Microsoft Flight Simulator expected to generate $2.6B in PC hardware sales in 3 years

(Image credit: Thrustmaster)

Microsoft Flight Simulator will generate $2.6 billion in PC gaming hardware sales in the next three years, says research firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR). From flight sticks to high-end GPUs, the business of simulated flying is soaring thanks to the launch of the expansive title.

The research firm is assuming sales of around 2.27 million units for Microsoft Flight Simulator over the next three years, which will likely mean some variation from that $2.6 billion figure, all told. Still, anything near that grand total and we're looking at a simulator with a significant and lasting impact on the hardware market.

Cruising altitude

(Image credit: Future)

The best PC joysticks will take you to cruising altitude in no time.

And aren't we due a resurgence in flight sticks, throttles, and multi-monitor immersive sim setups to the mainstream? As a child I spent many moments flying custom spaceships and fighter jets in MSFS using a flight stick, and I'm just waiting for the return to that weird and wonderful world of bespoke, game-specific PC accessories on a grand scale.

Beyond that, PC components are in need of an upgrade for the demanding title.

“Flight simulators are incredibly demanding on processing capability and reward high resolution, large displays, and VR use," Ted Pollack, senior analyst at JPR, says. "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.”

And don't we know it—the gaming hardware doesn't yet exist to make Microsoft Flight Simulator really shine.

But I would still guess that the job of calculating exact hardware sales by a user's intention is an imprecise art, and I would recommend taking that number as a rough estimate as to the impact of MSFS on the market as a whole—we're also on the eve of a new GPU generation, and that's sure to pump sales numbers up as well.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.