When Microsoft Flight Simulator launched for PC in 2020, the most passionate of the sim community were quick to point out its lack of ‘complex airliners.’ That is, commercial aircraft that have the characteristics of their real-life counterparts. As the sim continues to mature, the number of such products that fit that category have been growing slowly but surely. Now, PMDG, one of the biggest names in the game, is on the cusp of releasing its first of such products for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The studio has a very long and seasoned history with the world of flight simulator add-ons. Over the last several months, it’s been rebuilding one of its hit products, the Boeing 737 Series, for Microsoft’s next-gen sim. As of the latest development update from February 5, PMDG administrator “RSRandazzo” announced that the “wait is nearly over” for the 737 project.
On final approach
Progress for this add-on grinded to a controversial halt some time ago. The dev team announced that it was waiting for Asobo to resolve some issues in the Microsoft Flight Simulator‘s coding that was preventing further development. The matter has since been resolved, and progress on the 737 project has been rapidly coming together ever since. As of the latest update, the team is currently working on various aircraft subsystems, the flight model, some texture refinements, and, of course, lots of debugging and further testing.
The update mentioned that the PMDG 737 is performing nominally enough in the sim. The plane “is now being flown on complete flight stages as we continue to look for issues hiding in the background.”
“From a simulation standpoint the software is incredibly stable and well mannered so we are in the process chasing down things that I would call ‘platform interface’ issues,” RSRandazzo continued. That’s very good news, and indicates that the hardest part of the aircraft’s core development is pretty much over and now the team is mostly focused on refinements and optimizations so it can be in a polished state for release.
Speaking of release, PMDG is not yet providing a solid release window at this time for fear of an unprecedented delay taking place and thus causing strife with its customers. But the team does seem to internally already have an idea of when that will be. In the immediate future, it’s looking towards moving the project to the beta phase.
Whenever the PMDG 737 for Microsoft Flight Simulator does finally launch, the team has decided to try out a new pricing model for the first time in its 25-year history. Customers will be able to decide which variation of the aircraft they’d like to purchase, rather than only being able to buy the entire collection. This will result in lower prices than the standard. The reason for this change compared to the past is due to Microsoft Flight Simulator‘s far higher engagement rate and sales, thus making add-on products more accessible to the masses.
There are various other large-scale airliner projects in the works for Microsoft Flight Simulator. These include DC Design’s Concorde, and Asobo’s very own joint venture with Aerosoft that involves rolling out the ATR 42/72 turboprop. Aerosoft was the first studio out of the gate with a complex airliner for Microsoft Flight Simulator when it launched the CRJ 550/700 back in 2021.