Microsoft Flight Simulator Might Have Real Life Ramifications

author img
BY November 25, 2019

In the 90s, a lot of people experienced Microsoft OS gaming triumphs. The game wasn’t just some arcade flying experience. What started as a series of editorials ended up being a huge development tool for Microsoft. Now, as we look to a new Microsoft Flight Simulator in 2020, the game is set to have real life ramifications for things like flight training, open source game development, and global toolkits for some of our most ravenous natural disasters. 

History of Microsoft Flight Simulator 

microsoft flight simulator Image Credit: Microsoft

The early days of Microsoft Flight Simulator had less to do with game development, and more to do with the early days of 3D graphics. In a series of articles, computer software engineer Bruce Artwick introduced a program he created to depict a flight simulation. The project gave him the material to finish his master’s thesis. He also soon got a phone call from Apple’s Steve Jobs. They wanted a full blown flight simulator program on their Apple II computer. That would make it the first software of its kind. Well, Artwick got it done, and then developed versions for Radio Shack and Windows. It was the best selling software for the Apple II of all time, and soon after, Windows produced a license for the product. 

Additions and Features

What began as a simple concept evolved with each iteration. Microsoft continually supported new versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator, meaning each update had new features. Even non-flight minded Microsoft PC owners found a love for the game. A huge part of the series’ boom in popularity was the realism tied to the flights. The realistic nature of the game was two-fold. Two versions of the game that developed: Standard and Professional. The former was a typical flight experience with a few different types of aircraft and a more beginner-friendly introduction to flying. The latter included more types of aircraft, improved scenery for a realistic experience, and more tools in the cockpit. 

Fans began to grow even more engrossed in the game as more and more cities were added. Suddenly, you could fly from your hometown airport to a city you always wanted to visit. The game even ended up in mall kiosks so people could try it out before, hopefully, buying it for their home computer. Unfortunately, things at Microsoft weren’t going great, and the team working on Microsoft Flight Simulator was soon going to bear the brunt of the company’s cutbacks. 

Why Did Microsoft Stop Making Microsoft Flight Simulator Games?

Strong sales and growing popularity with casual fans of flying and video games were earning Microsoft Flight Simulator a regular seat at the table. Then, a few years of Microsoft mismanaging its corporate funds and budget crashed head first into a global economic crisis. This made for a rough end of 2008. Fifty employees regularly working on Microsoft Flight Simulator were let go, and many more across the company lost jobs as well. A reboot in 2012, titled Microsoft Flight, hoped to feature the same visual elements of Microsoft Flight Simulator with a simpler flying mechanic. The game ceased further development after a rough launch. For all intents and purposes, Microsoft said bon voyage to the series. 

2019’s Surprise Announcement of the New Game

microsoft flight simulator Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Flight Simulator is back in the news thanks to a June 2019 announcement and trailer. A few of the key elements of the game’s hype are nostalgic in nature, sure. The real key here is the incredible visuals possible now in 2019. 4K resolutions and graphics are going to make Microsoft Flight Simulator one of the best looking games on the Xbox One. It’s also coming to PC, and Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can play on both platforms for free at launch. The real key to all of this coming together is technological advances in how we document the Earth itself. It helps that the team behind A Plague’s Tale is developing the new entry, but it’s crucial that we now have a lot of different ways to see the Earth. 

From NASA cameras that document forest fires to cameras that simply sit atop traffic lights, we have a view of the world we never had before. Consider the response to the original game in 1983 from PC Mag, which celebrated the game’s “extraordinarily realistic” visuals. Now, add in 36 years of progress in computing and processing, plus the photos and videos we have of the Earth. It’s an unrivaled video game experience in terms of things looking photorealistic. It’s awesome to play Assassin’s Creed or Spider-Man and think, “wow, this looks just like the real thing.” It’s not going to compare to technology and imaging going into Microsoft Flight Simulator. That, of course, has some real world ramifications to it.

The Importance of Open Source Earth Imaging

microsoft flight simulator Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann isn’t just excited about the game coming in 2020. The contributions from NASA and other entities make the developer very optimistic. In five years, Neumann believes, we’ll have an open source model of the entire planet. Why does that matter? Well, for one, it improves our ability to scientifically monitor things like deforestation and melting ice caps. These sorts of monitoring programs are already in full effect, but now the technology could be developed into a software for consumers. It’s easy to disassociate from climate change, but seeing it play out in front of you on your phone might convince some people of its harmful agency in our lives. 

The open source Earth prospect means something great for gaming too. A lot more studios, with far less resources than say an Insomniac Games or Ubisoft, could make a game inside a realistic Chicago or Boston. Or hey, maybe the next Far Cry game takes place in a to-the-mile recreation of South Africa. Open source software means its available for all who want to use it. That could transform some smaller studios with top-tier talent into massive powerhouses in gaming.

Ten Years of Support Coming to the New Title

The team behind Microsoft Flight Simulator has agreed to work on the title for 10 years after its launch. That’s an insane amount of time to develop better flight experiences. Think of the improved visuals and growing changes in Earth recreation. It’s going to play a major role in gaming and major tech sectors. At launch, the game will look and feel great. Just think about what we might have in 2030. It’s going to be one of the biggest stories to watch in the next decade, for gaming and technology.

Are you excited about Microsoft Flight Simulator? Let us know in the comments! If you love all things Xbox, then check out Black Friday Deals on the way as well! Comic Years is here to bring you everything gaming, comic books, and pop culture!

Featured Image Credit: Microsoft


Leave a comment


Top Ten PS4 Games You Should Be Playing

The following is a list of must-play titles, the top ten PS4 games that need to be on your hard drive. Every generation of gaming has its golden gems that showcases the best these consoles have to offer. These exclusive titles are often delivered by trusted developers that have a strong grasp on what their […]

BY Mark LoProto April 19, 2019
Fortnite Season 11 Darkness Sends Fans into Uproar

Ahead of Fortnite’s newest season, which is the game’s 11th if you’re keeping score at home, Epic Games raised the stakes. Rather than hype players up with a crazy loot drop, or new in-game features, the Fortnite map we all know and love disappeared. Literally, as there is currently no map to play Fortnite on. […]

BY Taylor Bauer October 14, 2019
Google Stadia Overheating on Early Adopters of the Console

Google Stadia was meant to be a new way to play video games. It’s not fair to say that it isn’t, but you can’t deny its rough start. From questions about missing features to a games library lacking the pomp that was promised, it’s been a messy rollout. Now, users are raising some seriously troubling […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 22, 2019
Jesus Christ Simulator Game Stirs Controversy

There are many things that cause controversy in video games. Firstly, people gawk at the violence in shooters and action titles, blaming it for a ton of bad things in the real world. Secondly, the male-dominated culture of game criticism and development certainly lends itself to heavy criticism. We could go on and on, but […]

BY Taylor Bauer December 12, 2019
New Studio Cloud Chamber Working on Bioshock Title

Developers kill for that moment where gamers know they are playing something special. 2K and the team at Irrational Games/2K Boston hit the nail on the head with 2007’s Bioshock. The game led to two sequels, and some pretty incredible DLC. We haven’t seen a Bioshock game since 2013, but now we’ll be heading back […]

BY Taylor Bauer December 11, 2019
Star Wars Battlefront 2 Celebration Edition is Jam Packed with Content

There’s nothing like a good redemption story. We see it all the time in comic books. A villain suddenly sees the error of their ways, turns good, and we love them for it. We don’t see it as much with video games, and no, I don’t mean characters. If a game is cast aside as […]

BY Taylor Bauer December 4, 2019
Super Mario Maker 2 Update – What’s New?

When it comes to popular Nintendo Switch games, Super Mario Maker 2 has been huge. The game is still seeing a ton of players daily, months after its release. The developers at Nintendo working on the game are ready to send more content to the game as well. In an update coming on December 5th, […]

BY Taylor Bauer December 2, 2019


No, The Cast and Crew of the New Star Wars Aren’t Contributing to The Last Jedi Backlash

Just nine days before the official release of Episode IX, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker it seemed strange that a top trending topic on Twitter was its predecessor. While The Last Jedi will be remembered for many things, most notable right now is the backlash the filmed faced. For those of us old enough […]

BY Joshua M. Patton December 12, 2019
Why Are All Of The Female Directors Missing From The Golden Globes?

The Golden Globe nominations were released early this week and some people are excited to see their favorite films and actors nominated. Unfortunately, some things were lacking from the list of nominees. Awards shows are often judged for a lack of diversity. The #OscarsSoWhite trend may have happened a few years back, but the problems […]

BY Meghan Hale December 12, 2019
Jesus Christ Simulator Game Stirs Controversy

There are many things that cause controversy in video games. Firstly, people gawk at the violence in shooters and action titles, blaming it for a ton of bad things in the real world. Secondly, the male-dominated culture of game criticism and development certainly lends itself to heavy criticism. We could go on and on, but […]

BY Taylor Bauer December 12, 2019
MCU Multiverse is “the Next Step in the Evolution” of the Second Marvel Saga

Now that the Infinity Saga has wrapped, the overarching theme of the next few phases has been kept—in typical Marvel fashion—in the dark. But during a panel at CCXP19, Marvel Studios’ executive producer Kevin Feige finally revealed the path moving forward. Get ready for a saga into the MCU Multiverse! Doctor Strange in the Multiverse […]

BY Roman Colombo December 12, 2019