New Microsoft Flight Simulator Available: Free (Soon)

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is making big tweaks to its long-running Flight Simulator game, including the elimination of all charges for playing it. The game is also renamed without the word 'Simulator.' It's now referred to as "Microsoft Flight" and is rumored to be released in the Spring of 2012.

Microsoft's Flight Simulator titles have been among the most popular PC games since the first of the series was released back in 1982. (Source:

Since then, the games have always placed major emphasis on simulating real-world flight, a capability that separated Flight Simulator from most other flying games.

Blurring the Line Between Arcade and Simulation

The new Microsoft Flight, however, aims to attract both old-school flight simulation fans and modern gamers who tend to feel more comfortable blasting zombies or throwing virtual touchdowns.

To serve both audiences, Microsoft has included a slew of new game modes that blur the line between arcade games and accurate simulations.

"If I can take anybody and make them feel like a pilot, we've succeeded," said the new game's executive producer, Josh Howard. (Source:

Making Microsoft Flight accessible to everyone is also a major reason for Microsoft's decision to drop the initial price tag. Rather than order a digital copy online for $50 to $60, or head over to Best Buy, gamers will be able to download Microsoft Flight for free from the company's Games for Live database.

Additional Content Comes at a Price

However, gamers won't get access to all the available content for the free / premium price. At the outset, only a handful of planes will be available. If you want to fly anything more exciting, you'll have to cough up some cash. It's not yet known how much additional content items will cost. (Source:

Still, there's a lot to play with here. The game lets players soar above Hawaii, exploring the gorgeous landscape while piloting cutting-edge and classic planes.

Based on the game's hardware requirements, it appears the game's graphics will also be quite stunning: Microsoft recommends a PC with at least a 3.0 GHz dual-core processor, a Radeon HD 5670 or Nvidia GeForce 9800T graphics card (or better), 6GB RAM, and at least 30GB available hard drive space.

Microsoft Flight Download: Spring 2012 Release Likely

Although no official release date for Microsoft Flight has yet been set, some experts believe it could be available as early as this spring. (Source:

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