Microsoft Flight Simulator Released

August 17, 2020

Created by Microsoft and Asobo Studio, the Seattle company's 14-year in the making return to flight simulation is complete with news today that Microsoft Flight Simulator has been released.

Announced in June 2019 - only hours after the conclusion of Flight Sim Expo in Orlando - the new simulator took the FS world by storm and has since forced a number of changes in the industry. Third-party developers have scrambled to change their plans, some starting or even cancelling projects as a result.

This very site, Threshold, even saw a change in alignment come the start of this year.

Around about that time, it was announced that applications for the sim's Closed Alpha phase were open, beginning a program that would run all the way to release day, under a few different names - most recently, Closed Beta.

Public beta testing will close on August 17th at 10am PDT, after which time a release build is required to use the simulator.


Xbox's newswire lists the following features for Microsoft Flight Simulator:

  • 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 Modeling – A state-of-the-art physics engine with over 1,000 control surfaces per plane allows for a truly realistic experience.

Pricing Tiers

There are three editions of Microsoft Flight Simulator that you can get your hands on, Standard, Deluxe and Premium Deluxe.

On the low end, with 20 aircraft and 30 airports, Standard edition weighs in at $59.99 USD. The step up, Deluxe, brings at $30 price increase - RRP $89.99 USD - and five more aircraft and airports.

Lastly, top of the range Premium Deluxe comes with 30 aircraft and 40 airports and a price tag of $119.99 USD.

For a full list of the airports and aircraft in each tier of Microsoft Flight Simulator, see a previous article.

Release Times

Microsoft Flight Simulator has a rolling release schedule, with release coming at midnight in each respective timezone. This article is published at the time of the first release - UTC+14.

Other important times to note down:

  • Australia: 14:00 UTC
  • Mainland Europe: 22:00 UTC
  • United Kingdom: 23:00 UTC
  • Steam (worldwide): 04:00 UTC
  • US East: 04:00 UTC
  • US Central: 05:00 UTC
  • US West: 07:00 UTC

To see a more exhaustive rundown of when the simulator will be available in your timezone, see a previous article for more information.

Download & Install Size

Pre-orderees are able to install roughly 800 MB of Microsoft Flight Simulator prior to release in their country.

At midnight, you'll be able to run the executable and will be prompted in-game to download the rest of the 127 GB package.

Where to buy

You can purchase Microsoft Flight Simulator from the Microsoft Store here. Standard - Deluxe - Premium Deluxe.

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