Microsoft Flight Simulator (opens in new tab) is getting ready to jet off into the clouds very soon. Even if you don't get into the closed beta (opens in new tab) at the end of the month, you won't have long to wait for the real deal. It's coming on August 18. It's so close you could almost lick the cockpit, but try to contain yourself.
The closed beta begins on July 30, so if you want an early look you'll need to sign up to become a Flight Sim Insider (opens in new tab). If you'd rather just wait for the finished game, you can preinstall it now so you can jump right in at launch. It looks like that option is only available with Xbox Game Pass for PC, however, but that will also net you the full game for only £4 a month.
Given the cost of the game, that's definitely sounding like the best way to play. A trio of editions are available, and even the standard (opens in new tab) one will set you back £60/$60. With that, you'll get 20 detailed planes with unique flight models and 30 hand-crafted airports (every airport will be available, but not all with the same level of bespoke detail). That's the version you'll get if you're a Game Pass subscriber.
The Deluxe Edition (opens in new tab) throws five more planes and airports into the mix, and for the privilege you'll need to shell out £80/$90. The Premium Deluxe Edition (opens in new tab), meanwhile, will give you ten more planes and airports, but it's extremely pricey at £110/$120.
You can take a look at the list of bespoke planes and airports over on the announcement (opens in new tab).
It ain't cheap, but then again it's also absurdly ambitious. The scale, the level of detail, the mind-boggling amount of data it uses to create the elaborate simulation—it's hard not to be impressed. It's one of the games we've been looking forward to the most this year, and we'll be telling you if it's lived up to its promise pretty soon.