Microsoft Flight Simulator Passes 12 Million Players; New MSFS 2024 Details & Much More Revealed

Published: June 23, 2023 7:10 PM /


Microsoft Flight Simulator Ford Trimotor

Today is the first day of FlightSimExpo in Houston, Texas, and both Microsoft and third-party developers had a ton of news to share about Microsoft Flight Simulator

We start with Microsoft itself, which hosted its own panel. We learn that the simulator has now passed 12 million players.

Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann then started talking about Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024, which he defined as the "biggest undertaking ever in flight simulation."

The first focus for the new simulator will be the "choose your pilot lifestyle" aviation activities. According to Neumann, of these 12 million players mentioned above, 3 million are core simmers, 3  million are core gamers, and the rest is more casual. The one thing that the feedback from all of these groups indicated is that they wanted more things to do. 

Neumann mentioned that the activities are not "gamey" at all. They're accurate simulations built in collaboration with real-world organizations that perform them. While the original trailer did not show airliners, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 will include "a lot of airliners." Fans will be "happily surprised."

In terms of technology, the architecture of the simulator has been reduced and a lot will be downloaded from the cloud, reducing installation and download times, on top of install sizes. Basically, players will download only what they actually need. Internet usage will also be reduced, and the minimum system specs will be preserved. 

It'll be backward compatible, and the community folder that we have now will remain the same. 

A new physics and aerodynamics engine will give aircraft creators "extreme control" over their products. This will also enable massive performance improvements thanks to multithreading, rigid and soft body simulation, and tissue and rope physics. Everything will be easy to author and backward compatible. Developers will be able to add new features easily and quickly.  You can check out an example visualizing the new physics on an aircraft and on a helicopter on Twitch.

We're also getting balloon physics for hot air balloons, with full aerodynamic simulation. You can check out what it looks like on Twitch.

New and Improved systems include electrical, pneumatic, fuel, and hydraulic systems, failure and wear & tear systems, payload & passenger systems, deeper & wider avionics packages, and the EFB flight tablet on default aircraft. 

In terms of the recreation of the planet, the new terrain system will start from the original TIN (Triangulated irregular network), detect the surface types using machine learning in Azure including bushes and trees, flatten the bushes and trees and replace them with 3D models, add 3D rocks matching the color of the TIN, and add surface materials and terrain maps. The final result can be seen below.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Terrain

Another system called "3D out of 2D" which converts satellite images to 50cm resolution digital elevation data. This will improve significantly the areas that Microsoft couldn't improve before due to the fact that photogrammetry requires actually flying over areas for long periods of time to acquire the data and is affected by external elements like weather or seasons. 

In terms of the Static World, the simulator will not only improve ground details as showcased above, but also add 3D tessellated ground materials, enhanced tree diversity, and improved cliffs.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Static World

In terms of what Microsoft defines as the "Dynamic World," four seasons will be implemented (Microsoft is actually considering to backport this to MSFS2020). We'll also get Aurora Borealis, tornados, supercells, improved storms, and more. 

Microsoft Flight Simulator World  

Moving on to the "Living World," animals will be showcased in herds and migrate, worldwide ship traffic will be implemented, live air traffic will be much more accurate and realistic (a "crazy" amount of AI plane models is being developed, and Microsoft will include as many liveries as possible), and vehicle traffic will be improved as well. 

Microsoft Flight Simulator World

We then go back to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, with the reveal of the Famous Flyer 6. It's the Ford 4-AT Trimotor and players are able to enjoy it for free for a week starting now. After that, they'll be able to decide whether to buy it or not on June 30. The price will be the usual $14.99. It comes with 5 liveries (Black Ford, Emerald Harbor, New Guinea, Spanish Republic, and World Travel) and three landing gear configurations (wheeled, floats, and skis).

Microsoft also revealed City Update Texas, including Abilene, Austin, Cedar Park, San Antonio, Schertz, Temple, and Waco. It's coming out for free on Friday, June 29.


Last, but not least, we learn that the next Local Legend (10) is the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, developed by Aeroplane Heaven.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Stratoliner

You can watch the full Microsoft keynote here.

Moving on to third-party announcements, IniBuilds provided an update for its Airbus A300-600. Let's start with a trailer.

Here's what the developer has to say about the aircraft:

Months have been spent completely re-creating the exterior model of our flagship aircraft, taking the visual experience to a whole new level. The aircraft uses a combination of 8K and 4K PBR textures, providing a spectacular experience akin to the real-life counterpart; realistic decals, wear & tear and dirt carefully placed across the aircraft. From accurate liveries to precise textures, you can expect an aircraft model that truly captures the essence of the iconic A300. This superb attention to detail transcends into the interior of the aircraft with a fully modelled cockpit & cargo interior that you can see below. With our extensive range of cargo loads, you can embark on exhilarating journeys to various destinations, each offering unique opportunities. Picture yourself transporting an F1 car to a thrilling race in Bahrain or taking precious cargo for an important client. The iniBuilds A300-600 Airliner provides you with an ultimate airliner experience embarking on extraordinary adventures, where the sky is no longer the limit.  We're also building something truly remarkable alongside the A300-600 that will take your cargo hauling adventures to the next level. Our innovative tool will enhance your experience and become your trusted companion. But that deserves its own post, and once we have completed this element of the product, we will showcase this! 

Key Features:

  • Comprehensive systems simulation alongside an authentic flight-model in line with all iniBuilds airliner products. The A300 for Microsoft Flight Simulator will feature an incredibly realistic flight model, meticulously designed to replicate the handling, performance, and behavior of the real-life aircraft. Get ready to experience the thrill of flying the A300 as if you were in the captain's seat!
  • Full ACARS/CPDLC simulation (including SimBrief) with the option for classic and modern pedestal options (like the X-Plane version)
  • Navigraph charts compatibility in a feature-rich EFB including comprehensive cargo operation simulation.
  • Numerous realistic and fictional liveries for free via iniManager.
  • Custom WWise sound set including authentic sound recordings from the real aircraft, dynamically balanced within a 3D environment.
  • A fully modelled Freighter (release version) & passenger version (post-release) of the A300-600 airliner. The passenger version will include a fully modelled cabin.

We will also be developing the 'Epic' modification, for those seeking a retro-modern combi experience! How this will be structured alongside the modern product is currently unclear and as always, we appreciate your support and patience throughout this development journey. We'll continue to provide updates as we make further strides towards completion. 

Incidentally, the developer also teased the reveal of a secret project that will provide "a modern long-haul airliner experience." The unveiling should come by the end of the year.

In the meanwhile, you can take a look at the screenshots of the Airbus A300 below. 


Just Flight announced the Airbus A300 B4. We get both a trailer and a description of what the package will include.

"We are thrilled to announce the development of the Just Flight A300B4 Professional for Microsoft Flight Simulator. The first wide-body twin-jet aircraft and pioneer of extended twin operating procedures (ETOPS), the A300 first flew in 1972, with the B4 variant following in 1975 and featuring an increased fuel capacity and improved high lift systems.

The study-level A300B4 Professional will include highly detailed exterior models with a choice of CF6 or JT9D engines, Cargo and Passenger configurations and realistic animations including dynamic wing flex, spoilers, flaps/slats and passenger and cargo doors.

It will also feature complex custom-coded systems based on real-world aircraft manuals, including hydraulic, electrical, fuel and pressurisation systes. Navigation systems will include custom INS and FMC, options for the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) panel and the A300’s N1 limit computer and autothrottle.

In the cockpit you'll find the Captain, Co-pilot, and Flight Engineer positions. They are meticulously modelled, with animated and functional switches, knobs, levers and gauges. The cockpit features highly detailed 8K and 4K textures, showcasing realistic wear and tear and lighting. With 3D Wwise sounds and accurate flight dynamics, A300B4 Professional from Just Flight will provide the ultimate experience of flying an 1970s three-crew steam-gauged aircraft."

FlightFX provided a new look at the cabin of the Piaggio P.180 Avanti II on its Discord Server. You can also take a look at an untextured 3D View.


A2A presented it Piper PA-24 Comanche 250 powered by the much-boasted AccuSim 2.0 engine. Not only do we get to see the highly-anticipated Comance being flown, but we also take a look at the advanced AccuSim 2.0 system, which looks extremely advanced and impressive. 

FastCow Productions introduced the Cicaré CH-8 helicopter, promising a detailed exterior model, accurate systems simulation, authentic flight model, failure simulation, and custom sounds. It's coming soon including the A and AR variants.   

We also get the reveal of a brand-new ATC solution named BeyondATC. You can check it out in the trailer below. It certainly looks promising and it's coming in 2023. Here's how the developers describe it:

BeyondATC is the modern ATC solution for the modern Sim. Boasting an impressive suite of features and utilizing the latest in AI technologies, BeyondATC delivers a realistic ATC solution for anywhere you fly. With over 100 highly realistic, non-robotic, human sounding voices, full AI assisted voice recognition and a complete database of real world procedures made in collaboration with actual air traffic controllers (both ICAO and FAA). BeyondATC features SimBrief integration out of the box, realistic controller accents based on area of the world you’re flying, lifelike communication (the controllers react to the situation you’re in responding to your actions in a realistic way) and many more BeyondATC is the new stock standard for your offline ATC needs.

Aero Dynamics presented a new trailer of the upcoming freeware McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender to celebrate McGuire AFB's last KC-10 departing for the boneyard. 

SoFly announced "Animals for MSFS" which promises to add many species to the simulator's scenery, including lions, sheep, pigs, whales, horses, and more. It will be released in 2023.

On the hardware side of things, Thrustmaster revealed the Viper TQS Mission Pack, a replica of the F-16 Viper's throttle quadrant. The full mission pack will cost $529.99/€499.99. The Throttle on its own will be priced at $349.99/€329.99. The control panel on its own will cost $249.99/€229.99. 

The release date is October 11, 2023, while pre-orders start on August 23. 

Viper TQS

Viper TQS

Honeycomb Aeronautical announced the Alpha Flight Controls Lite for $199.99. It's internally the same product as the current Alpha, but there is some cost-cutting in non-essential areas. 

Honeycomb Alpha Lite

Next is the Alpha Flight Controls Pro, an improved relaunch of the Alpha for $299.99. It'll come for both PC and Xbox.

Honeycomb Alpha Pro

The Flap Kit for the Bravo to simulate both Airbus and Boeing flap levers is coming for $29.99. It's coming in 2-3 months.

Honeycomb Flap Kit

The Xbox Hub to connect Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie to connect will cost $29.99. 

Xbox Hub

Honeycomb is also launching a High Power USB HUB for $49.99.

Honeycomb Hub

Unfortunately, the Charlie Rudder Pedals have been delayed due to a supply issue. The best case scenario is by 3 months, and the worst case scenario is Q1 2024. 

Last, but not least, we get the reveal of the Delta Flight Display in 12 inches and 7 inches format. The cost is $349.99 and $249.99 respectively.

Honeycomb Delta

Microsoft Flight Simulator is currently available for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, including Game Pass. If you'd like to learn more, you should stay tuned on TechRaptor as we have daily Microsoft Flight Simulator news to keep you updated on the many add-ons coming and released for the sim. We have also recently interviewed Microsoft's Jorg Neumann about the Antonov An-225 "Mriya" and iniBuilds' CEO Ubaid Mussa on the work of the popular third-party developer. If you're interested in reviews, you can check out Orbx's Stockholm Arlanda and Oslo Gardermoen AirportsiniBuilds' New York-JFK Airport, and RHDSimulations' Boeing 767-300ER.


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More Info About This Game
Learn more about Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020)
Asobo Studio
Xbox Game Studios
Release Date
August 18, 2020 (Calendar)
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