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Microsoft Flight Simulator Hits An Impressive Milestone

Just halfway through the year, the latest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator could already be counted among the best games to come out in 2020. Its early success was then reflected by its "Best Sim/Strategy Game" win at The Game Awards 2020. Now Microsoft has released some numerical data that only adds to the game's already-impressive critical accolades. Most notably, the number of players who have taken flight in Microsoft's simulator has surpassed 2,000,000 in total.

Though its title is simply Microsoft Flight Simulator, this new entry is merely the latest in a long-running franchise. The original Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0 dates all the way back to 1982. Prior to its 2020 iteration, Microsoft Flight Simulator X came out in 2006. Reception to the game was positive, but not quite superlative (it was, however, definitively better than the makeshift flight simulator in Devil May Cry's final level). Then, leading up to the newest title's release, some were skeptical of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator after it was announced that its physical edition would be spread out across 10 discs.

Though an early reveal of its technological capabilities hinted at what was to come, the success of Microsoft Flight Simulator was far from a sure thing. Critical accolades and high player numbers alike are therefore a reflection of a success that was earned on the strength of the game alone, rather than the series' history.

In addition to its total number of players, Microsoft announced that those 2,000,000+ pilots flew more than 50,000,000 flights that totaled in distance more than 3,500,000,000 miles. Microsoft ultimately calculated that to be the equivalent of 19 consecutive round trips between the Earth and the sun, or 400,000 trips around the planet. Despite this essentially inconceivable amount of distance traveled, players still have yet to fly over 28% of the Earth's surface.

The city players have visited most, meanwhile, is New York. Likewise, New York's JFK tops the list of the game's most popular airports. In spot two and three are LAX in Los Angeles and Heathrow in London. The sim's most popular planes are the Airbus A320 NEO, the Daher TBM 930 and the Cessna 172.

Finally, Microsoft tracked the number of visitors to two in-game easter eggs. Game developer Asobo hid a smiley face icon where its offices are located in Bordeaux, France, which was seen by roughly 7,000 players. Microsoft's HQ, meanwhile, was visited by about 4,300 players in total.

In addition to releasing this data, Microsoft promised surprise updates to Microsoft Flight Simulator, in addition to some planned expansions, in 2021.