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When does Microsoft Flight Simulator unlock? It's complicated

Globally on Steam, region-by-region on the MS Store

Tuesday will bring the long-awaited launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator, the first proper new entry in the revered aeroplane sim series in over a decade. It looks quite fancy. When exactly you'll get to play MS Flight Sim is a bit of a complicated matter, depending on which store you're going through. Get the game on Steam and bish bash bosh it'll unlock for everyone in the world at the same time. Play it on Microsoft's Store (which includes getting it through Xbox Game Pass) and you'll find 25 launch times spread across the globe.

Today's launch time announcement says the Steam launch is coming simultaneously worldwide at 04:00 UTC on Tuesday the 18th. That's 5am for us here in the UK, midnight for East coast Americans, and actually on Monday night as you push farther west.

On the Microsoft Store, it's complicated. There it's region-locked, launching at different times in different territories and timezones. Basically it's unlocking at midnight in your local timezone. But because Microsoft couldn't just say that, the blog post lays out a big long list of territories and times. I do like how unnecessarily precise this list is.

Which unlock system is better depends on where you live, I guess.

Microsoft Flight Simulator will cost £60/€70/$60, or be covered by an Xbox Game Pass subscription. The pricier Deluxe and Premium editions will come with extra planes and "handcrafted" models for more airports. And there's that physical edition on 10 DVDs.

Our Matthew recently had a chat with some of the developers from Asobo Studio:

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.