^ "All I want to do is chill and play Flight Simulator". Engadget. September 30, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  8. ^ "Flight Simulator is back, and it's real: Microsoft uses the cloud to help classic franchise soar again". GeekWire. September 30, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  9. ^ "Feature Discovery Series Episode 1: World". YouTube. October 14, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  10. ^ Hall, Charlie (September 30, 2019). "The biggest surprise of Microsoft Flight Simulator: it makes Bing cool". Polygon. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  11. ^ Hachman, Mark (July 13, 2020). "Microsoft Flight Simulator takes off August 18 in three editions for PC". PCWorld. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  12. ^ Byford, Sam (July 30, 2020). "How Microsoft Flight Simulator returned to the skies". The Verge. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  13. ^ "Microsoft Flight Simulator – E3 2019 – Announce Trailer". YouTube. June 9, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  14. ^ Machkovech, Sam (September 30, 2019). "The new MS Flight Simulator taught me how to fly an actual plane". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  15. ^ "Microsoft Flight Simulator | Asobo Studio". Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  16. ^ "Microsoft Flight Simulator Set For Launch on August 18 For PC, Also With Xbox Game Pass For PC (Beta)". July 13, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2020 will launch on August 18". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  18. ^ "Microsoft Flight Simulator Launches Aug. 18". PCMAG. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  19. ^ Orland, Kyle. "Please insert disc: Microsoft Flight Simulator will spread across ten DVDs". ArsTechnica. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Aerosoft official retail partner for Microsoft Flight Simulator". Aerosoft Community Services. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  21. ^ "A Big Day for VATSIM |". Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  22. ^ Morton, Lauren (February 21, 2020). "Asobo Studio manually edited 37,000 airports for Microsoft Flight Simulator". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved July 25, 2020.

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