History of Microsoft Flight Simulator

History of Microsoft Flight Simulator:

history of microsoft flight simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator began in In 1976. Bruce Artwick wrote an article about a 3D computer graphics program. Sublogic released a version for the TRS-80 in the 1980s, and in 1982 they licensed an IBM computer version with CGA graphics to Microsoft. The first release was Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00.


Genre(s): Amateur flight simulation
Developer(s): Sublogic, Bruce Artwick Organization, Aces Game Studio, Dovetail Games, Asobo Studio[1]
Publisher(s): Microsoft, Xbox Game Studios, Dovetail Games
Creator(s): Bruce Artwick
Platform(s): DOS, Classic Mac OS, PC-98, Windows, Xbox Series X/S
First release: November 1982; 38 years ago
Latest release: August 18, 2020; 13 months ago

Microsoft Flight Simulator:

Although the game was already available, it was not available as Microsoft Flight Simulator until June 5 1983. This version runs on the new MS-DOS. Subsequently, the game was ported to many other operating systems, including the Atari ST, Atari 7800, Amiga, Apple II, Apple Macintosh, and Commodore 64.

The next major version of the game, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2, was released by Microsoft for the IBM PC on April 19 1989. This version contained some new features, like a fly-around view, and fixed an issue with the aircraft accelerating to a high speed when trying to land. In 1990, it was ported to the Apple Macintosh, the Atari ST, and the Amiga.

Early Development:

Microsoft developed Microsoft Flight Simulator for the IBM PC to compete with the standard and highly successful  Aviator Simulation Software programs. The development team had their working code complete in six months. By June 1983, Microsoft announced a final version of Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00.

Microsoft had shipped four different program versions in its launch year, all complete with feature sets that equalled or exceeded the rival products.

The 1980s:

1982 to 2020

The “programmer-developed” games era, which meant you wrote the code for the game, and someone else produced the artwork, was well underway. The “golden age” of 3D games had begun with Treasure’s computer chess game (Chessmaster, 1984) which became the first “gold standard” in the field. The early 1980s were also the first of the golden age of home computers. The Apple II was the most popular 8-bit computer of the day, although it never saw a major home computer release. The TI 99/4A was the most popular colour computer. But what about MFS?

Bruce Artwick wrote an article in 1976 about a 3D computer graphics program and that how Microsoft Flight Simulator began. When the magazine editor said that subscribers wanted to buy the program, Artwick worked to create it and incorporated a Sublogic Corporation company in 1977.

Sublogic continued developing for other platforms, and Flight Simulator II was ported to the Apple II in 1983. The Commodore 64, MSX, and Atari 800 in the year 1984, and the Amiga and Atari ST in 1986. Meanwhile, Bruce Artwick left Sublogic and found Bruce Organization to continue his work on subsequent Microsoft releases, and in 1988 beginning with Microsoft Flight Simulator 3.0. Microsoft Flight Simulator started with version 3.1 and encompassed the use of 3D graphics and graphic hardware acceleration.

The 1990s:

Microsoft Flight Simulator got a new lease of life in 1990 when it became part of Microsoft Flight Simulator X.1. It was developed in the UK by New World Computing, a company acquired by Microsoft in 1997. They released a new edition of Flight Simulator on Windows 95 in August 1999.


Following the release of Windows 98, Microsoft released a significant series update for MS Flight Simulator X. It was supposed to be the last update of the series. However, Microsoft released Flight Simulator 2002 for Windows XP, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5, and Visual Studio 7.0, all in December 2001.

Flight Simulator X2 added a 32-bit Microsoft DirectX rendering system and updated the DOS emulator to have much better compatibility with Vista and the Windows 7 OS, complete with DLL loading and subversion support. In 2002, MS Flight Simulator X included the dual boot Windows and Microsoft Flight Simulator X, enabling Microsoft Flight Simulator X to be installed alongside Microsoft Windows XP.

The next version of the game was released in 2003, which was Microsoft Flight Simulator 2003. However, it was only an update to Windows XP. There was a clear break with previous versions of Flight Simulator by offering full Windows integration. The initial release of Flight Simulator 2003 suffered from multiple problems. It has since undergone several major revisions, and there is improvement in stability and performance.


flight simulator 2006

In October 2006, there was a new version which is Microsoft Flight Simulator X. The Microsoft Flight Simulator X simulates the 40-year-old (circa 1976) original Microsoft Flight Simulator. The Journey continued development on the simulation with the help of user feedback and was available in May 2011.

On August 2013, Microsoft announced that it had acquired FlightSimX.com, the Flight Simulator X website owner. In November 2013, Microsoft posted a teaser video on YouTube for a new sequel, Microsoft Flight Simulator X: World of Flight. In May 2014, Microsoft announced the new title for the game. With this title, Microsoft released a video on YouTube of the first public demo of the new flight simulation.


In June 2019, the latest entry to the series was first revealed at Microsoft’s E3 2019 conference. Soon after the announcement, Microsoft Studios made its Microsoft Flight Simulator Insider Program web page available to the public. That is where participants can subscribe to the news, offer feedback, access a private forum, and be eligible to participate in the Alpha and Beta releases of the game.

On August 18, 2020, the game was available for Windows through an Xbox Game Pass and Steam on the computer. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 came to Xbox Series S/X on July 27, 2021.


I’ve tried to cover the history of Microsoft Flight Simulator in this article, and I wanted to provide some additional details that might be of interest to you.

I believe that Microsoft Flight Simulator is the first and best flight simulation program was available for DOS. As far as I know, it was a commercial failure. Microsoft did not promote the product heavily, and other companies’ products probably overshadowed it at the time, such as General Dynamics Flight Simulator 3D and Digital Flight Simulator.

Flight Simulator 01 and 02 added many additional aircraft. However the remaining series were mostly sold to schools for pilot training. Flight Simulator X, which was released in 2006, was where the series went on a long hiatus. Microsoft added in new aircraft and for the first time, some expansion packs and moved to release the game on DVDs.

Microsoft didn’t release Flight Simulator fully until earlier this year, with a target of mapping out the real world for players to fly anywhere around the globe, thanks to Azure artificial intelligence, real-time weather, and a lot of choice of selecting an aircraft. Compared to the versions over the years, it’s incredible to see just how far this particular game and gaming, in general, has changed. Here’s to the next 40 years.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it. If you like this story, I recommend reading my other posts related to MFS too! Until next time, don’t take the realities of the world for granted! And as always, please feel free to send me questions, suggestions, or corrections about my posts!

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