Microsoft Flight Simulator was lauded as a stunning technical achievement when it launched last year, using innovative technology to functionally map the entire world. There was just one problem: a lot of people couldn’t actually play it, at least not with out some serious compromises.
With Microsoft Flight Simulator’s extremely heavy CPU load, even high-end PC owners rocking an RTX 3080 graphics card frequently struggled to hit 60fps. Mid-range setups fared far worse. If you didn’t have a really good processor, you were most likely out of luck, even if you had a powerful GPU.
Close to a year later, Asobo is introducing some substantial updates to Microsoft Flight Simulator. In a livestream showcasing the forthcoming Sim Update 5, the development team did a compare and contrast between the two versions. The differences were striking. Where Sim Update 4 struggled to stay about 30fps with a 100 percent CPU load, Sim Update 5 hit a cool 60fps on Ultra Settings using real flying conditions — and all this on an i7-9700k rig with an RTX 2060 Super graphics card. Not too shabby.
Have you played Microsoft Flight Simulator?
”We have re-written a lot of the parts of the engine […] in order to get the maximum performance from the Sim and the minimum resources from memory,” said Sebastian Wloch, co-founder of Asobo Studio.
32 of Microsoft Flight Simulator’s 37,000 Airports
On top of the improvements to the PC version, Asobo also revealed some of the specs for the Xbox Series X|S version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The studio confirmed that Xbox Series X will run Microsoft Flight Simulator in 4K while Xbox Series S will render it in 1080p. Both consoles will run in 30fps on most TVs, though it will be possible to play with an unlocked framerate on variable refresh rate monitors.
We awarded Microsoft Flight Simulator a perfect score when it launched last year on PC, lauding it as “legitimately incredible.” It has since seen several updates and other improvements. Sim Update 5 is slated to launch July 27 — the same day as the Xbox Series X|S release.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN.
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