There surely can’t be many that haven’t been seduced by Flight Simulator’s promise of a whole, beautiful world to explore whenever and wherever they choose. Developer Asobo’s astonishing work at recreating the planet on a 1:1 scale has transcended the usual simming niche to present a proposition – a sort of virtual holiday on a harddrive – with genuine mass appeal. But there remains a key sticking point: hardware. Flight Simulator on PC is an absolute hog, even at its more modest settings, and the secondary route – namely Xbox Series X/S – has its own cost and availability barriers to contend with. There is, then, a whole untapped audience Asobo believes is eager to take to the skies – and that’s where Flight Simulator’s new Xbox Cloud Gaming edition comes in, making the experience available to anyone with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription and an internet connection.
Watching head of Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann pick up his phone over webcam and, within 30 seconds, be soaring majestically over Flight Simulator’s breathtaking rendition of central London elicits almost as much of a giddy thrill as seeing those first glorious trailers all those years ago – particularly from the perspective of a PC player like me whose mid-range GPU has never quite been up to the challenge of running the game, even after contending with its 200gb+ harddrive footprint and tortuously long install and load times. Up until now, Asobo has only really talked about Flight Simulator’s cloud support in terms of Microsoft’s last-gen console, Xbox One, but it’s a proposition likely to be welcomed by anyone looking for a simpler, smoother, faster way to experience the sim, whether on Xbox, PC, or mobile.