Microsoft Flight Simulator Series to Live On, But Not From Microsoft [Update]

The new Flight Simulator game will use Microsoft's tech, but not the series' old name.

Update: Unfortunately, it doesn't sound as if the Steam Edition of Flight Simulator X will feature any improvements. Dovetail told GameSpot, "We have the license to re-release FSX on Steam and this does not extend to making product improvements. However, we will include all possible bug fixes we can. One area that will require some work is the use that FSX made use of GameSpy for multiplayer features. As you may know, GameSpy is no longer available and so we are looking for alternate ways of providing this functionality including using features in Steam."

Additionally, Dovetail says the new game it's working on won't actually be called Microsoft Flight Simulator; it will simply be using Microsoft's technology. As of yet, there is no title for the new game coming next year.

Original Story: With the former Microsoft Flight Simulator series effectively shut down years ago and the free-to-play experiment Microsoft Flight being abandoned, it would be easy to assume the series doesn't have a future. In fact, there are big plans for the franchise, but not from Microsoft: Dovetail Games, the studio responsible for the Train Simulator series, has announced that it has secured the rights to the series and plans to both re-release one of the series' best games and to develop new ones.

Dovetail's announcement today is for a global licensing deal with Microsoft. What that means is the company now owns the rights to develop new games using the technology from Microsoft's games--rights it plans to put to use by releasing a new game of some sort in 2015.

While working on that new project, Dovetail will re-release 2006's Flight Simulator X: Gold Edition--the final game in the proper Flight Simulator series, pictured above and to the right--through Steam. Known as Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition, this version of the game will include all of the content from the Deluxe Edition and the Acceleration expansion pack. It's expected out on PC in "late 2014." We don't yet know whether the game will sport any improvements or additions (be it a visual overhaul or support for Steam features), but we've contacted Dovetail to learn more.

This announcement comes just days after Microsoft announced that online multiplayer servers for Microsoft Flight would be shut down this October, although the single-player will remain "largely intact." Fans still playing will already have become accustomed to not getting any new content, as Microsoft ceased development on the title in 2012. Prior to that, in 2009, Microsoft shut down Aces Studio, the former publisher of the Flight Simulator series, signaling what appeared at the time to be the end of the series.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has spoken this year about Microsoft's recommitment to PC gaming. While these Flight Simulator developments aren't internal projects, at least Microsoft has chosen to hand the franchise off to a studio with an established history of making simulator games.

Are you still interested in the Flight Simulator series? What would you like to see from next year's game? Let us know in the comments.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

65 comments
racklefratz
racklefratz

OK, so if I interpret correctly what's been said so far, this development (pardon the pun) is win-win for MS and Dovetail, and a major zip-point-nada for simmers.  MS pockets money on the licensing deal, Dovetail makes some money getting it played on Steam, and simmers get the same old FSX with nothing added.  Anyone at home think this is great?

I don't blame MS and Dovetail for trying to make a buck, that's business.  But the buck won't be coming out of my wallet.

nicky9499
nicky9499

Dovetail only has permission to rebrand and release. Unlike LM's P3D, this deal does not allow Dovetail to implement any graphical updates to FSX. Going by Dovetail's track record with Railworks, they are just trying to squeeze every bit of money out of FSX with the rebrand and releasing their own DLC.


For example, did you know that if you created an add-on for Railworks and released it on Steam, you are not allowed to create or release the same add on for any other sim?


Dovetail is a horrible company and this is nothing to get excited about. We already have proper sims not riddled with DRM and in-game DLC advertising like FSX and P3D, both of which readily available. There are zero reasons one should buy an 8-year-old game just because it's being put on Steam and given a fancy main menu.

tech_nobody
tech_nobody

The architecture of PC's has changed considerably since FSX was released. I would like to see a new Flight Simulator program take advantage of this. Namely support for multi-chip cpu's and the latest graphic chip architecture.

Look at the new game consoles. They run HD 1080p graphics at 60 frames per second or better. And the graphics are amazing. Imagine what Flight Simulator would look like running in this environment! Most of tweaked FSX just to run at 30 fps.

Also don't lose support for all add on scenery and airplanes that is available with FSX. These are one of the great legacies of FSX.

That is what I want to see in a new Flight Simulator program. Forget FSX on steam!

Smosh150
Smosh150

Well, this update makes the re-release near useless except for people wanting to have it show up on Steam. I guess the servers could be nice, but that is fairly unimportant considering most people use Vatsim for multiplayer.

daabulls23
daabulls23

"Flight" was a huge, huge flop. Hopefully Dovetail releases the next game where you can fly the whole world without having to buy a new state or country for $30.

kate_jones
kate_jones

If they fix dx10 support so it doesn't have missing textures and flickering runways I'd be happy, and not break the support for the million addons 3rd parties have made.

ClusterBlaster
ClusterBlaster

FSX was one game that remained on my system for years even installed it on new systems. Loved everything about it. Grew up with FS3 which came on 3.5" floppy disks. It's unfortunate that such legendary piece of software is no longer supported. I do wish that some other studio takes this up & provides more support. Nothing like flying a Learjet or a Bombardier through real time weather. All flight games nowadays really suck with zero realism. 

rullyfr
rullyfr

I can't wait to play these Improvement. Also Bug fixes especially for Win 8.1

lomar07
lomar07

It's been ages since I played this.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

I guess that means we can expect a new flight sim with $4,000 worth of DLC then.  Great.  Just what everyone wanted.

Smosh150
Smosh150

Nice choice for a picture on this article, even if it is the vanilla 737 NG, it is still my favorite aircraft(PMDG's that is,).

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

dont forget the real life pilot tutorials, they were awesome, i almost felt like i was in a real flight school. Well, real with an added XBOX controller!!!


I think an Xbox controller could handle a 747 easy, they just havent tried it.

Halloll
Halloll

you don't simply call a simulator "game"

Smosh150
Smosh150

Probably not worth the switch, rather stick with Prepar3d atm, I have more faith in Lockheed Martin than I do with Dovetail.

IndremaLover
IndremaLover

This article suggests the console market will get shafted again with no flight simulators.    That would (continue to) suck.

Blade_Runner22
Blade_Runner22

Oh god get ready to pay for each airplane and each airport as separate DLC :(

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

I got something in pants going on right now

allever
allever

Prepar3d is way ahead right now.  If they can't match or beat Prepar3d, then it's pointless. 

walterg74
walterg74

Yeah you clearly have been out of it. While microsoft may have abandoned support, the game is largely supported by the community and lots of vendord making airplanes, scenery, weather, effects, etc and the game looks beautiful. Also there are a lot of other games as well with full realism for flying, like x-plane, rise of flight, dcs world, etc. So stating that there isn't just confuses people with your ignorance...

Smosh150
Smosh150

@ClusterBlaster It is unfortunate, however I wouldn't say all, I'd give X-plane 10 some credit and definitely Prepar3d(even if it is a better version of FSX).

ztype85
ztype85

@jinzo9988 There's already thousands of dollars of payware available for FSX

Smosh150
Smosh150

@nyran125tk lol idk, had my friend fly the pmdg 747 with an xbox controller, it was a disaster, granted we were landing at Kai Tek so that just adds to the difficulty. Haven't tried it myself, rather use my yoke, adds to the immersion plus it is more "accurate".

Smosh150
Smosh150

@Halloll When it is marketed for consumer entertainment you can, I have flown on Prepar3d, FSX, FS2004(FS9), and X-plane 10 and do so nearly every day, I have put 1000's of hours into them all, even if you are flying payware aircraft that are designed for actual training purposes such as PMDG's products, you can still call it a game. There is nothing wrong with it, the only one I would hesitate on would be Prepar3d since it was marketed to Airlines, instructors, and others of the like, however many still use it including myself for entertainment because I love aviation.

pongley
pongley

@IndremaLover Flight Simulator X has the entire planet, to scale as far as I know. PCs can barely handle it so it's very unlikely a console would.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@IndremaLover Commercial flight sims most certainly will never be on console, however there may be some, but more realistic flight sims including commercial, general aviation, and even combat are very unlikely to come to a console. For commercial and general aviation the reason is simply payware developers will not go to consoles, which is what makes Flight Sims popular. Some more reasons would be lack of proper peripherals, harder to develop for, less audience on consoles(even if there are many flight simmers who do play consoles), etc. As for combat flight sims they will not be creating such a vast world as other flight sim games so there is more of a chance as well as in many combat flight sims 3rd party development is not relied upon to have proper aircraft. Regardless it is still bleak and will remain that way for a very long time on consoles. Warthunder will probably be the best consoles are going to get.

Blade_Runner22
Blade_Runner22

@IndremaLover Have you tried War Thunder? It's a full flight sim, it's on consoles, and it's for free.

If you don't mind it being a COMBAT flight sim set in WWII.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@Blade_Runner22 You already do that lol, anyone who plays FS2004 FSX, X-plane, or Prepar3d and likes well developed aircraft/scenery/etc buys 3rd party aircraft from other developers as the vanilla planes are crap, except for Prepar3d's as that includes some payware since it is actually designed for flight schools and the likes. Visit simmarket and you will see how it is like that.

kate_jones
kate_jones

@Smosh150 @ClusterBlaster Prepar3d is not something home simmers can buy :( was looking into it just the other day, seems piracy is the only option there.


I have xplane 9 and decided to try the xplane 10 demo after upgrading my system and it still runs as bad as fsx does. It does deserve some credit though as a modern atlernative to FSX.


although not civilian DCS World, IL-2 Clod (with tf 4.31 installed) and IL-2 BoS all run very smooth and provide better flight models and detail than those in FSX or Xplane (very few FSX addons like A2A's will surpass IL2 but be equal to the equally priced DCS products)  

walterg74
walterg74

So going by your reasoning ut's nit qhat the siftware actually does but rathe who it's marketed towards... Right...

Smosh150
Smosh150

@pongley @IndremaLover True enough, however I will play the devil's advocate on this comment and just say that is because Microsoft did a lousy job in terms of optimization, I mean really lousy, as in there is no worse.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@Blade_Runner22 @IndremaLover It isn't bad, but for many WW2 flight enthusiasts it isn't up to the realism level as others like IL2 COD. I don't mean Warthunder is bad, just that the Flight Model for their aircraft are highly unrealistic among other things, it is fun though I will admit.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@MigGui @Blade_Runner22 That is about how it is now, IK I have already spent $300-500 (excluding the base game and all of my peripherals, I've lost track tbh), along with much of the flight sim community sinking in thousands of dollars more into just addons themselves. Granted payware addons are 3rd party.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@Blade_Runner22 *3rd party addons* Made the mistake of not correcting my whole comment.

allever
allever

@PETERAKO @allever  Huh?  P3D is using the same engine as Flight Simulator X, but they have improve on it with the latest technologies.  They serve a difference audience per say because they are restricted by a license deal with MS.  But make no mistake, it's just like FSX.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@kate_jones @Smosh150 @ClusterBlaster You said piracy is the only option? I don't see what you mean, I literally just bought and installed the academic license 4 days ago with no hassle or security checks after I had tried the torrent with my friend(we were testing to see if there was a performance increase, some will say it is wrong, but I had to know), heck it was easier to buy and install than it was for FSX. We even convinced nearly half of our VA to pick it up. Maybe they changed something, but you should try it again and actually go to the last screen of the purchasing window, or heck just buy it if you want, because I assure you that you are able to buy it no problem. I guess we just had different experiences on X-plane 10, I got full 60 fps with max settings so I don't know what happened with yours. I agree with the last part of your comment entirely, a friend shared his A2A P-51 about 2 months ago with me and that plane was absolutely amazing, I have yet to try the DCS version of the P-51, but that A2A one is incredible.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@walterg74 Anyways I really don't want to get into an argument about this, you can say what you need to say, but you sound like a fellow enthusiast so I don't see the point of arguing on such a miniscule little detail. Call it a simulator call it a game, to each their own. I just feel if I continue, I may get a bit more hostile than I prefer to be, too much stuff to do the last few days. Say what you need as a counterpoint if you will though.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@walterg74 Well if you don't believe me look it up, Microsoft Flight Simulator X is described as a game while Prepar3d is described as a Simulator Platform. It isn't my opinion, it is what it is. I wasn't meaning you can't call Prepar3d a game, just that many would correct you on that one because of its purpose compared to FSX where its original purpose was for gamers, which it still says for gamers and flight simmers on the store page.

MigGui
MigGui

@Smosh150 great. then they bought the right franchise.

but train simulator's add-ons aren't third party.

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@allever @PETERAKO missions, tutorials, acheivements and all?

kate_jones
kate_jones

@Smosh150 Ah nice, is there much performance increase with prepar3d over fsx? I think the xplane 10 demo might have performance issues compared to the full version. I have an I7 cpu 8gb ram and nvidia 760 gtx, I get about 15-45 fps in fsx depending on altitude


I have the A2A accusim spitfire (thats the bar I use against all sims) and Pipercub, and picked up the dcs p51 for 9 bucks in the steam sale, it is of similar quality for sure. After the failure of DCS ww2 they are going to release all the planes individually into DCS world. with the FW 190 dora coming out next month.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@MigGui @Smosh150 Sorry, had less than a minute to write that last comment. Yes you are right, I bet they will make quite a few scenery addons that will cost a lot, but I doubt they will touch making aircraft and the like as that takes far too long and requires a lot of resources, gathering information on an aircraft, getting the rights, etc, not to mention even if they did try to make some that would be possible for them like general aviation aircraft, they most likely would not be able to be comparable to others. However with that said I am still not sure that they would make a ton of scenery DLC's, I mean there are so many out there with incredible quality, they may try to make them, but I think that they must realize that they will not be able to compete with all of the scenery developers out there. This comment is a mess IK, I am still typing fast, but to sum it up, I feel that they may realize that they will not be able to compete very well with 3rd party developers unless they want to do a lot of freeware, the FS community in terms of addons is very competitive and already has a ton of addons covering multiple airports, countries, aircraft, services, etc. This team would really have to step up and do some pretty amazing things to actually compete, so I just feel despite their history they may forgo all the 100's of DLC stuff.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@MigGui @Smosh150 It is still FSX is the prob, and these devs don't have the time or exp to make aircraft at the level that PMDG and other devs can, it would take 6 years for them to prob do 2 major commercial airliners such as a 737 or 747 if not more.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@PETERAKO Guess my comment never made it through, oh well time to try again. Explain to me why P3D is not fit for the average consumer, because Lockheed says it isn't? From what I have seen in my version which is just the Academic License it is just a greatly improved FSX, Lack of missions, yea there is a lack of them, but who plays Flight Sims for the missions? Not to mention that there is plenty of freeware and payware mission packs out there. Tutorials, it is designed for training instructors to make their own(you can also use it to create scenarios aka missions), it even has many built in helping functions such as an option that displays physical circles to fly through in order to maintain a 3 degree glidesplope. As for tutorials on cockpit interaction and how to work the systems, that wouldn't make sense for P3D to include that, such tutorials will always be included with payware aircraft(and some freeware) from 3rd party developers, granted some do not make tutorials for their aircraft other than a user manual, but youtube is always your best bet for learning how to properly use an aircraft, along with the manual, and experimentation. As for achievements, why do we need those for a flight sim, lets see an example "Hard Landing: Landed an aircraft with a V/S of 350+". Do you really want achievements in this? To add, Prepar3d can be purchased easily from their site with no verification as to whether you are using this for entertainment or training, in fact Lockheed seems to not care, they are just forced to include that in their TOS due to their contract with MS, they seem like they would rather turn a blind eye to such happenings.

Smosh150
Smosh150

@kate_jones @Smosh150 Bit of a late reply, went camping and had no internet. Anyways my setup is an I7 2600k, GTX 670 4gb, and 16gb of RAM and was getting about the same performance as you on FSX(excluding the Imaginesim KATL where I get like 2 fps), anyways for me in Prepar3d I have got solid 30(locked it at 30) in every aircraft except the NGX, the NGX gives me about 15-20 on the ground. It may be a bit different for you, but my friend and I have noticed a major performance increase.

MigGui
MigGui

@Smosh150 @MigGui although I agree with your reasoning, I don't agree with your conclusion. even though their DLC shall be pretty bad from your point of view, with no chance of competing with 3rd party add-ons, I think they'll release them either way...