Since the first version was released in 1982, Microsoft's Flight Simulator has been known for its realism, from the aircraft to the flight performance to the geographical world around it. Now, Microsoft is planning to release the 13th version of its sim. Here's what you need to know about Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, from the price to release date to the airplanes you'll be able to fly.
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Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 release date
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 will be released on August 18th for PCs, and will also be available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers at launch. It will also be released for the Xbox, presumably with simpler controls, but the company has not said when this version will be released.
Microsoft Flight Simulator price
Microsoft Flight Simulator will be released in three versions: The Standard Edition will cost $59.99, and will let you fly 20 different planes, and land (and takeoff) from 30 different airports. The Deluxe Edition ($89.99) will include 25 aircraft and 35 airports, and the Premium Deluxe Edition ($119.99) will include 35 aircraft and 35 airports.
The Standard Edition is also available as part of Xbox Game Pass for PC (beta), which is currently just $1/month.
In Europe, would-be pilots can also purchase Microsoft Flight Simulator as a 10 double-layer DVD box set via Aerosoft. It should be available at retail locations by August 21.
All versions are currently available for preorder.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 system requirements
This is not a game for wimpy PCs. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 will require, at minimum, a Windows 10 PC with either an Intel i5-4460 or AMD Ryzen 3 1200 processor, an Nvidia GTX 770 or AMD Radeon RX 570 GPU, 8 GB RAM, 2 GB VRAM, 150GB of hard drive space, and support for DirectX 11.
According to Windows Central, Microsoft recommends an Intel i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU, Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 590 graphics, 4GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM, and a 20Mbps download speed.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 VR headset compatibility
Microsoft Flight Simulator will first be available on the HP Reverb G2 VR headset. Available for preorder ($599), the Reverb G2 is slated to ship this fall. It will feature dual 2160 x 2160 LCD panels and four tracking cameras, and will be compatible with both Windows Mixed Reality and Steam VR platforms.
Microsoft has not announced compatibility with any other VR headsets at this time, but we will update this story accordingly.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 aircraft
According to Windows Central, the following aircraft will be available in Microsoft Flight Simulator:
|Standard Edition||Deluxe Edition||Premium Deluxe Edition|
|Aviat Pitts Special S2S||X||X||X|
|Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental||X||X||X|
|Daher TBM 930||X||X||X|
|Diamond DA40 NG||X||X||X|
|Flight Design CTLS||X||X||X|
|Robin CAP 10||X||X||X|
|Robin DR400-100 Cadet||X||X||X|
|Beechcraft Bonanza G36||X||X||X|
|Beechcraft King Air 350i||X||X||X|
|Cessna 172 Skyhawk (G1000)||X||X||X|
|Cessna 208 B Grand Caravan EX||X||X||X|
|Cessna Citation CJ4||X||X||X|
|Zlin Savage Cub||X||X||X|
|Beechcraft Baron G58||X||X|
|Cessna 152 Aerobat||X||X|
|Cessna 172 Skyhawk||X||X|
|Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner||X|
|Pipistrel Virus SW 121||X|
|Cessna Citation Longitude||X|
|Zlin Shock Ultra||X|
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 airports
According to Microsoft, players will be able to land and take off from around 37,000 airports around the world. However, 40 of these airports will have "hand-crafted" elements, offering more detail and other features. So, for instance, all players will be able to fly into San Francisco's airport, but only those who have the Premium Deluxe version will be able to see these hand-crafted items. Microsoft has not specified what the exact differences are between hand-crafted and non-handcrafted versions.
|Standard Edition||Deluxe Edition||Premium Deluxe Edition|
|Aspen/Pikin County (USA)||X||X||X|
|Bugalaga Airstrip (Indonesia)||X||X||X|
|Chagual Airport (Peru)||X||X||X|
|Courchevel Altiport (France)||X||X||X|
|Donegal Airport (Ireland)||X||X||X|
|Entebbe Int'l Airport (Uganda)||X||X||X|
|Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira Int'l Airport (Portugal)||X||X||X|
|Gibraltar Int'l Airport (UK)||X||X||X|
|Innsbruck Airport (Austria)||X||X||X|
|Los Angeles Int'l Airport (USA)||X||X||X|
|Tenzing-Hillary Airport (Nepal)||X||X||X|
|Nanwalek Airport (USA)||X||X||X|
|John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport (USA)||X||X||X|
|Orlando Int'l Airport (USA)||X||X||X|
|Paris Charles de Gaulle Int'l Airport (France)||X||X||X|
|Paro Int'l Airport (Bhutan)||X||X||X|
|Queenstown Airport (New Zealand)||X||X||X|
|Mariscal Sucre Int'l Airport (Ecuador)||X||X||X|
|Rio de Janeiro-Antonio Carlos Jobim Int'l Airport (Brazil)||X||X||X|
|Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (Dutch Saba)||X||X||X|
|Gustaf III Airport (France)||X||X||X|
|Seattle-Tacoma Int'l Airport (USA)||X||X||X|
|Sedona Airport (USA)||X||X||X|
|Sirena Aerodrome (Costa Rica)||X||X||X|
|Stewart Airport (Canada)||X||X||X|
|Sydney Airport (Australia)||X||X||X|
|Telluride Regional Airport (USA)||X||X||X|
|Haneda Airport (Japan)||X||X||X|
|Toncontin Int'l Airport (Honduras)||X||X||X|
|Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Canada)||X||X||X|
|Schiphol Airport (Netherlands)||X||X|
|Cairo Int'l Airport (Egypt)||X||X|
|Cape Town Int'l Airport (South Africa)||X||X|
|O'Hare Int'l Airport (USA)||X||X|
|Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas (Spain)||X||X|
|Denver Int'l Airport (USA)||X|
|Frankfurt Airport (Germany)||X|
|Heathrow Airport (UK)||X|
|San Francisco Int'l Airport (USA)||X|
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 map
As impressive as its aircraft modeling is, Microsoft Flight Simulator is also known for its highly accurate rendering of the Earth. The simulator relies on Microsoft's Bing Maps, and uses Microsoft's Azure AI to incorporate terrain data, foliage, as well as real-time weather for photorealistic graphics.
Microsoft Flight Simulator: Recommended peripherals
For those who plan to purchase Microsoft Flight Simulator, the company recommends the following peripherals, which include a variety of flight controls:
Extreme 3D Pro
Flight Rudder Pedals
Flight Throttle Quadrant
Flight Yoke System
Warthog HOTAS (stick + throttle)
T.Flight Stick X
T.16000M (stick only)
T.16000M FCS (stick + throttle + rudder)
T.Flight HOTAS 4
T.Flight HOTAS One
T.Flight HOTAS X
T-Flight Rudder Pedals
Xbox Adaptive Controller