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Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the games that could push people to spend even more money upgrading their PC rigs. Market-intelligence firm Jon Peddie Research claims that the kinds of people who are into simulation-style games are also among the most active and highest-spending players on PC. And that’s why the researchers at Jon Peddie are predicting Microsoft Flight Simulator fans will spend $2.6 billion over the next three years to improve their gaming experience with hardware.

Peddie bases that outlook on the assumption the excellent Flight Simulator will surpass 2.27 million copies sold. And the hardware includes components like video cards and CPU, but it also includes flight sticks, rudder pedals, VR headsets, authentic-style pilot chairs, and displays. The idea here is that the Flight Simulator audience has money to spend, and they love the process of improving their setup. So while not everyone who buys the game is going to spend $1,000 to get the best experience, some are going to spend significantly more.

And it’s notable that Microsoft and developer Asobo Studio built Flight Simulator with long-term support in mind. So fans can feel good about making investments into expensive hardware.

Microsoft Flight Simulator needs high-end hardware to look its best

Many people are going to need upgrades because of how demanding Flight Simulator is on its highest visual settings.


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“Flight simulators are incredibly demanding on processing capability and reward high resolution, large displays, and VR use,” Jon Peddie gaming analyst Ted Pollak said. “When new flight simulators are released, the hardware to run them at max settings and performance does not even exist yet. This creates a situation of constant hardware demand over the life of the title as fans chase the best experience. A significant number of flight sim fans only play Flight Sim. We took this into account when calculating whether the money will be spent specifically or partially because of this game.”

Pollak’s point about the appropriate hardware not even existing yet is something I noticed during my time with Flight Simulator. Even with a high-end video card and 12-core CPU, the game struggled at 4K. Peddie believes this will encourage faster adoption of the upcoming next generation of CPUs and GPUs.

“Beneficiaries of the Microsoft Flight Sim 2020 release will be Intel and AMD due to the demand flight simulators place on CPUs,” Peddie said. “The framerate can only be drawn when all physical calculations are resolved, and simulations need more physical and environmental resolving by the CPU than normal games. Simulation gamers know the CPU is not easily upgraded so they pay for the best. Nvidia, AMD, and Intel’s GPU offerings will also benefit as that processing is needed for high resolutions.”

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