Virtual pilots looking for total immersion in Microsoft Flight Simulator and who don't already own a flight stick will have to wait bit. Flight sticks, yoke systems, rudders, and other peripherals designed for flying are sold out in most place, save for overpriced options from marketplace sellers.
As spotted by The Verge, Amazon's best selling flight sticks (opens in new tab) are out of stock. Thrustmaster occupies half of the 10 top sellers on Amazon, and none of them are available. Same goes for Logitech's G Pro Flight Throttle Quandrant and its Flight X56 Rhino Hotas.
It's not just Amazon, either. Several flight sticks are sold out at Best Buy and Newegg as well, like Saitek's Pro Flight X52 Flight System (opens in new tab).
At first glance, it appears peripheral makers and retail stores were not ready for the onslaught of gamers suddenly in the market for a flight stick, following the anticipated launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator. That's undoubtedly a contributing factor, though even before the game took flight, complaints of shortages could be found on Twitter.
This plays into a recent prediction by research firm Jon Peddie Researcher, which estimated that Microsoft Flight Simulator will generate a whopping $2.6 billion in PC gaming hardware sales over the next three years. That includes all PC hardware, from graphics cards and other components, to flight sticks and various peripherals.
"Flight simulators are incredibly demanding on processing capability and reward high resolution, large displays, and VR use," Ted Pollack, senior analyst at JPR, said. "When new flight simulators are released, the hardware to run them at max settings and performance does not even exist yet. This creates a situation of constant hardware demand over the life of the title as fans chase the best experience. A significant number of flight sim fans only play flight sim. We took this into account when calculating whether the money will be spent specifically or partially because of this game."
It's a high estimate and it will be interesting to see if Microsoft's newest flight sim really generates that much spending on PC hardware in a relatively short period of time. Either way, it seems clear that flight sticks are being hit the hardest right now.
We've reached out Thrustmaster for comment on the apparent shortage and will update this article when/if we hear back.