In its first week on the market, the 2020 edition of "Microsoft Flight Simulator" has become one of the rare transportation simulators to fully transcend its niche audience and receive broader acclaim.
Released to the general public on Tuesday, it has at times approached the top of Twitch stream audience charts throughout the week and been lauded by most players.
Its crossover appeal compared to previous iterations of the title comes as the result of ultra-HD, three-dimensional renderings of buildings and landscapes across the world. Using Microsoft's satellite data and imagery around the world, the simulator is able to make full cities look just as they do in real life far beyond basic landmarks. Your real-life house, local farmer's market and workplace are likely visible in the simulator.
While the current need for a high-performing PC to run the program well makes "Microsoft Flight Simulator" somewhat inaccessible to casual players, interest in it from afar at least appears high at launch.
I have to say. Flight Simulator is an astonishing accomplishment. The sheer scale of it is mindblowing. I had close to 2K people watching me visit different cities and landmarks, playing ambient music, not really saying much...and it was one of the best streams in recent memory. pic.twitter.com/O3GRoi9Nci— Hutch (@hutchinson) August 18, 2020
Here's a look at how to download "Microsoft Flight Simulator" as well as some of the highlights people have discovered adventuring through its virtual world this week:
What is 'Microsoft Flight Simulator'?
The 2020 release is a much-anticipated continuation of a series that began in 1982. At this point of geographic detail in the game, "Microsoft Flight Simulator" can be used for its original purpose of figuring out the full experience of flying an aircraft or as an open-world tool to explore the planet. Much of the interest this week in the game has come from the latter desire.
'Microsoft Flight Simulator' gameplay highlights
Flight simulator absolutely nailed TIAA bank field pic.twitter.com/YlLSzMOd7p— frank (@617via904) August 18, 2020
This is why Flight Simulator is the Game Of The Year | Metacritic pic.twitter.com/x1xk15aZK6— Òscar (@orodrigzz) August 18, 2020
seeing my college in microsoft flight simulator felt so weird pic.twitter.com/tQttuhAJ7x— ivan (@ivanmusiccc) August 19, 2020
microsoft flight simulator is the BEST game in the world pic.twitter.com/EfYbhHF6Fk— Samuel Bateman (@samuelofc) August 19, 2020
Is 'Microsoft Flight Simulator' only available on PC?
For now, yes. But after the next-gen Xbox Series X releases later this year, it will be available there, too.
How can you download 'Microsoft Flight Simulator'?
The game is available for download straight from Microsoft or via Steam.
How much does 'Microsoft Flight Simulator' cost?
At launch, the standard edition price is $59.99, while the most advanced version will run buyers $119.99.