Flight Simulator X Lands On Steam December 18th

Microsoft might long ago have abandoned Flight Simulator X when they dismantled its developer shortly after release, but for the past eight years the game has been supported dutifully by its community and third-party developers. That’s continuing next week when Dovetail Games – famed for Train Simulator and its oodles of DLC – are bringing an updated version of the game to Steam. The slight revision will feature “enhanced multiplayer functionality”, along with Windows 8.1 support and a future of (albeit paid-for) updates.

This obviously has consequences for other third-party Flight Sim X developers, though Dovetail say they’ll make “every effort to ensure that as many of them as possible work”.

I long ago abandoned Microsoft’s series for its rival X-Plane, but I’m aware that there’s much I’m missing out on. For that reason, I’m interested in a Steam release with a few extra flaps and rudders because it offers an easy opportunity for me to re-visit it. But as Tim Stone reported when news of this deal was first announced back in July, not everyone is so keen.

Flight Sim X doesn’t just have modders, but a pocket industry of satellite companies who make and sell add-ons to the game. Those additions are essential to making Flight Simulator X the robust experience it is, so it’s similarly essential that the Steam version continue to support them, as A2A Simulation‘s Scott Gentile explained to The Flare Path in the story linked above.

The announcement mentioned add-ons from both Dovetail “and partners”, so I reached out to find out exactly what that meant. Here’s the official statement:

There are so many add-ons currently available for FSX that we cannot promise that all of them will work with no issues. FSX: Steam Edition is installed in a different way to the boxed version and occupies a different location so it is possible that some add-ons may not work, but rest assured that we have made every effort to ensure that as many of them as possible work. Where add-ons do not immediately function with FSX: Steam Edition we will try to work with the community, developer or publisher of the add-on to find the solutions as needed. Again, we cannot promise that 100% of all add-ons released over the history of FSX will work with FSX: Steam, but we are committed to trying.

Which doesn’t address all the questions I had about profits and payments, but does make a solid commitment to making sure the Steam edition’s benefits aren’t undone before the game’s left the runway. A2A’s Gentile reached out in light of this story with his current thoughts as to the Steam release:

“I can understand those who are optimistic and those who are not, based on the recent rocky history at Microsoft. One would have to think Dovetail will do a better job managing the community than Microsoft (which for some reason appeared lost at best), but with any new release, you have to get past the honeymoon phase to know the true mettle of a developer / publisher. It’s all in their hands and time will tell probably pretty soon.”

This story has been updated on 13/12/2014.

16 Comments

  1. richtysoe says:

    Dovetail’s Train Simulator has plenty of 3rd party add-ons being sold independently of them and Steam (by Just Trains, for instance)- so while there may be some compatibility issues with existing stuff, DT don’t have, up to now, a history of locking 3rd party devs out.

  2. fish99 says:

    I’m sure FSX has some special code that makes it run less efficiently the faster your PC. I must have upgraded ten times since I bought it, but it still always runs 20-25 fps and looks mostly hideous :p

    • FullMetalMonkey says:

      I feel the same for World of Tanks. Yesterday i upgrade from two EVGA GTX 560Ti 448 Core Classified (Why Nvidia just didn’t name it the GTX565 i don’t know) to two EVGA GTX 980 SC ACX2’s and the performance gains were marginal. Where as i can completely max out Farcry 4 and other much more demanding games and have noticeable FPS increases.

      • Cinek says:

        Only World of Tanks uses single thread and an awful engine that they should have discarded years ago and switch to something more bearable.
        Promises of multi-threaded version of the WoT are nearly as old as the game itself and so far the only hope there is exists for multi-threaded physics support thanks to HAVOK implementation – which was originally supposed to be added in 9.0, but it won’t hit 9.5 and it’s very unlikely to hit 9.6 either. There are some comments it might not be available till the end of 2016.
        WoT is punished by a very poor choice of an engine. FSX supports multi-threading just fine, so it’s ahead of WoT on the most basic level when it comes to the perspective of performance improvements.

      • SuicideKing says:

        If the game is limited by the CPU, throwing more graphics horsepower at it isn’t going to help, just saying.

  3. FluffyFreak says:

    The disclaimer is just because FSX addons have had totally free reign for the last 8 years, there’s bugs and conflicts and problems with them already.
    There is however nothing stopping them from working with the Steam Edition, it’s just that 100% of them cannot be tested. For 3rd party developers like A2A it changes nothing, they can still make and sell the same addons in the same way they always have

  4. SuicideKing says:

    WHERE IS THE MASTER CHIEF EDITION, MICROSOFT?

  5. Smashbox says:

    Quoth a dude at Dovetail:

    Hoping to add Oculus Rift support eventually

    link to reddit.com

  6. P.Funk says:

    I’m very wary of dovetail. They have demonstrated some rather distasteful attitudes towards some third party developers in the Train Simulator sphere. In particular their comments about the nearly free rw_tools utility were baffling. They reek of that arrogant niche developer thing. Then again some people work fine with them.

    I’d offer a link but I can’t for the life of me find the threads anywhere. Perhaps someone else has some links, or else feel free to ignore these comments as hearsay.

    Also Dovetails own in house stuff is pretty average on the whole. Not very high quality. Hardly simmy at all. Frankly if it weren’t for the third party makers the Train Sim DLC would indeed be a rip off. Most DTG trains drive like ETS2 trucks, that is not very believably.

    • Kittim says:

      I second that, they tried to get negative reviews removed from Steam by marking them “Off Topic”. Steam needed to step in to stop them.
      I wouldn’t go near anything that Dovetail’s involved with.

      If you want a flight sim that’s updated regularly, go for Prepar3d, which is based on FSX. I think Lockheed Martin’s efforts so far have been excellent.

  7. peterako1989 says:

    Will they improve the code?! I mean, will it stop being such a barge to run?

  8. SalaciousJames says:

    All I really hope for is that they finally got DX10 mode working correctly. I need progressive taxi!

  9. tripwired says:

    So… if I own the boxed retail copy of FSX, is there any way to register this on Steam?

  10. gbrading says:

    Can they at least fix the screen tearing? I bought and played a boxed version of FSX this year and more than anything the screen tearing was what made me stop playing. I’m also hopeful that this new version will restore the Air Traffic Control multiplayer role.

  11. Scott- A2A says:

    I’d like to add that we (A2A) are rather positive on this. If managed correctly, FSX on Steam could be an enormous boost to flight simulation.

    If you have read some negativity on forums about this, I think most of this comes from:
    1. Some traditional simmers have not embraced Steam
    2. The way Microsoft managed Flight

    To point 1, personally, I think Steam has been the single best thing to happen to PC gaming in the past decade. One could make the argument that Steam single-handedly saved PC gaming. If you reject Steam, you reject the cloud. It makes no sense and in a way, it doesn’t matter. Steam is here to stay and for all the right reasons.

    On point 2, to no fault of Dovetail, they have a weary audience in 3rd party developers. This should not be thought as a negative, but rather an opportunity because, if Dovetail reaches out, they will be well received.

    The good news here is, it’s all in Dovetail’s hands, and from our vantage point today, we see no reason to be anything but positive (cautiously). Keep in mind, we’re going to see pretty fast how things progress. Two months from now, we could all have a different opinion. We’ll see, but one thing for sure, flight sim development is never boring.

    Scott – A2A Simulations

  12. mrvega says:

    Strangest Steam trailer I’ve ever seen…