Long read: Who is qualified to make a world?

In search of the magic of maps.

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Microsoft Flight Simulator launches August 2020 on PC

UPDATE: Premium edition Heathrow better than standard Heathrow, MS clarifies.

UPDATE: Microsoft has clarified how the airports in the various editions of Microsoft Flight Simulator will work, after a request from Eurogamer.

Standard edition players will be able to fly from all the airports in the game, but there are "hand crafted" elements that will improve the experience from those airports included in the different editions. So, the premium edition Heathrow, for example, will be better than the Heathrow in the standard and deluxe editions. But that does mean standard edition users will indeed be able to fly from Heathrow, as well as all UK airports.

Here's the statement from a Microsoft spokesperson:

"Microsoft Flight Simulator includes nearly every airport around that globe that is represented in Bing Maps, which is roughly 37,000. However, of those 37,000 airports, we have specifically hand-crafted 40 of them (depending on the edition - 30 for Standard Edition, 35 for Deluxe Edition, 40 for Premium Deluxe Edition) for the most realistic and immersive simulation experience."

I've asked what the difference is between, for example, standard edition Heathrow and premium edition Heathrow.

ORIGINAL STORY: Microsoft Flight Simulator comes out on 18th August 2020 for PC, also with Xbox Game Pass for PC.

Asobo Studio's hotly-anticipated pilot sim comes in three editions. The £59.99 standard edition, which includes 20 "highly detailed planes with unique flight models" and 30 hand-crafted airports; the £79.99 deluxe edition, which includes everything in the standard edition plus five additional "highly accurate planes with unique flight models" and five additional "handcrafted international airports"; and the £109.99 premium deluxe edition, which includes everything from the standard edition plus 10 additional "highly accurate planes with unique flight models" and 10 additional "handcrafted international airports". It's the standard edition that's available on day one with Xbox Game Pass for PC.

Cover image for YouTube videoMicrosoft Flight Simulator - Pre-Order Launch Trailer

It's worth noting Heathrow is in the £109.99 premium deluxe edition only, which isn't great given it's the world's seventh-busiest airport and kind of feels integral to the experience. Microsoft said there will be over 37,000 airports in the sim. Here's the list of "customised, hand-crafted airports" that come with each edition:

And here's the list of planes. Also worth noting, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is also locked behind the premium edition:

There's no word of a Steam version, despite Microsoft releasing a fair few games on Valve's platform recently. So, for now at least, this one's a Windows 10 exclusive. An Xbox version of Microsoft Flight Simulator is due but doesn't have a release date yet.