The team responsible for the development of Microsoft Flight has been laid off and plans for adding future content have been scuttled, but the free download version of the flight sim will remain available, for now. Critics complained that the flight simulation program lacked extensive terrain and aircraft options and fell short in its support for third-party add-ons. The development team included about 35 programmers and staffers. Microsoft said the decision was part of “the natural ebb and flow” of its portfolio management, but there may have been other factors.
Microsoft Flight provides a less authentic flight experience than its earlier more popular flight simulation programs. Competition in the market includes X-Plane, which offers advanced features for in-program aircraft design and flight testing, wide-ranging parameters for controlling the flight environment, and highly realistic scenery and global real-world terrain mapping. That program has a free limited trial version and is otherwise available for about $70. Microsoft Flight focuses its terrain mapping on Hawaii and provides an interface that allows computer pilots to fly easily with a mouse and keyboard. The free version of Flight offers two aircraft, the Icon A5 and a Stearman. The program also offers scripted missions, some of which are offered up via voice prompts, that direct pilots into flying adventures around a virtual Hawaii.