In a piece of news that’s rife with opportunities for puns, none of which I will make, Microsoft announced that the latest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator is now on its Cloud Gaming platform.
This is the eleventh game in the core series, and the first version of Flight Simulator since the tenth one, X, in 2006. It premiered as a PC game in 2020 and later became a console exclusive for the Xbox Series X | S in 2021.
With the move to Cloud Gaming, Flight Simulator is now available with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription on Xbox One consoles, older computers, and compatible phones and tablets. Naturally, this effectively limits Flight Simulator to the 26 countries, at the time of writing, where Xbox Cloud Gaming is available.
As with other Xbox Cloud Gaming titles, whatever device you’re playing on is only really used to create a video connection. This lets you connect to and run Flight Simulator on Microsoft’s cloud hardware without need for local installation, a lengthy boot-up process, or even hardware that’s technically capable of running the game.
As a necessary downside, however, it does use up a significant amount of bandwidth, roughly equal to streaming high-definition video. Flight Simulator is also limited to running in 1080p and 30 FPS if you’re playing on an Xbox One.
Previous owners of Flight Simulator can use their previous in-game purchases on the cloud version of the game. Microsoft has also stated that the first six World Updates are included in this edition of Flight Simulator, although the recent seventh update, Australia, is conspicuous in its absence.
Upon its release last July, Microsoft Flight Simulator rose to become the third best-selling game on Xbox platforms. It takes advantage of Microsoft Azure servers to stream real-time data to the user while in flight, creating a reasonably realistic depiction of the world beneath the user’s plane as they fly. That approach earned Flight Simulator a Game Award in 2020 for Best Sim / Strategy Game.