While Microsoft Flight Simulator (opens in new tab) promises to be absolutely massive, pilots are going to inevitably want more. It will launch with every airport in the world, from huge international ones to tiny landing strips in the middle of a field, and plenty of planes, but there are still gaps. That's where modders and add-on developers are going to come in.
Most of these airports, for instance, won't be detailed, hand-crafted affairs, and you might find some of your favourite aircraft are missing. Creators are already working on filling those gaps. Orbx (opens in new tab), for instance, has announced (opens in new tab) it will develop add-ons for the sim, just like it has been for Microsoft Flight Simulator X.
These third-party studios, as well as independent modders, will be able to sell their creations to pilots via an in-game marketplace, Asobo has revealed. It's the first time in the series that modders will be able to sell directly to players in the game.
"The 3rd party creator community has been incredibly vibrant, delighting simmers with their creativity for many years," reads the announcement (opens in new tab). "We recognize that creations by 3rd parties are a vital ingredient to broaden and deepen the Flight Simulation experience so we are excited to announce our Marketplace Partner Program which enables approved partners to sell content within our built-in Marketplace."
Modders will need to become partners before they can start selling their wares, however, but joining (opens in new tab) is free and just involves an approval process. The marketplace will let them see how their add-ons are performing, how much revenue they're making and automatically receive payment.
Prices will be set by modders, and becoming a partner doesn't mean they'll not be able to sell their stuff on their own sites or elsewhere. "We will try to approve as many partners as possible," says Asobo, "but we expect our capacity to be limited, at least initially."
There's good news for alpha testers, too. Microsoft Flight Simulator's closed beta is kicking off on July 30, but alpha testers can get in earlier—now, in fact. You lucky devils. If you don't get a chance to play the closed beta, you won't have to wait long to play. Microsoft Flight Simulator launches on August 18.