Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 isn't coming to Steam (at least, right now)

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Flight Simulator makes its debut on August 18, and if those cloud-backed promises hold weight, it's set to be a disruptive new entry to the virtual aviation scene. Tapping into Microsoft's cloud empire, the title leverages satellite mapping, artificial intelligence, and various supplementary data, eyeing a full digital replica of planet Earth. We've also seen preorders go live exclusively through Windows 10's integrated Microsoft Store, spanning three flavors, from $60 through $120.

But with Microsoft Flight Simulator on sale just weeks before launch, the publisher still hasn't talked a release through other storefronts — namely the world's most prominent, Steam. That follows several high-profile Microsoft-published franchises recently making the jump on day one, including Gears 5, Halo, and Age of Empires for PC.

We also saw Microsoft publicly commit to bringing its future library to Steam, as a part of an extensive manifesto from executive vice-president of Gaming at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, back in 2019. "With that in mind, our intent is to make our Xbox Game Studios PC games available in multiple stores, including our own Microsoft Store on Windows, at their launch," it stated. "We believe you should have choice in where you buy your PC games."

Related: Microsoft Flight Simulator isn't a screen saver — but it should be

And while Microsoft isn't ruling out Microsoft Flight Simulator on Steam for the future, it appears the initial launch will focus on that Windows 10 version. "We have nothing new to share regarding additional versions, but our goal is to have 'Microsoft Flight Simulator' available on as many platforms as possible," a Microsoft spokesperson told Windows Central.

The strategy marks a departure from Microsoft's recent approach it PC releases, with many seeing simultaneous availability on the Windows Store, alongside Steam. It also means that, unlike many recent Xbox Game Studios titles, support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 appears out of the picture. The exact reasoning remains unclear, but don't stay hopeful for things to change before launch day.

Flight sim accessories

Into flight simulation games like Microsoft Flight Simulator, Ace Combat, Elite Dangerous, or Star Wars Squadrons? You'll want to check out these accessories.

Thrustmaster Hotas Se

Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS (Xbox, PC) (opens in new tab) ($80 at Amazon)

As one of the only flight sticks available for Xbox One, this is your best option for taking to the skies in style.

Thrustmaster Fcs Hotas

Thrustmaster 2960778 T.16000M (PC) (opens in new tab) ($160 at Amazon)

If you want to get more serious with your flight on PC, this is your best bet.

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

  • I can see why they won't support W7 and W8. In order to really appreciate this game, you are going to need hardware that was designed in the W10 era. My current rig runs Windows 10 and even it isn't powerful enough to load this game (though I am a few years overdue for an upgrade). Besides, this is Microsoft's flagship application and it looks beautiful. I say they deserve to be a little selfish with the launch to recoup some of the development costs.
  • LOL once again MS contradicting themselves with these timed exclusivity and avoiding steam after saying how they would support that platform and give players choice. When it comes to where game launch and platform exclusivity they are and have been all over the place for so many years.
    How can anyone trust MS and Spencer when they keep doing this again and again?
  • Steam isn't a platform, its a store, nothing more, and it hasn't been ruled out. Its on Windows 10 (platform) and that's the most important thing. If people really want to play this game, using a different online store would be the last thing on their mind.
  • Ummm. MSFS if available for preorder on steam...