There's a big Microsoft Flight Simulator PC update, and it's almost as if last year's groundbreaking flight sim PC game is determined not to be overshadowed by the news the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles versions just launched.
Microsoft Flight Simulator remains one of the most graphically demanding PC titles ever. While gamers’ reactions to highly anticipated games can grow distorted and polarized, the flight sim’s 2020 release elicited memories of the Crysis launch in 2007. Gamers with medium-to-high-end PCs that can run other modern games on "Ultra" settings reported defaulting to a mere "Medium" on the highly taxing title.
Today’s PC update should help remedy those issues. The patch offers "significant performance improvements to make the experience more seamless," according to developer Asobo (opens in new tab). These tweaks include much better multi-core processor support, memory and GPU usage, and loading times. The patch also reduces stutters significantly.
The developers rewrote part of the engine's architecture to achieve today’s leap forward, as they recounted in a recent Twitch stream (opens in new tab).
The new Microsoft Flight Simulator PC patch should also improve VR performance, where every little frame-rate hiccup can have a more noticeable effect. The game's PC version supports VR headsets without any additional purchases.
Analysis: where Microsoft Flight Simulator stands today
Microsoft Flight Simulator is a staggering technical undertaking. Developers mapped out the entire world with Bing Maps, delivering a playable Earth with nearly photorealistic views. The game even includes real-time weather and traffic.
In TechRadar's review, we praised the flight sim's incredible graphics, attention to detail, and support for flight sticks and other peripherals. Our complaints were relatively minor, focusing on its difficulty for beginners, confusing range of editions, and widely varying airports.
Clearly, the work isn't done on the game, as PC gamers can download the update now or finally check it out on Xbox Game Pass, as it's available through the Microsoft all-you-can-play Netflix-style subscription game service.