Microsoft announced the return of Flight Simulator back in 2019, bringing its longest-running game franchise to users in its newest form, leveraging Azure for features such as dynamic scenery and real-time weather. The game launched on the PC in August 2020, becoming available through the Microsoft Store, Steam, and Xbox Game Pass for PC subscribers. However, there was no word on the release timeline for Xbox users.
Fast forward to E3 this year, and the Redmond firm finally announced a date for the arrival of the game on the latest-generation Xbox consoles. While pre-orders opened back then, Flight Simulator is now available on Xbox Series X|S consoles starting today. The simulation game is being made available to Xbox Game Pass for Console and Ultimate subscribers as well as pre-order customers starting today only on the latest-generation consoles, with the company promising optimizations aimed at console simmers. The firm adds that users can “expect the same level of depth as the PC version”.
In addition to the launch, the company is also listing improvements and feature addition being made to the simulator, which includes enhancements to the world map in the way of satellite images, map labels, new Discovery Flights to famous locations, and more. There are new trainings for those unfamiliar with VFR navigation, takeoff and landing manoeuvers, and flying jets like the Airbus A320neo. A new Flight Assistant tool further provides AI-based assistance for Autoland, navigating to points of interest, and avoiding stalls, aimed especially at beginners and casual simmers. There are also tweaks been made to make it possible to “land anywhere”, including on water.
The latest iteration of Flight Simulator has been a massive hit for the company. The game was termed as being the biggest Game Pass launch yet. The offering has been constantly updated with free ‘World Updates’ bringing complex sceneries, something that will continue to be offered for both PC and Xbox users, bug fixes, and more. The game also gained VR support late last year, bringing a more immersive way for users to experience the simulator.
In addition to the usual World Updates, Microsoft will also be releasing a Top Gun: Maverick expansion on November 19, aligning with the release of the Top Gun: Maverick movie, which the firm is celebrating with Paramount Pictures. The trailer for the expansion suggests that it will include aircraft carriers and an F/A-18 Super Hornet.
You can grab Flight Simulator from the Microsoft Store here, with the Standard Editions starting at $59.99. As mentioned earlier, the game is included in Xbox Game Pass. However, users that have already purchased the game on the PC will have access to it on the console. Though the Play Anywhere tag seems to be missing in the Microsoft Store listing, the firm notes the availability of the feature in an FAQ listing that was updated earlier today.