Microsoft Flight Simulator sees performance gains after code rewrite

The development team at Asobo Studio personally showcased the substantial improvements Sim Update 5 will make over Sim Update 4.


Microsoft Flight Simulator received high praise when it was first launched in 2020. The game was lauded as a huge technological achievement for how it utilized clever techniques to create a map of the entire world and let players explore it. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of being the Crysis of its time.

Sim Update 5 will make Microsoft Flight Simulator literally play twice as well on the PC.

Just like Crytek's demanding series of shooter games back in the late 2000s, Microsoft Flight Simulator was a beautiful game that very few people could run on their systems.

Even a PC with an Nvidia RTX 3080 and i7-9700K (or the AMD equivalent) would struggle to run Microsoft Flight Simulator at 60 frames per second. It was even worse for mid-range PC builds let alone $500 gaming PCs. Microsoft Flight Simulator demanded that your PC have both a powerful processor and graphics card.

Now, almost a year after it was first released, the game's developer, Asobo Studio, is going to introduce some huge updates that will make Microsoft Flight Simulator run better across all platforms.

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How does Microsoft Flight Simulator perform on PC and Xbox Series S/X now?

It should be easier to run Microsoft Flight Simulator on the PC after Sim Update 5.

Microsoft Flight Simulator's heavy system demands were a subject of concern after Microsoft announced that the game was coming to the Xbox Series S/X at E3 2021.

While Microsoft claimed that the reveal trailer ran at 4K resolution on the Xbox Series X, there were some serious doubters. However, it seems like Asobo aims to silence such talk with the upcoming Sim Update 5.

In the live stream shown above, the development team behind Microsoft Flight Simulator compared the game running on Sim Update 4 and Sim Update 5. To say that the differences were huge would be an understatement.

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In the demos, Microsoft Flight Simulator was being run on a PC with an i7-9700K processor and an RTX 2060 Super graphics card. It's not exactly top of the line, but it's high-end.

With Sim Update 4, the PC struggled to maintain 30 frames per second with a 100 percent CPU load. On the other hand, with Sim Update 5, the set-up was able to maintain 60 frames per second with ease on Ultra Settings in real-time.

According to Sebastian Wloch, the co-founder of Asobo Studio, the team decided to rewrite a huge portion of the game engine to allow for "maximum performance from the Sim and the minimum resources from memory."

Sim Update 5 will arrive on PC on the same day that the Xbox Series S/X version of Microsoft Flight Simulator becomes available. In addition to the PC version upgrades, Asobo also confirmed that the Xbox Series X will indeed run Microsoft Flight Simulator at 4K resolution, with the Xbox Series S limited to just 1080p.

Asobo also added that both the Xbox Series S/X will run the game at 30 frames per second, except on TV sets with variable refresh rates.

Microsoft Flight Simulator is widely considered one of the best simulator games out there. It's also one of the largest right now in terms of file size. While the game still takes up a huge chunk of storage, the introduction of Sim Update 5 is good news for those with more moderns systems who want to see the world in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.