The return of Microsoft Flight Sim?

March 2, 2012 by Mike Collins

Microsoft reentered the flight sim market Wednesday with the launch of Microsoft Flight. The new product features the still-in-development Icon A5 Light Sport amphibian…and the game itself is free. Of course, add-ons are available; a North American P-51 Mustang is $7.99, a Maule M-7-260C is $14.99, and a Hawaiian adventure pack–with a Vans RV-6A–is $19.99. The website promises that more aircraft and terrain will be coming.

Fans of the previous Microsoft Flight Simulator product line, which ended almost a decade ago with the release of Flight Simulator X, should keep in mind that this new product is being marketed more as a game–it is a new product, not an evolution of what existed before. Initial user comments emphasize the entertainment focus of Flight.

Some enterprising student pilots–and instructors–used the previous Flight Simulator to enhance and accelerate flight training. Will Microsoft Flight be able to do the same? I don’t know; I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. Have you?

9 Responses to “The return of Microsoft Flight Sim?”

  1. Sander Ruscigno Says:

    Yes, I have…
    Actually I was one of the beta testers and I can say that this game will not help pilots to improve their skill.
    I’m a private pilot and unfortunately I will have to change from FSX to X-Plane if I want to continue updated.

    It’s a pity…

  2. Philip Says:

    I downlaoded it and tried it. It is fun and very much geared toward the non-pilot pilot. It may or may not inspire somebody to pursue their license. There is not a whole lot to it (of course I have only tried the free version) – and I’m guessing that was intentional. The ICON is fun to fly – but other than that it is a simple video game.

  3. Perry Says:

    I, for one, am disappointed. This new game is strictly a non-realistic game, not in any way a simulator, which I guess you should expect from the change in the name. It reminds me of the Nintendo Wii Sports Resort game where you fly around with a little pretend airplane and try to pop balloons. In fact, the first “mission” in the Microsoft game is flying around balloons…

    Pilots looking for a real simulator will have to look elsewhere. And the graphics and gameplay aren’t really great enough to draw many casual gamers either.

  4. Pat Says:

    I was quite disappointed seeing that Flight is a game, graphics are no better than FSX was and it’s more focused on having fun than it is a flight simulator that would help a real pilot. Also the nickel and diming users to get anything more than the “demo” is a shame.

  5. John Says:

    I agree with many posters, it is just a game. I don’t think it is worthy of calling a ‘simulator.’ It could just as easily be played on a console game system such as X-Box which would be a better platform for this type of game.

  6. Dave Says:

    Microsoft Flight is currently a “dumb-ed down” version of their earlier Microsoft Flight Simulator X, but with “eye-candy” graphics…. For the most part, they have lost a majority of their “flight simmer” base… who are either staying with FSX or switching to X-plane. BUT THERE IS HOPE!

    Looks like the business leaders at Microsoft are offering a phased release of a full featured simulator program. This first release will test if they can attract a larger audience of people such as casual and hard core gamers… in addition to the “simmers” out there. They also want to see if the collected revenue from selling “add-ons” via their web sight will support further investment in this product. If it passes muster, looks like they will fund the development of additional features that are missing for us real-world pilots and “simmers.”

    The current release has hints in it about future capabilities. For example…

    1) AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL – the radios can tune to a station, but there is nothing there. This looks like it will be added later.

    2) MORE SCENERY – Current release lets you fly for free around the island of Hawaii. For a fee, you add the rest of the Hawaiian islands. Just announced this week was the future release of the state of Alaska. https://news.microsoftflight.com/blogs/news/default.aspx They have partnered with Jeppesen, so that’s favorable for them eventually releasing the rest of the world.

    RELEASING THE SDK? NO – SO FAR LOOKS SO FAR THEY ARE KEEPING IT IN-HOUSE AS THAT’S WHERE THE “MONEY” IS… Microsoft Flight has been hiring staff to build more scenery (on-line job postings), and has a staff of people who have created aircraft. They have made no firm announcement that I’ve been able to find about releasing a SDK (Software Development Kit)… for third party software companies to make additional scenery and aircraft and other add ons. There was a story I read that late last year, third party developers of FSX products were invited to a meeting with Microsoft Flight… but no statements as to what was said to them has been released… at least what I have been able to find on the “net.” ref: http://forum.avsim.net/topic/364905-microsoft-flight-sdk/ and http://gamepolitics.com/2012/02/21/microsoft-no-third-party-content-ms-flight

    So far, it seems that Microsoft has learned from the FSX cost model… they sold a great program for “cheap”… and the third party developers made the lion share of the revenue by selling aircraft, scenery and other stuff. From that experience, it seems that at a minimum, Microsoft plans to sell these lucrative add-ons themselves via their web sight… and is hiring more in-house staff to offer more.

    All of this presumes they make their revenue targets for this initial release.

    The big question is… will Microsoft’s more polished “closed” program win over X-Plane’s not-so polished “open” simulator.

  7. Kent Kasten Says:

    MS took something very uniquely driven for real-world pilots like myself and those arm-chair pilots as well, and created something that would appeal to the mass market. They didn’t want to create another true flight simulator because they can’t make it work on XBOX due to the amount of controls required for flight. MS Flight won’t ever be a true flight simulator like previous versions which will be capable of inspiring or help current or new pilots learn or understand flight. The bottom line is the bottom line. MS wasn’t making enough money the old way, they needed to expand the market base and seriously “dumb” it down in the process. MS as far s I’m concerned lost an entire market segment of enthusiast who stuck with them for almost 30 years. Talk about a slap in the face.

  8. Eddie Says:

    I am completely disappointed that Microsoft, ignoring its loyal fan base and the world-wide flight simulator community, simply abandoned these millions of devoted customers. It is obvious this is a business decision (note the additional scenery and aircraft for a price), but they could have adopted improvements and upgrades to their existing FS-X line and maintained there place in the simulator market. Unfortunately, X-Plane had the idea, but still falls short in so many areas. As a real-world private pilot and a simulator enthusiast with hundreds of hours of time, I feel Microsoft has done a grave dis-service to their loyal customers.
    I have had each version of Flight Simulator since it was first introduced on a 5.5″ floppy drive. The monochrome green screen and snail-paced graphics are no indication of what evolved into the world of FS-X. I would continue to be a MS Flight Simulator customer and would happily buy improvements, scenery, aircraft, etc for FS-X and any follow up versions, and so would the millions of online players on the VATSIM network.
    Thumbs down Microsoft. I hope Mr. Gates realizes what happened.

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