Back! After more than a decade! Some ten years after the end of Flight Simulator sales, Microsoft is gearing up to launch the most popular flight simulation game in history.
And it is enlisting the help of the cloud to make it a reality.
The cloud, as in the Microsoft Azure platform.
Although the game was officially confirmed at E3 this year, it has been in development since 2014 in various shapes and form. As in, it was in conceptual stage back then, which is when HoloLens was also being hatched.
It was actually a virtual reality experiment that made a Microsoft employee think that it might be a good argument for recreating the simulator. And from this came the vision of using Bing aerial and satellite imagery to create the most realistic maps, terrain, and landscapes ever in a game.
To give you an idea of the size of this new project, it encompasses no less than 2 petabytes of data, versus just the 2 terabytes of the previous version of the game — a increase of a thousand times.
About 40,000 airports across the world are reproduced with high fidelity.
And to support so much information, and store the 3D objects, Microsoft decided to store the files on the Azure cloud platform.
The new Flight Simulator will make it possible for players to download the data via streaming, pre-cache certain areas, and also play offline if they want. And while the company has not showcased the offline solo experience, it still looks great.
But perhaps the biggest challenge that this new iteration of Flight Simulator has to deal with is that it is coming to the Xbox console, as well as the PC. Even if the game is played on a living room TV, it may well serve as the gateway drug for the main computer version.
Which can also be enjoyed via virtual reality.
And while the software titan continues to provide details about the technology that powers this new simulation, we still have to wait for a confirmation of the release date and, more importantly, the price.
For now, the millions of fans can rest easy knowing that Microsoft is planning a 2020 debut for what truly is shaping up to be the best simulation game of all time.