If you’re feeling nostalgic for a physical game release and you’re interested in Microsoft Flight Simulator, you’re in luck: Aerosoft has announced that it has partnered with Microsoft to offer a physical version of the game — on 10 DVDs.
Sadly, it doesn’t look as if the game is playable on DVD, which means modern gamers won’t get to enjoy the Full Floppy Experience, but swapping all those discs ought to get older stick jockeys feeling a bit nostalgic.
One of the peculiarities of 1990s gaming was the enormous gulf between CD capacity and the humble 1.44MB floppy. Multiple products attempted to bridge it and mostly failed in the process. Games shipped on either a single CD or a ridiculous number of floppies. Later in the decade, games would shift to shipping on multiple CDs, with Phantasmagoria, Wing Commander III, WC4, and Prophecy all needing multiple CDs for install and play. No CD-based game ever pushed up to 11-15 discs, however, while floppy-based games absolutely did.
In any event, Aerosoft is building out this physical collection specifically for people who have slow internet connections or who simply want a physical copy of the game. The 10 DVDs include 90GB of Microsoft’s maps and other downloadable data, identical to what you’d download if you bought the game that way.
Aerosoft’s own employees seem genuinely excited about the game. Mathijs Kok, root forum admin, had this to say about the first time he saw MSF2020 in action:
We were all (and I mean everybody) assuming the videos we seen were rendered on some high end server farm. But here I was, stick in hand, on a rather modest machine, in meeting room, seeing the sim at 50 fps on a 4k screen. My yaw[sic] hit the floor. And I have seen a lot of yaws[sic] hit the floor since then. This was default sim, no add-ons, and the aircraft were pretty solid and the world was alive and looked totally amazing. Not just Frankfurt airport, but also my house. In the default sim. No add-on in FS or P3d has my house. I mean this is very rural France. A village of 300 persons. Looking even closer I noticed that even the trees were accurate. They have a tree database. Not kinds of trees, but actual locations of trees around the world. Mind blown.
There’s a new trailer for the game released just a few days ago, embedded below:
I have to admit, the claims of hyper accuracy on that scale make the game sound objectively interesting. It’s one thing to imagine flying a flight sim with well-detailed airports and major cities, but with countrysides that are more or less pseudo-real. The terrain and major landmarks might be accurate, but you don’t really expect to find your house in a rural community. If Asobo (the actual developers creating the game for Microsoft) included that level of detail for the US and other environments, MSF2020 could be a truly mind-blowing simulation indeed.
Pricing on the game has not been formally announced, but there will be two different physical packages (likely the standard and premium versions). In the US, those versions are expected to sell for $59.99 and $119.99 respectively. While it hasn’t released pricing data, Aerosoft has stated we should expect pricing very close to the downloadable version. The Aerosoft announcement is here.