Navigraph Survey Results 2019: Microsoft Flight Simulator Set to Dominate

February 4, 2020

Navigraph has published the results for last year's survey, which is conducted annually to identify trends and analytics in the flight simulation scene.

2019's results is reasonably similar to those in 2018, but the survey was more extensive than ever to consider the changing landscape of flight simulation; most notably, it takes Microsoft Flight Simulator (MFS) into consideration as well as mobile simulators.

A large number of results were published, so a select few highlights of the survey are outlined below.

As aforementioned, MFS may become one of, if not, the largest product in desktop (and console) flight simulation history. In 2018, 16% considered changing to Prepar3D, but that figure fell to just 2% for last year. Surprisingly, fewer users think about using X-Plane as their main simulator, down to just 1% from 2018's figure of 20%.

This arises from the fact that 56% of users are looking to replace their primary simulator software with MFS, and 40% remain content with their current software.

In terms of how likely users are to purchase MFS, the results suggest most people will do so when it comes out, and that 43% of users have stopped buying flight simulation addons in favour of waiting for MFS.

The statistics from 2018 are mostly unchanged when it comes to the usage of existing flight simulation software, with older simulators becoming less popular. The survey suggests that X-Plane 11 continues to be slightly higher than Prepar3D in terms of the number of users, but the latter continues to be the preferred simulator of choice for many.

A new question in this year's survey asked whether users would prefer subscription-based models for software. The results show most would prefer to pay every so often for charts and navigation data, although this may be due to the fact the survey is conducted by providers of these products.

Another new question introduced last year looked at the type of software used to generate weather in simulators.

Most users prefer payware software to generate weather, whilst a third looked to that included with the simulator to do the job.

A question dedicated to addon type importance shows that - by a huge margin - aircraft is a 'very important' addon in a simulator, according to 79% of respondents.

There was a fractional increase in the number of virtual reality (VR) users last year, whilst 1% of VR users who did not use VR for flight simulation now do.

These are just some of the results from the 93 questions Navigraph included in their survey. There were 17,800 respondents, aiming to reach more corners of the flight simulation scene than before.

"Since respondents were not selected according to a random sampling technique, but instead voluntarily chose to participate themselves, there may be a bias in the data collected," Navigraph explained in their results section regarding possible bias. "This is true for any survey where respondents are invited to participate without randomizing the respondent selection according to the topics the survey set out to investigate."

The 102-page report is available to view in PDF form here.

Threshold encourages informed discussion and debate - though this can only happen if all commenters remain civil when voicing their opinions.