Still soaring after 40 years – Flight Simulator

17th May 2024 by Steven Dean

Flight Simulator, I'll admit it right now, is not my style of game. It's incredibly in-depth, filled with the tiniest bits of aviation information. But that's just me. Flight Sim boasts a vast fanbase of dedicated aviation enthusiasts across the globe.

Take my son, for instance. At 13 years old, he knows more about airplanes than I knew about Pokémon at his age. Talk about a difference in generations, right? He's constantly coming to me, saying, "Dad, look at this sick landing," or "Dad, check out this awesome livery." It's amazing how, even after 40 years of Flight Simulator—yes, you heard me right, 40 years! —the game still manages to give fans that feeling of being a pilot from the comfort of their own home.

So, let's rewind 40 years ago. Flight Simulator looked primitive, with its 8-bit graphics and clunky controls. But even with such simplicity, people absolutely loved it. In fact, it's reported that in the first decade alone, it sold no less than 10 million copies across all versions.

Now, let's talk marketing. You might wonder how they promoted such a game back in 1982. Well, it was all about magazine articles and reviews. Gamers and enthusiasts relied on publications like BYTE for insights. These reviews played a significant role in driving sales. Fast forward to today, and marketing has taken a digital turn. Twitch streams and partnerships with creators reign supreme, drawing massive audiences and solidifying Flight Sim as a fan favourite.

From its humble beginnings in 1982 to its current state, where the entire world is mapped out in exquisite detail, Microsoft Flight Simulator has certainly come a long way. Here's to 40 years of taking to the virtual skies—and here's to many more to come!