Microsoft Flight Simulator GOTY update is free with DX12 support for smoother frame rates

Microsoft Flight Simulator view out of cockpit
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Flight Simulator has a Game of the Year (GOTY) edition coming on November 18, with a raft of new content, plus a couple of much-awaited features including DX12 support (with a caveat – more on that later). And the good news is that those who already own the game will get all this as a free update, on both PC and Xbox Series X and S consoles.

The new features introduced with the GOTY package include DX12 as mentioned, plus an updated weather system is also promised. Furthermore, a dev mode replay system will be introduced.

On the content front, we’re looking at additional tutorial options, which will be great for beginners starting with Flight Simulator for the first time, and fresh discovery flights with six more locations (including Mecca, Monument Valley, and Mount Cook).

Five new aircraft are also being introduced, with eight new airports in the US (including Patrick Space Force Base) and Europe (Germany and Switzerland to be precise).

Finally, more photogrammetry cities are being fleshed out courtesy of data from Bing Maps, and that includes a number of UK locations: Brighton, Derby, Eastbourne, Newcastle, and Nottingham.

Analysis: Military jets and DX12 – but only early support for the latter

This is a big content drop, and it’s great that existing owners of Microsoft Flight Simulator get it all via an update piped through for free. There’s plenty of excitement around one of the new planes in particular, with the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet being the first military jet to make an appearance in Flight Simulator; a good number of folks are looking forward to taking that out for a spin.

The features are also cool, with a replay system making for an interesting and useful addition, even if it’s dev mode only to start with – the theory is with further work, it should arrive as a full feature. And of course DX12 has been something the community has been wanting for some time now – some gamers even venting frustration at how long it has taken – because it should (hopefully) bring better performance levels to this demanding sim, helping out struggling processors.

At least in theory, anyway, but the catch here is that DX12 will be in ‘early access’ to begin with, meaning that it’ll be present and usable, but still under development and possibly glitchy as a result. Performance results may be variable then, initially, but going forward we can keep our fingers crossed for some relief for stressed-out CPUs.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).