TECHNOLOGY

Microsoft is resurrecting its 38-year-old flight simulator game

Aug 17, 2020, 6:48 AM
"Microsoft Flight Simulator" lets anyone role play as a pilot and fly anywhere in the world, scopin...
"Microsoft Flight Simulator" lets anyone role play as a pilot and fly anywhere in the world, scoping out highly realistic sights along the way. Credit: Microsoft

    (CNN) — After a 14-year hiatus, Microsoft is launching a new version of its “Flight Simulator” video game — now with features like live weather and traffic as well as a massive world map.

“Microsoft Flight Simulator” lets anyone role play as a pilot and fly anywhere in the world, scoping out highly realistic sights along the way.

In the game, players begin by selecting a flight route, which typically begins on a runway. Just as in real life, players achieve liftoff by gaining momentum, and once in the air they must balance speed and momentum while avoiding obstacles like buildings. There are options to skip parts of a flight or accelerate flight time to destinations around the world, but part of the fun is checking out the scenery while en route.

The newest “Microsoft Flight Simulator” is an update to the company’s oldest franchise. At nearly 38 years old, “Flight Sim,” as its ardent fans call it, predates both Word and Windows and has developed a loyal fan base.

The new version, which starts at $59.99 with extra costs for additional planes and airports, comes out August 18 for both Windows and Xbox. The new live weather feature creates additional challenges when navigating the skies. For example, a storm that recently passed by the East Coast in real life was also visible within the game.

Players who have tried the game in preview have already uploaded YouTube videos of them flying beside skyscrapers in New York City, exploring Chernobyl and even North Korea, among other locales that may not be accessible during the ongoing real-life pandemic.

“I’ve been in this house now since March; I can’t really fly anywhere. I feel like the world maybe shrank a little… [the shutdown] certainly had a psychological impact,” Jorg Neumann, head of “Microsoft Flight Simulator,” told CNN Business. But in “Flight Sim,” he has traveled to Texas, Nepal and parts of Africa.

The game includes 37,000 airports, 1.5 billion buildings and 2 trillion trees — part of why it takes a whopping 150GB to install. It contains 2 petabytes of satellite and aerial imagery, but it runs on cloud streaming to keep the game file size manageable.

Neumann is not a pilot, but he said he and his team solicit feedback from a community of pilots as well as fans, and some of his team members have taken flying lessons.

While the new “Flight Sim” isn’t simplified for beginners, there’s a new checklist system that helps players figure out what needs to be completed so they can lift off safely. It can be intimidating for newcomers to manage the various controls and unfamiliar terminology like yokes and throttle, but the game offers tutorials and autopilot functions for more complicated tasks such as landing on water.

“Instead of dumbing down the flight physics… we help you fly the plane, [and make it] physically accurate,” said Neumann.

This is the first new installment of the game since 2006’s “Flight Simulator X,” and Microsoft has said it plans to service this new game for many years.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.


Microsoft Flight Simulator’s 2020 reboot may be the safest way to fly this year

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

Technology

The Air Force is set to unveil the newest stealth bomber aircraft on Dec. 2. Photo credit: Northrop...
Haley Britzky and Ellie Kaufman, CNN

Air Force unveils newest stealth bomber aircraft

The newest stealth bomber was unveiled on Friday in California.
7 days ago
space radio...
Elizabeth Weiler

USU making history with a radio entering the lunar orbit

LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University has successfully sent a radio, created by Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory into the orbit of earth’s moon.  The deep space radio is named Iris, after the Greek mythological goddess, daughter of Thaumas and Electra and messenger of the gods. The radio made its way into the orbit via a CubeSat […]
9 days ago
In this image provided by NASA, the Earth and its moon are seen from NASA's Orion spacecraft on Mon...
Jackie Wattles, CNN

NASA’s Orion reaches record-breaking distance from Earth

NASA confirmed that Orion had reached the midpoint of its uncrewed mission around the moon — about 270,000 miles (434,523 kilometers) from Earth.
10 days ago
Former US President Donald Trump's Twitter account has been reinstated on the platform....
Clare Duffy and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Elon Musk restores Donald Trump’s Twitter account

Former US President Donald Trump's Twitter account has been reinstated on the platform.
20 days ago
With employees with the company, the future of Twitter is in uncertain. Photo credit: Justin Sulliv...
Oliver Darcy, CNN Business

Inside Twitter as ‘mass exodus’ of staffers throws platform’s future into uncertainty

With employees leaving the company, the future of Twitter is uncertain.
21 days ago
NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard is seen on Nov. 12 at NASA...
Jackie Wattles, CNN

Historic moon mission troubleshoots fuel leak issue hours before launch

The Artemis I mission to the moon could finally take place this week.
24 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Microsoft is resurrecting its 38-year-old flight simulator game