Last week, Microsoft's Flight Simulator team pushed out an announcement stating that it won't be able to commit to its normal update schedule for the upcoming title due to Coronavirus concerns. However, it was also noted that this Thursday's update would still hopefully be adhered to.
Fast forward a week, and Microsoft has indeed managed to stick to its planned schedule - for now at least. This week's development update provides news regarding a bunch of different cogs in the Flight Simulator machine, including the upcoming Alpha build, the Feature Discovery Series, and plenty more.
For starters, the latest Feedback Snapshot version has been released, though it is only limited to Insiders for now. This has been Microsoft's regular pattern of pushing out Feedback Snapshots for the game so far, with Insiders getting the first look and a copy for the general public being revealed a few weeks later. As such, version 3 should be arriving this month for all to view barring any release concerns.
Moving on, possibly the most interesting piece of news for this week is that the latest Alpha build is currently in release testing. Registrations for all those who are unregistered yet - or those who are registered but want to update their DXDIAG information through the website - will begin on March 16. The invitation timeline, release date, and build notes are expected to be unveiled on March 19. As such, the firm continues to remain on par with the latest iteration of the development roadmap for March and April.
The previous SDK update was posted almost one month ago, on February 14. At the time, over 30 of Microsoft's partners had access to the Flight Simulator SDK. The following statements explain where the firm now stands in terms of SDK availability:
"The SDK is now being used by over 50 companies and hundreds of programmers and artists. We have spent time listening, discussing and learning from our 3rd party developers, and we are working closely with them to keep improving the tools. The new aircraft editor is close to being finished with several improvements to the workflow. We also made lots of progress on WebAssembly support, which is the technology that will allow the porting of native code to our platform. We are excited to share what we developed with our partners within the next few weeks.
Several 3rd parties have started to share the roadmaps with us and we happy to report that dozens of planes and airports are in development and we are hopeful that quite a few of them will be ready by the time our new simulator is released."
Finally, wrapping up this article with news regarding upcoming updates, the latest Feature Discovery Series episode - Multiplayer - now has a release date. It will be arriving on March 19 alongside the development roadmap preview for April and May. In early April, meanwhile, Episode 8 that focuses on instrument flight rules (IFR) will be unveiled along with a Partnership Series update. Those who have been following the weekly updates will recall that the aforementioned Feature Discovery Series episodes were switched in terms of their release order last month.
Notably, Microsoft's post states that the next news reveal for Microsoft Flight Simulator will be coming on March 18. However, given that all previous such updates have arrived on Thursdays, and the fact that all the specific unveilings for next week have a March 19 date attached, it is quite likely that this is merely a typing error, and we will instead be getting the update on March 19.