Microsoft Flight Simulator is about to get a huge PC performance boost

We already knew that July is going to be a big month for Microsoft Flight Simulator thanks to its incoming launch on Xbox Series X|S, but today we learned that it'll be even bigger than we initially imagined. Asobo Studio has revealed that it's shipping new performance optimizations to the PC version of Microsoft Flight Simulator in Sim Update 5, which will be landing alongside the Xbox version on July 27th.

Asobo Studio CEO Sebastian Wloch gave us a look at this performance update in a recent Q&A live stream (as spotted and captured by Twinfinite), and it's safe to say that the differences are dramatic. Wloch first shows the game running Sim Update 4 on his work rig, which uses a Core i7-9700K and an RTX 2060 Super with the graphics settings at Ultra.

While flying over Manhattan, the framerate hovers between 35 and 40 FPS, dropping to near 30 as he flies over some denser parts of the city. He also shows that CPU usage is near or at 100% the entire time with lower GPU utilization. System memory usage was also high, using around 16GB of 32GB. Before showing us how the game performs in Sim Update 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator executive producer Martial Bossard also notes that there's a lot of stuttering on Wloch's rig in Sim Update 4.

When Wloch switches over to a demo of Sim Update 5, the difference in performance is night and day. We see the framerate jump to around 60 FPS in this demo, dropping to around 55 FPS in more dense areas with a big reduction in stuttering. Showing us the hardware details, we see that memory usage has dropped to 4.7GB, while GPU utilization has gone up to 99% and CPU utilization has dropped to around 75%. It's an impressive jump in performance, to say the least.

Wloch also confirmed that Sim Update 5 will fix an issue with tree draw distance that was tied to latitude, giving us a quick peek at what that will look like. Needless to say, if you've seen forests abruptly end in sharp treelines as you were flying, that will probably soon be a thing of the past.

Asobo Studio also shared some more details about the Xbox Series X|S version during the stream, confirming that the console version will offer variable frame rate on TVs and displays that support it. In addition, Microsoft Flight Simulator head Jorg Neumann confirmed that Microsoft is working on bringing the game to Xbox One via Xbox Cloud Streaming but didn't give us a timeline on when that will happen. We also learned that the marketplace should be more or less the same between the console and PC versions, though developers who are making marketplace items for PC ultimately get to decide whether or not that content comes to Xbox as well.

All in all, it sounds like Sim Update 5 is going to be a big one, at least from a performance standpoint. Unfortunately, it sounds like the update will ship without DirectX 12 support for the PC version of the game, as Asobo Studio says that's still in development. We'll let you know when more is revealed about the Xbox Series X version and Sim Update 5, so stay tuned.