There was a time when Microsoft Flight Simulator ruled the world. That time was the 1980s, admittedly, an era when a primitive but reasonably accurate flight simulator could provide untold hours of entertainment. Those days are long behind us, but good news has come out this week for fans of that particular kind of fun: The studio behind Train Simulator has signed a deal to bring Flight Simulator X to Steam, and the more recent (and apparently popular) X-Plane 10 is on its way too.
The last "real" Microsoft Flight Simulator (Microsoft Flight, the 2012 attempt to claim a piece of the free-to-play action, crashed and burned rather spectacularly and thus doesn't count), Flight Sim X isn't too far away from its tenth birthday, and yet it's never been released on Steam. That will soon change, however, thanks to a licensing deal between Microsoft and Dovetail Games, which has acquired the rights to distribute Flight Simulator X: Gold Edition on Steam, and to develop new games based on the Flight Simulator X technology.
Known as Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition, the game will include the Deluxe edition of the original release as well as the Acceleration Expansion Pack. Sadly, the deal does not allow Dovetail to implement any graphical updates, so the game will have something of a dated look. It will, however, make as many bug fixes as it can prior to release, and is also working to find a way around its dependence on GameSpy for multiplayer functionality.
"As you may know, Gamespy is no longer available, and so we are looking for alternate ways of providing this functionality including using features in Steam," the studio said in a statement. It also confirmed that while it will be making "all-new flight sims using Microsoft's technology," it will not actually be making new Microsoft Flight Simulator games.
For joystick jockeys less prone to nostalgic indulgence, the coming launch of X-Plane 10 on Steam may be of somewhat greater interest. Laminar Research announced that the 64-bit advanced flight simulator recently made it through the Steam Greenlight process and is now being readied for release. The Steam edition of the game will be identical to the X-Plane 10 Global Edition currently available on DVD.
X-Plane 10 is expected to arrive on Steam "very shortly," while Microsoft Flight Simulator: Steam Edition will come out in late 2014. Do you know where your joystick is?