Microsoft Flight is a free-to-play flight simulator developed and published digitally by Microsoft for the PC (via Games For Windows - Live) on February 27, 2012. It was also released via Steam on April 3, 2012. It was later removed from both marketplaces on August 22, 2013 (but can still be downloaded with limited functionality).
A lightly-featured reboot of the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise, Microsoft Flight features a smaller scale experience, including a limited number of planes and easier flying assistance for beginners. Players fly around Hawaii and Alaska in aircraft ranging from amphibious light-sport monoplanes to World War II biplanes, participating in various activities including landing challenges, delivery/sightseeing jobs, and finding hidden collectibles (known as Aerocaches). The game makes use of GFWL functionality, including online multiplayer, achievements, and bonus aircraft/locations as paid downloadable content.
The game featured a free-to-play business model, with the core game only making the Icon A5 available and giving players access to only the Hawaii mainland. Additional landmasses and planes were purchasable (with some as free downloads). The game's online functions (including multiplayer, Aerocaches, and DLC downloading) were shut down on October 14, 2014.
Microsoft Flight features a much smaller scale experience than previous entries in the Flight Simulator series. The game takes entirely in Hawaii and its surrounding islands (as well as the state of Alaska with added DLC), whereas Flight Simulator X featured several dozen high-quality cities and some level of coverage for the entire globe.
The flying has also been simplified from previous entries in the series, offering an easier difficulty for newcomers that allows them to bypass most of the complex parts of take-off and landing, as well as making the actual act of flying a bit easier. All of this assistance can be turned off if desired, providing a much more of a traditional flight simulator experience. Besides the standard mouse and keyboard controls Microsoft flight also features gamepad and joystick support, as well as support for TrackIR.
The game's aircraft are split into two categories: Basic and Deluxe. Only Deluxe version have functional cockpit views and associated interactive instruments and checklists. The aircraft are then put into further different categories, restricting the choice of aircraft for most missions, most commonly due to cargo or passenger capacity. All planes have at least two paint schemes though some need to be unlocked. Some aircraft have unique features (such as an-cockpit 'GPS' map or the ability to land on water) corresponding to their real-world models.
All purchasable aircraft have a bonus preview option (as free DLC), which only shows the plane's model in the hangar.
- Icon A5 (Deluxe) - Included with the base game
- Boeing-Stearman Model 75 (Deluxe) - Unlocked by signing in to Games For Windows - Live
- Vans RV-6A (Deluxe) - Included with the "Hawaii Adventure Pack" DLC ($19.99)
- Maule M-7-260C (Deluxe) - Purchasable as DLC ($14.99)
- North American P-51 Mustang (Basic) - Purchasable as DLC ($6.99)
- Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (Basic) - Released on 3/27/2012 as DLC ($6.99)
- Curtiss P-40B Warhawk (Basic) - Released on 4/24/2012 as DLC ($6.99)
- Vought F4U-1D Corsair (Basic) - Released on 5/30/2012 as DLC ($6.99)
- "RED TAILS" North American P-51 Mustang (Basic) - Cross-promotion with the DVD/Blu-Ray release of the movie Red Tails. Released on 6/27/2012 as DLC (Free)
- Cub Crafters Carbon Cub (Basic) - Included with the "Alaskan Wilderness Pack" DLC ($14.99)
- Cub Crafters Carbon Cub (Deluxe) - Purchasable as DLC ($14.99)
- C-46 (Basic) - Purchasable as DLC ($6.99)
- "Big Island" (Hawai'i) - Included with the base game.
- Hawaiian Islands - Included with the "Hawaii Adventure Pack" DLC ($19.99)
- Alaska - Included with the "Alaskan Wilderness Pack" DLC ($14.99)
Minimum System Requirements
- OS: WinXP SP3
- CPU: Dual Core 2.0 GHz
- GFX: 256 MB card capable of shader 3.0 (DX 9.0c compliant)
- RAM: 2.0GB
- HDD: 10 GB Hard Disk Drive space
Recommended System Requirements
- OS: Win7 SP1 64-bit operating system
- CPU: Dual Core 3.0 GHz
- GPU: 1024 MB ATI Radeon HD 5670 or 1024 MB NVIDIA GEFORCE 9800 GT or equivalent
- RAM: 6GB
- HDD: 30 GB hard drive space
Microsoft Flight was canceled on July 25th, 2012 after Microsoft shut down the Vancouver studio responsible for its development. The C-46 was near completion at the time and was released after this date, and some features such as "Aerocache of the Day" continue to be updated.