Microsoft has ended development of free-to-play flight simulation Microsoft Flight, incurring a number of job losses in the process.
8th March 2012
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5th December 2011
Microsoft has reaffirmed that maligned PC service Games for Windows - Live service is here to stay.
None of the FS98 reviews I can find on the Web, mention The Pixie. He was about so high, wore a beautifully tailored flight suit, and sat atop your monitor or desk while you flew. Every so often he'd hold up a little sign emblazoned with the words 'Fancy a forage?' The first couple of times you might manage to ignore him, but at least once an evening you'd usually find yourself nodding in affirmation. You did indeed fancy a forage.
Flight Simulator used to be scary. In days of yore, you'd wait for the loading screen to fade, squint at the various incomprehensible menu screens, become bewildered by the sheer amount of options thrown right at your face, then spend an hour or so accidentally crashing a Cessna into various parts of Chicago using the default flight options before loading in your home town and trying to see if the developers had modelled your house.
There was so much to a Microsoft Flight Sim title. The world was your playground. Every class of aircraft you could think of was yours to sample. And not one part of the entire experience was ever welcoming, user-friendly or attractive to anyone who didn't already know how the combustion chamber on a turboshaft engine works.
They were never really games and, to be fair, nor did they ever try to be. They were simulators, first and foremost. You got them because you wanted to see what flying a plane was really like, down to every last switch and knob in the cockpit. They were staggeringly complex, frustratingly off-putting to the outsider and scary, scary beasts of programming achievements. And they were magnificent for it.
Free-to-play PC plane sim Microsoft Flight takes to the skies from 29th February.
You'll be able to download it from the game's official site.
The game's first expansion, titled Hawaiian Adventure Pack, launches the same day, priced at 1600 Microsoft Points.
Microsoft Flight, the new face of Microsoft Flight Simulator, will be free to download on PC sometime this spring.
An invite only beta for Flight Simulator replacement Microsoft Flight starts in January 2012.
Microsoft has set up a registration page for those interested in getting involved.
A release date for the full version of the game hasn't been confirmed but a 2012 launch seems likely.
Readying for take-off.
Microsoft has pulled back the curtain on Age of Empires Online for PC. The game, an MMO, will have free-to-play "experiences" and blend strategy with RPG.