*UPDATED* Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020: Update, Release Date, Xbox One, PS4, Alpha 5, Closed Beta, Trailer & more

One of the most realistic tiles of the year is on the way, featuring every inch of the planet.

by Oscar Dobbins
microsoft flight simulator gameplay graphics

Some games are created for epic game modes or online play – not Microsoft Flight Simulator

Flight Sim is set to be the most realistic, and perhaps beautiful game of 2020.


Latest News – Weekly Development Update

The Flight Sim team are keeping its cards close to its chest with the latest weekly development update.

It read:

“In our post next week (07.02) we’ll provide a release date for Alpha 5, and a timeline for the Closed Beta release.”

Release Date

Despite no release date, Microsoft Flight Simulator is expected to release some time during 2020.

The Closed Beta goes live in mid-July so let’s hope for a confirmed release date soon after!


The clue is in the title here, “Microsoft” Flight Simulator is confirmed to release on PC and Xbox One.

microsoft flight simulator city cockpit
THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER – You can go anywhere in the world

There is also no information regarding a Next-Gen console release, however, thanks to Smart Delivery, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to play the game on Xbox Series X.

Although there is no confirmation of this, we don’t expect Flight Sim to feature on other platforms such as PS4 and Nintendo Switch.



The trailer above was revealed at Xbox’s flagship event in London, XO19 on 14 November 2019.

It shows scintillating graphics, as well as various world landmarks and aircraft in the game.

Insider Program

If you want to play the game already, you can sign up for the ‘Insider program’, making you an alpha tester for the game.

Alpha invites tend to get sent out with every significant build update.


Alpha Build 4 arrived on Thursday, 11 June 2020, with Alpha 5 set for early July!

Alpha Build 4 contained universal improvements to flight models and camera settings.

Head to the Flight Simulator website for the full patch notes.


There is very limited information surrounding the Flight Sim Beta, but if you dig through the website you can find the development roadmap.

flight simulator development roadmap min
PLOTTING COURSE – Can you predict when the release date will be?

This tells us that the Beta is scheduled for Mid-July, expect a confirmed release date to be confirmed around that time.


Microsoft hasn’t released any minimum or maximum spec requirements for Flight Simulator, however, from what we’ve seen, it does look like the graphics are rather in-depth.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Image ultra realism
ULTRA REALISM – Become engrossed in Flight Simulator’s ultra-realistic world!

We do know there will be moving traffic and individually rendered leaves, meaning a lot of RAM will be needed to store/run each of these entities.

READ MORE: Xbox Game Studios – Xbox Series X, Flight Simulator, Bleeding Edge & more

This is likely to split their player base, so the ability to lower graphical settings will most likely be included to allow less advanced systems to run the game.

Ray Tracing is a way of realistically rendering light and reflections. From the trailers, we can see that ray tracing is likely to be utilised in Flight Simulator.


The world is literally your oyster in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Every single airport in the world will be available for you to take off from and land.

With the whole world at your disposal, where should you go?

Here’s our best picks as you get jet setting.


With its improved physics engine, Flight Sim will feel much more realistic.

You will still be able to use compatible joystick controls making the game incredibly realistic.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Image
TRAVEL THE WORLD – Fly across a real-time globe in a plane of your choice!

Whether the game will involve haptic responses to elevation changes and turbulence, we still don’t know, and we’ll have to wait for more information regarding this, or even for a full release of the game

READ MORE: Mircosoft Flight Simulator PC Requirements

Ultimately, the game tries to immerse the player in the best way possible with realistic scenarios and high-fidelity graphics.


The most peculiar requirement is, of course, bandwidth.

microsoft flight simu
ABOVE THE CLOUDS: This game has been in development for a while, so we’re expecting big things!

Then again, for the “seamless” multiplayer feature to really pay off, you should aim for the recommended requirements at least.

In a recent interview, the developers confirmed the minimum bandwidth should still be more than enough to have a ‘good representation of the world’ anyway.

READ MORE: What we know about Flight Simulator Multiplayer

Oscar Dobbins