The newest edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator (the first in seven years, nonetheless) came out only ten days ago, but it’s already proving to be a pretty stunning piece of gamework. Case in point: players are actually flying straight into real-time weather events, including cataclysmic storms like Hurricane Laura.
Virtually explore real-life deadly environments — The impressive technological feat comes courtesy of a partnership with the Swiss meteorological service, Meteoblue, which helped to divide up the globe into 2 million, 100-square-mile sections incorporating all manner of real-time weather data that approximates the world’s climate conditions at any given time. Knowing this, a sizable number of players fired up their various planes and jetted off towards the Louisiana-Texas border this week. And, lo and behold, there was a massive, terrifying, beautiful Category 4 hurricane awaiting them in 4K resolution.
While Microsoft Flight Simulator doesn’t virtualize weather systems to match individual cloud formations and patterns (let’s not get greedy, okay?) it does factor in a ton of information to simulate similar environments to their real-life counterparts. Apart from the obvious cool factor, this kind of easily-accessible technology within gaming could prove an invaluable teaching tool in future scenarios. As one player noted on Twitter, while there were no actual planes in the same airspace as Hurricane Laura — for obvious reasons — there were quite a few Microsoft Flight Simulator players in the radar area.
Tracking virtual versions of real-life storms is one of many recent innovative group activities within video game worlds. It’s also probably one of the more serious, seeing as how players in other games are just straight up designing penis-shaped fireworks now. Curious Xbox One and gaming PC owners can cop Microsoft Flight Simulator's standard version for $59.99, or shell out up to $119.99 for various upgraded editions. No word yet on whether or not the game will be included in Microsoft's xCloud Android streaming service that launches on September 15th, but the service sounds like it's worth checking out on its own, regardless.