Despite a launch marred by calamitous community engagement, Microsoft Flight Simulator manages to soar above and beyond expectations.

It’s regrettable that this is even part of a game review but I should explain what I mean by “calamitous community engagement”. I checked out the official social media pages/servers/subreddit for the game before writing this and I was honestly taken aback. If you’re active on social media in anticipation of Microsoft Flight Simulator today, you’ll have noticed scores of people seemingly being warned by community moderators on the official Microsoft Flight Simulator discord server and reddit pages for taking advantage of a harmless workaround that allowed users to access the title they’ve paid for just a few hours earlier than they normally would by changing their home region on Windows to one closer to the international date line.

The surreal part was watching many users be told by moderators (absolutely incorrectly) that accessing the game earlier could see them facing fines or worse, jail time. When this was pointed out by users on the server, the moderation team declared that it was “fake news” but you can see some of what happened for yourself below.

It is absolutely astonishing that this has happened, let the gravity of the following sink in and keep in mind this is an official communications channel for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This is very, very unusual.

Rather ominous messages.

There is even a warning in place right now on the reddit page (originally posted by a Microsoft employee on the discord discussion server that states “What you decide to do with your timezones is your own business, but we don’t allow chatting about it here. We will take action when necessary”.

Yikes, Streisand Effect anyone?

The approach to community engagement at the launch of one of the most anticipated games in recent years is genuinely astonishing as it appears to be turning players and simmers away from the official community channels. Hopefully this is not going to be a permanent feature and hopefully it will be sorted out.

The game itself is amazing and can only get better, let’s take a look!

Glasgow in MSFS – Image via DrawyahYT.

On to the game!

I’m currently above Glasgow and despite a few small errors in building generation, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a video of an airliner flying over the Scottish city. It is stunning. My home is the same shape and colour, it looks great from up here.

This software is truly a wonder. The clouds and the light are majestic and the fact you can change all of the weather settings in real time is even more of a technical achievement, no more reloading the game when you change a setting.

This level of detail is possible because the simulator generates the environment using satellite data from Bing Maps. The software brings the map to life as it intelligently fills it in with trees, buildings and even traffic on the roads. Mountains are where they are due to quite accurate elevation data, the hill beside your house might not be there but it probably is. You can even use live weather data, meaning that if it’s raining in Glasgow in real life, it’ll be raining in the game too.

There are around 37,000 airports in the game, 1.5 billion buildings and two trillion trees all in roughly where they’re supposed to be. I grew up on Microsoft Flight Simulators, all the way up to Flight Simulator X. This is incomparable. This is an entirely new generation.

Glasgow in MSFS – Image via DrawyahYT.

The sheer scope of this game, the sheer beauty of what it presents is attracting thousands of people that would never normally play something like this but don’t worry, Microsoft is well aware of this. Many ‘assists’ can be switched on or off, meaning you can pretty much let the software handle whatever you don’t want to and just enjoy the experience. Or, if you prefer, you can work with every switch and checklist needed to simply start the engines.

Snowy new Microsoft Flight Simulator looks lovely | Rock Paper Shotgun
Image via Microsoft.

Microsoft Flight Simulator also allows the player interact with real-world storms as they occur in real-time, can you believe that?

This is suited to everyone and it’s only going to improve with third party aircraft, scenery and airports!

What are the specs?

Here you go.

Click to enlarge.

When is it out?

Now on the Microsoft Store and on Steam.

Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer shows off snowy weather | EGM
Image via Microsoft – New York in the Snow.

A special thank you to DrawyahYT for the high quality images. His twitter can be found here and his YouTube channel can be found here, enjoy! Additionally, it should be noted that DrawyahYT has had no involvement with our reporting above and no involvement with any issues on the Microsoft Flight Simulator discord server.

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Interesting seeing Glasgow from above.


Those “official communications” are not from MS Employees. They are moderators of a chat room about MSFS. Please do your research.


Jayne has said nothing of the sort. The people you have quoted are fanbase moderators. You are unjustified in attacking them.


Jayne was referring to discussion of it within a space that may encourage doing it.

As for the act itself, she’s clearly turning a blind eye.

Rob Collinson

What about those of us using Mac computers?


Unfortunately for you, by now the only way is getting a Windows. For what I heard about it they won’t release a Linux or Mac version.

Les R

It’s unlikely this will ever be available for MacOS. For an advanced sim get XPlane 11 instead and use 3rd party add ins for better scenery data, textures and objects. For something that looks good and is easier to get into try Aerofly FS.


Use bootcamp.

Rob Collinson

Why would i want to infect my lovely MacBook Pro with such an inferior operating system?


To run MSFS presumably? “People with the power to create use an Apple, and people with jobs use PC’s” 😉


I see my comment didn’t make it past moderation. You have made an error in highlighting those “official communications” as they are not official communications. They are from a FAN made Discord server.


Who cares. Move on.


Sorry, but why are we discussing MS Flight Simulator (and getting all hot and bothered about) on UKDJ?


I’m guessing because George is a fan and this is his website.


RobW… you’re right, of course. He puts enough effort into UKDJ, which we all appreciate, so why not digress once in a while?


Apologies for my earlier comment, George. Keep up the good work!

HMS Monarch

Makes a nice change from laughing at SNP hardliners and moaning about the Type 26s


Lol and listing vast fantasy fleets including HMS Massive.


Come on rob, very few here ask for a vast fleet again,just enough to fore fill all commitments and survive in a fight. Asking for another 5 escorts is not fantasy fleet stuff for the 6th biggest economy in the world.


It was a joke but some people consistently list unrealistic expectations, but yes 23 to 24 escorts would hopefully not be beyond the realm of possibility. T31 is our best hope for that.


This may be a very very stupid question, but is this similar to the software actual pilots use to train (only in a cockpit simulator obviously)?


Considering it’s accuracy, how useful is it in preventing or practicing events like 9-11? Or on a lighter note, planing smuggling routes.

Regarding aircraft, from past experience the smaller aircraft are fairly accurate. Not really sure about the large ones with all the added tech onboard. Watching aircraft investigation makes me realize all the stuff they added to those giants since I played the 98 version.

One of the fun things with games like these is trying things you’d never do in real life. Regardless of whether you have a pilots license or not.

John Clark

I have to say work precludes flight Sims these days, but this does look like a beautiful piece of work….

It certainly has moved on, I watched a FS2020 YouTube flight from Edinburgh to Aberdeen and it’s very impressive, an immersive and accurate environment with stunning visuals.

It certainly does have defence applications, an interesting piece George.


You need a VERY fast PC to be able to get the really good graphics in this game and also a very fast internet connection. Otherwise it looks about the same as the other flightsims out there. If you want the more realistic flight models then X-Plane is still the best choice IMHO.