Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024

I mentioned a little while ago when I wrote about the recent delay to system update 15 for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 that I would take the time to write about the new version of MSFS2024 which is due to release sometime this year. While we don’t have a release date at this time, if history repeats itself (as it often does) we could expect a end of summer timeframe release.  But considering (at least in my opinion) MSFS2020 is absolutely fantastic and should get even better once SU15 drops the wait for me is a non-issue.

A New Sim Really?

Like many, when I first learned that Microsoft/Asobo were working on a brand new sim I was surprised.  Of course if you’ve been around the flight sim world as long as I have, you’ve seen many iterations of the sim.  After all, Microsoft released six different versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator between the years of 1996 and 2006.  Each of these new versions contained new features and functionality from their predecessors and in many ways they each took advantage of the quickly developing PC technology of the day.  I firmly believe this is also why we’re seeing a brand new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator some four years after the successful release of MSFS2020.  Let’s face it, while MSFS2020 released to us on PC in August of 2020, the planning and actual development began many years before.

Most Popular Sim?

As I’ve said before in other blog posts, when MSFS 2020 released, the flight sim community expanded immensely almost overnight.  This is especially true when MSFS2020 became available on the XBox platform almost a year later.  While the flight sim community might still be relatively small and niche compared to other game genres, we have proven to Microsoft and Asobo that we’re here, we’re active and we want the very best flight simulation that can be developed for the home flight simulation enthusiast.

We may never really know if at the time MSFS2020 was released, whether Microsoft had the plans at that time for MSFS2024.  While they may have speculated it would be a popular release, I think the direction the flight sim community wanted Microsoft to take the franchise has proven to be worth their efforts in continuing the franchise for many decades.

All The Benefits

There are many, many benefits to us as consumers of flight simulation add-ons (including both software and hardware) for Microsoft to continue updating the sim for hopefully decades to come.  While the software add-on market has always been relatively strong, the hardware market is also making a huge comeback.  The hardware market had sort of become a bit stale in the last few years before the release of MSFS2020.  Today we have many different hardware developers creating everything from yokes, joysticks, pedals, throttles and all the various components to truly become free of needing to use the mouse and keyboard.  I firmly believe this increase of the number of software and hardware developers is testament to the success of Microsoft Flight Simulator.

MSFS2024

I’m sure everyone has already viewed the teaser videos Microsoft released around the time of the announcement last year.  Much of the new mission content are things I’m really not interested in.  True, while I will probably spend time doing some of them…it’s just not something I’m overly excited about.  For me, what I enjoy about any flight sim is the open world opportunity to fly what I want to fly, wherever I choose to fly it.  But what might we expect to be included in MSFS2024 that we don’t have available today?

New Aircraft

I would expect much of what we consider the default aircraft included in MSFS2020 today will be made available in MSFS2024.  But there are a few new aircraft which should make their way into MSFS2020 such as the Beluga Airbus and Airbus A300M.  But again, these are probably aircraft that I will rarely fly in the sim.  But wait…there’s more to MSFS2024.

Weather Data Capabilities

Asobo have commented in a few of the developer streams of late that MSFS2024 weather data is going to get some changes from what we know about weather in MSFS2020.  Could we finally be able to import historical weather into the sim?  Again, time will tell and this is one of the reasons I’m holding out on purchasing ActiveSky FS which I discussed a few weeks ago.

Freeware Marketplace

Now this I’m potentially excited about.  The amount of good, quality freeware add-ons that we have witnessed come onto the scene with MSFS2020 is exceptional.  While I own a great deal of payware airport sceneries for MSFS2020, I’m using several freeware airport sceneries in some locations as either there is no payware available or the freeware looks and performs better than the payware.  But Microsoft have noticed the demand of freeware content and may one day offer it to be available in the Microsoft Marketplace.  Like I said, I’m really excited about this as while I keep track of all the scenery I have installed in my sim (which you can see here), having this ability to install from Marketplace and hopefully be notified of any updates is a game changer for me.  This of course will also be HUGE for those on the XBox platform.  But we’ll see if this comes to fruition.

Release Date

As I’ve previously stated in this article, at this time we do not know when MSFS2024 will be released.  While history can always be a good indicator of things like this, we really just don’t know.  We may learn more after the FSExpo taking place in June (21-23 June), but I’m going to take a huge guess and say that MSFS2024 will release sometime between August and the end of the year.

Future of MSFS2020

I’ve spoken to many fellow flight simmers and currently it’s about a 70/30 split on whether they’ll move to MSFS2024 once released.  This being approx. 70% saying yes to MFSF2024 and approx. 30% have said they’ll stay on MSFS2020 for now.  But what is the future of MSFS2020?  Well we do know that sometime in 2025, Microsoft/Asobo will release SU16.  With SU16 Microsoft/Asobo might bring some of the features that will be available in MSFS2024 into MSFS2020.  How much or how little just isn’t known at this time.

800lb Gorilla

I can’t close out this article without addressing the 800lb Gorilla in the room and that of course has to do with all the purchased add-ons from MSFS2020.  What will be available?  When will they be available and what will it all cost?

Unfortunately we really don’t have an absolute set of answers to those above mentioned questions.  What we do know is the vast majority of 3rd party developers have publicly stated while they are just as much in the dark as the rest of us concerning when MSFS2024 will release and the amount of changes required to make their add-ons available into the new sim, they all have plans to make them available for MSFS2024 just as quickly as possible.  In addition, most have stated that any already purchased MSFS2020 add-on will not require a full repurchase once available for MSFS2024.  However, depending on the level of effort to bring them into MSFS2024 is simply unknown at this time and therefore I suppose there could be a minimal charge necessary to offset any of this development work.

Once again, if history repeats itself….most 3rd party developers will not have access to MSFS2024 until we all have access to it.  So the clock starts on any work required on these 3rd party add-ons the very same day we all can make our purchase of MSFS2024, download and install it.  While some in our community will be absolute idiots and begin posting in 3rd party developers forums, Discords etc. about when XYZ will be available…I urge everyone to be patient and just wait.  It will happen and it will happen just as soon as possible.

In Summary

For me, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 will be a day one purchase for me.  I will take the same, exact approach I did with MSFS2020.  I will install it and I will experience it most likely in a default Cessna 172.  I will continue to use MSFS2020 as my primary sim, utilizing the PMDG 737, (hopefully the 777-300ER), the Fenix A320 (and hopefully their A319/A321 as well) and patiently wait.  At such time these aircraft are available in the new sim, I will add them and progressively utilize MSFS2024 more and more,  Then at some point down the road MSFS2020 will be uninstalled and simply forgotten about just like P3Dv5 was.

Oh, One More Thing

Join me in crossing your fingers, toes etc. and perhaps even going so far as asking St. Joseph of Cupertino (Patron Saint of all things aviation) to intercede on our behalf, that from day one, MSFS2024 will open up their camera API functionality so that third party developer //42 can finally bring Chaseplane to MSFS.  While over the past couple of years I’ve managed to get somewhat used to the MSFS default camera system, for those of us that used Chaseplane back in P3D this would be a true game changer if it could be developed for the new sim.

If you’ve made it this far, Thank you!  My apologies for the lengthy blog post, but there was a lot that needed to be shared.  I will continue to share what information I can find on MSFS2024 as soon as more is known.  Of course, I’ll blog about all my experiences in the new sim once it’s on my PC.  What an amazing time this is for those of us involved in the hobby of flight simulation!

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

MSFS Sim Update 15 Postponed Again

Yes ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, the highly anticipated SU15 or Sim Update 15 has yet again been delayed.  Microsoft announced just a few days ago that while SU15 had been delayed from the original date of March something or another to the end of April, they now believe they need another week or so to get it all polished up before it is ready for our PC’s.   While I’m just as excited and looking forward to SU15 as much as anyone else is, I certainly applaud Microsoft/Asobo on their actions.  The last thing we want is a half-baked update that will cause us more problems.

The Final Update

Unless something changes, SU15 will be the final update to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 that we’ll see this year.  Yes, that’s right!  Once SU15 is released (and pending that meets everyone’s expectations), we won’t see another system update for MSFS2020 until sometime in 2025. I think the reason for this is perhaps two-fold.  First, we’ve known for some time now that Microsoft and Asobo believe they have developed MSFS2020 just about as far as it can be developed.  Second, of course MSFS2024 is just around the corner.  While Microsoft and Asobo will continue to support MSFS2020 for some period of time after the release of MSFS2024, their focus after SU15 will be focused mainly towards the new sim.  Of course at the present time we do not have a release date for MSFS2024.  Perhaps we’ll learn more during the FSExpo in June.  But until more is known…we’ll just focus on MSFS2020.

Worth The Wait

Yes, I do believe SU15 will be worth the wait.  As I previously stated, it is truly best that Microsoft and Asobo takes all the time they feel they need to get it right.  But if you’re like me and have somewhat forgotten all that we can expect from SU15, here’s a little mental refresher for us all.

Stability and Performance Improvements

Microsoft and Asobo believe the SU15 update will bring us better sim stability and overall better performance with memory utilization.  Hopefully these changes will reduce the amount of stuttering we sometimes experience on short-final.

Better Ground Handling

SU15 promises a bit better friction and rubber simulation with a more realistic feeling when the aircraft is on the ground.  We do know that the developers of the Fenix A320 are eagerly awaiting this update to further enhance the ground physics of the A320 and hopefully other 3rd party developers can take advantage of this in the very near future.

More Live AI Traffic

While this one is not that important to me as I either fly on the VATSIM network or I use the FSLTL traffic injection, but SU15 will include more live AI traffic at the default level.  Of course this will come with a possible cost with performance.  But hopefully the performance improvements already mentioned will counter this impact.

Better land/water masking

SU15 will do a better job with how the water and land meetup and hopefully all the blocky textures and color differences around where water meets land will be a thing of the past.

iniBuilds A320

Yes, for those who are eagerly awaiting the new iniBuilds A320neo, that should finally be available with the SU15 update.  While again this isn’t something I’m that bothered with as I do absolutely love the Fenix A320, for those on the XBox platform you should be getting a really good aircraft in your virtual hangar.  Especially considering those on the XBox platform do have have access to either the Fenix or the FBW versions.

Final Thoughts

I’m hopeful SU15 will deliver all these wonderful things and I’m looking forward to the future to see what MSFS 2024 will bring.  I know a lot of people are still confused as to why Microsoft is releasing another brand new simulator and not just further developing MSFS 2020.  I plan to write about all this in the very near future and share some of the things I’m looking to see in the new sim.  For now, let’s be thankful for what we have and hope SU15 makes things even better until the new sim is here.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Microsoft Flight Simulator–Two Year Anniversary

In just a few days, 18 August 2022, Microsoft will celebrate the two year anniversary since the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator.  During the summer of 2019 and somewhat out of the blue, Microsoft announced they were working on the new version of their extremely popular Microsoft Flight Simulator.  I use the words “Out of the Blue” because most in the flight sim community were not aware of this news and it came to us with excitement and even some speculation.  Many of the blog postings I wrote here on my blog were very much mixed with my own personal excitement but also with guarded concerns.  After all, Microsoft had abandoned Flight Simulator and as a result many of the long-time fans of the sim had moved over to Prepar3D or X-Plane.  For the most part, I was certainly happy with the direction Prepar3D was moving in and was having a lot of fun in the sim. 

As we approach the two year anniversary of the release of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) I can happily say that much of the concern or speculation I once held towards the title have been dismissed.  After all, earlier this summer when the Fenix A320 and PMDG 737-700 released for MSFS, I began flying MSFS almost exclusively.  I still occasionally fly P3D when I have a need to fly the PMDG 777 or the QualityWings 787.  But I would say this is perhaps only 1 out of 100 or so flights that I do this.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time I spend in MSFS and the experience gets better and better.  As a matter of fact, I changed my mind on the decision not to purchase the PMDG 737-700 (I initially said I would hold out until the 737-800 released) as the few times I tried flying the 737-800 in P3D, I just didn’t enjoy the experience.  While MSFS may have some limitations, the overall beauty of the sim makes up it.  Plus the addition of the Fenix A320 and the PMDG 737-700 (and soon to be released 737-800) have been instrumental in keeping me flying MSFS and essentially letting P3D gather dust. 

About those concerns…

The concerns and speculation many of us long-time flight simulation enthusiasts once had for Microsoft and Microsoft Flight Simulator have (in my opinion) to be null and void at this point.  In all honesty, while it did take me about a year and a half to fully embrace MSFS for my jetliner use, I was convinced that the efforts of both Microsoft and Asobo would truly turn MSFS into the future of flight simulation we have been longing for.  It just took some time for some of the more advanced airliners to make it into the sim and of course it took some time for Microsoft to work out a few bugs.  But as I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve been enjoying the hobby of flight simulation since the early 1980’s.  The advancement of flight simulation over these past 35+ years is truly amazing.  The dedication I see from Microsoft, Asobo and all the many 3rd party developers certainly have me convinced that Microsoft Flight Simulator earns the right to say “As Real As It Gets” and will only continue to get better as time goes by.

August Expectations

While August is about half way done, I believe we’ll see some amazing things happen this month.  First and foremost, Microsoft/Asobo have been working hard on the sim update 10 release.  While I haven’t participated in the beta, I’ve heard from many simmers who say that SU10 addresses many of the bugs we’ve been plagued with and moves the sim one step further ahead with better performance and features which many 3rd party developers can take advantage of.  While I’m not a fan of Microsoft’s “Must Update Features”, I am anxiously awaiting SU10 and hope the update/upgrade process works as smoothly as all the previous updates have. 

In addition to SU10, I believe we will see the PMDG 737-800 release this month or early September.  The 737-800 is my all-time favorite aircraft to fly in the sim and I’ve missed having it.   Yes, the 737-700 is just a bit smaller,  but I want my 738 and I want it as soon as possible.  I know many of you do as well. 

Finally, I also believe we will soon have FSDreamTeam’s GSX available to us during the month of August.  For those that don’t know, GSX is the ground services component to flight simulation.  GSX controls all aspects of cargo and passenger loading, including the visuals for baggage/cargo being loaded onto the aircraft along with fueling, catering and that much important de-icing during the winter months.  In addition, GSX also does a really good job with aircraft pushback services which are truly lacking in MSFS at the present time. 

The Future Remains Bright

I believe we’ll continue to see some truly amazing things come to MSFS in the later half of 2022 and early 2023.  I’m hopeful SU10 paves the way for Chaseplane to finally come to MSFS and of course we might….just maybe see the PMDG 777 before end of year or perhaps very early 2023. Time will certainly tell.  It’s certainly a great time to be alive and a great time to be a flight simulation enthusiast. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and I look forward to returning with a blog post in a few weeks to document my experiences with SU10, PMDG 737-800 and hopefully GSX.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

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