Microsoft officially released the successor of Flight Simulator X, the new flight simulation game Microsoft Flight last month. Microsoft said the realism and accuracy of the new game will appeal to flying enthusiasts while new types of gameplay will appeal to newcomers. The game is integrated with the Games for Windows Live platform, which allows players with Live accounts to join and host multiplayer sessions. The introduction of Live means that the GameSpy client will no longer be in use.
The game introduces a new model of downloadable content, integrated with the Games For Windows Marketplace. Unlike previous releases, Microsoft Flight was released as free-to-play game and only expansion packs are charged. The core game, which includes the Icon A5 aircraft and the Big Island of Hawaii scenery area, is free to download from the game's website. It can then be expanded with additional content including aircraft, paint schemes, and expansion packs that can be purchased and installed in-game from a central marketplace.
Microsoft Flight features new aircraft, scenery and terrain, a revamped weather engine, and new gameplay elements that users of all skill levels will enjoy. The new weather engine renders more realistic clouds and weather effects, including fog that blends well with the surrounding terrain, which Microsoft's previous flight simulator release, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, was not capable of. The most noticeable graphical improvements are the newer shader models and the use of new DirectX versions. Part of the improvement is more realistic lighting and self shadowing on aircraft, as well as the ability for terrain and scenery objects to cast shadows onto other objects and terrain. The aircraft visual models are also much improved over those of the previous flight simulator releases.