Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020 will be getting a closed beta test at the end of this month, Microsoft and Asobo have revealed, inviting more people to sample and test the game ahead of a release planned for later this year.
The closed beta will get under way on 30th July, with the pool of participants set to expand with a fresh wave of invitations going out to those that have registered for the current alpha tests. The testing is currently only underway on PC, but we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for an Xbox One beta in the run up to its release.
The team clarify that, “If you are currently an Alpha tester, you will be automatically granted access to the closed beta,” and that “If you are not currently an alpha tester, we will be sending out new invitations for the closed beta participation” to those that have already applied. It’s not known how the closed beta phase will affect the strict NDA that alpha testers are currently under.
Ahead of the closed beta, the closed alpha has been updated to alpha 5, which focusses on fixing glitches, tweaking flight dynamics, individual aircraft, multiplayer, peripheral support, weather and much more. Even within the alpha testing stages, the game has looked sublime, with fantastic dynamic weather effects and the entirety of the world to fly across.
The game will also be handling its shared world online multiplayer, with an intriguing blend of real world flight data and game players, on a mixture of realistic and just for fun servers, all of which is set up dynamically and scaled to the power of your console or PC and the bandwidth you have available – see the Flight Simulator system requirements here.
A key aspect not to be overlooked is the need for tons of hard drive space and a solid internet connection. The game will dynamically stream data from the Azure cloud, filling in a lot of the details of its recreation of the real world as you fly around. Thankfully it seems that lower quality data is possible with just a 5Mbps connection, but ideally you’ll want at least 20Mbps, if not 50Mbps. Though the specs quote 150GB, don’t expect that to be the initial install, as Asobo have previously explained that the game will cache a lot of the world data so you won’t necessarily be streaming the same airport or city multiple times if you fly over it again.
When the game plans for a full release is anybody’s guess, but it’s shaping up nicely. I previewed Microsoft Flight Simulator at XO19, saying, “I came away from Flight Simulator very impressed. The series evolved a great deal from its humble beginnings in the 80s through to Flight Simulator X in 2006, and that style of flight sim continued with games like X-Plane and Aerofly, but Flight Simulator is something else entirely with its worldwide scope. This is absolutely one to keep an eye on in 2020.”