Department of Bad Business Timing: Microsoft Flight Simulator released today

For the first time in 14 years, as of today it is possible to buy a new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. How’s that for bad timing? If this thing had been released in mid-March, after 13.5 years instead of 14, when governors had locked Americans down into their electronic home bubbles, how much more money would it have made?

The Icon A5 is included! Also the Airbus A320. You need to spring for the Premium edition to get the Cirrus SR22.

Who has tried out this new game? How great is it?


15 thoughts on “Department of Bad Business Timing: Microsoft Flight Simulator released today

  1. Just in time for school! It’s not perfect timing but considering the state of the airline industry in the next year or 10, it’s still pretty good. People are going to be simulating flights for a long time to come.

    “Flight Simulator will populate the world with animals and roads with vehicles, water will flow realistically based on wind direction, grass will have individual grass blades and trees will have individual leaves, creating the illusion of a living world.”

    I have to say the trailers look awesome. Hopefully the slightly late release date indicates they put a lot of work into it. You need a pretty good hardware to run it: minimum 2GB VRAM and a midrange GPU. You could run the original on a 4.77Mhz 8088 PC with 256kb and a 4-color 320×200 CGA display (by the way it doesn’t work 100% in this emulator, not surprising because the original FS was very dependent on the hardware being True Blue, but this is a very cool website).

    I have a romantic attachment to Flight Simulator so I wish them a lot of success.

  2. BBC video (3 min 31 sec.):

    The drum altimeter shown in the BBC video was specifically condemned as an example of bad instrument design in a recently-rerun episode of “Air Disasters” on the Smithsonian Channel. The dial pointer that indicates hundreds of feet covered the drum that indicates thousands of feet at a crucial point in a flight, causing the pilot to overestimate his altitude by 1,000 feet. Not good when a forest lies ahead.

  3. > “You need a pretty good hardware to run it: minimum 2GB VRAM and a midrange GPU.”

    Midrange GDDR VRAM is really now 4-6GB. 😉 High resolution 32-bit per component float [IEEE-754!] and even half-float images and textures consume gobs of memory! 8-bit is for the old days (i.e. “draft quality”)! My (getting more obsolete every day) NVIDIA M6000 card has 24GB (though I am a video guy, not a gamer). I do remember SGI’s flight simulator though. That was nice (and way ahead of its time):

    • @Mike: That’s awesome! I forgot that game ever existed. At least the New York Times liked it at the time!

      “L.R. Shannon of The New York Times called it an “entertaining and educational” program.”

      The original version of the game got pretty good reviews, but the sequels were more controversial…

      “Lasky considered the copy protection to be “elaborate and annoying”, and stated that the popup comments “are always inane and often sexist.”

      “Rick Ratliff of Detroit Free Press stated that people would “despise” Trump Castle II if they “hate spending lots of money for a computer game that turns out to be a flagrant and relentless advertisement”, stating that every aspect of the game “is a shameless attempt to dazzle you with the wonders of this over-glitzed hotel.” Ratliff considered the gambling games to be “perhaps the most insidious” aspect of Trump Castle II, and rated the game zero out of four stars.[25] Jeane DeCoster and David Crook of the Los Angeles Times considered it an “absolutely awful excuse” for a computer game, calling it an “absurd tour” of Trump Castle and criticizing the “promo-style” images of the resort’s areas. DeCoster and Crook stated that the gambling games were done well enough that they might satisfy people who enjoy gambling. However, they rated the overall game one star out of five and concluded that there “is no excuse for a program this dumb.”[2]”

  4. I’m not a pilot, but I used to be a big fan of the original FS all the way till about 15 years ago. The videos that I see now on Youtube and what the team has achieved is amazing. I’m in no rush to buy it but I want to try it out. However, all that can change for me once they have a VR for it which they said will later this year. If with the VR I’m able to get 1/2 the high definition quality that I see in FS2020 on my current laptop (3 yr old), I will be tempted not to buy it (I have no desire to buy a new hardware for the game).

    • @Karen, can you share with us your CPU & GPU configuration? I would like to know if my laptop will handle it. Mine is i7-6820HQ @ 2.7 and NVIDIA Quadro M1000M & Intel HD Graphics 530.

      @Phil, I hope its OK to post off topic.

  5. Surprised anyone in Redmond still believed there was a market for MS Flight Simulator. It had become a niche market after the rise of first person shooters, phone games, & X Plane. MS didn’t make games anymore. If anyone at MS still worked on it, it was a hobby. Fully expect it to be a 1 & done release.

  6. DARPA’s AI F-16 pilot simulator destroyed its human opponent 5-0.

    Heron Systems: “Founded in 1993, Heron Systems is a woman-owned, small disadvantaged business with locations in California, MD and Alexandria, VA. Heron Systems builds practical, deployable autonomous agents and multi-agent systems powered by artificial intelligence.”

    Woman-Owned Small Business
    Minority-Owned Small Business
    Small Disadvantaged Business

    How many more years will men be piloting military jets in combat missions? If the AI can beat the best human pilots now, the Air Force can’t wait too long before it has to put it in the cockpit to fly against the Chinese and Russian fighters that have it. You have to have a Secret Security Clearance to work for Heron, so what’s the over/under on how long it will take the Chinese to exfiltrate their technology?

    Every time something like this happens, they’re quick to note the disclaimer:
    “AI still has a long way to go before the Air Force pilots would be ready to hand over the stick to an artificial intelligence during combat, DARPA officials said during today’s live broadcast of the AlphaDogfight trials.”

    Yeah, right. The time horizon is maybe five whole years. No more cocky fighter jocks. They’ve been replaced by a woman-owned, minority disadvantaged business.

    • Why should any kid 10 years old buy a copy of Flight Simulator in the hope of one day being a pilot, particularly in the military? By the time they graduate from the Air Force Academy, what roles will be left for humans? Checking the tire pressure? Flipping burgers in the mess hall?

      Kids today don’t need to learn how to fly planes or study engineering. They already sense that, which is why they’re playing Roblox instead:

      “Though Roblox doesn’t disclose the ages of its users, it does say that the majority of them are under 18—and that at least half of U.S. kids ages 16 and under are on the platform. Roblox today is the product of its over 150 million monthly active users. What began as a sandbox now resembles a scrappy cybernation of teens and tweens whose population rivals that of Japan. And the dollars are real: Players poured more than $490 million into Roblox via mobile devices in the first half of 2020 alone, according to Sensor Tower data.”

  7. Sucks. Tried to take the Cessna CJ4 up to FL340 and 400 knots between Ascent and Descent phases to see top-level clouds and kill time. The AI doesn’t know how to keep the Airspeed below 250.2 below 10,000′ so it continuously pops up a warning about going to fast for below 10,000′

    But then it doesn’t think anything over 138 knots is slow enough. Specs are Ceiling FL 450 and 452 knots. But the AI sure couldn’t handle it. I am “assuming” that the AI “is” the autopilot.

    After I plugged in a more reasonable IFR plan at FL340 and 400 knots it red-lined the engines and called out “OVERSPEED! OVERSPEED! OVERSPEED” for anything above 138 knots. I wonder if

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