Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly known as Project xCloud) is one of Microsoft’s new tentpole services. The incentive behind it is to provide existing PC/Xbox users with continuous access to some of their favorite titles while also allowing anyone to play hit titles wherever they want. Such has proved true for that of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The critically-acclaimed simulator launched on Xbox Cloud Gaming back in March and has since become one of its most-played titles. In fact, Microsoft Flight Simulator ended up being the most popular title on the service during that same month.
Cloud surfers and servers
Microsoft revealed this interesting new tidbit of info in a recent blog post on the main Xbox News site. There, Catherine Gluckstein, vice president and head of product at Xbox Cloud Gaming, explained that it’s the company’s mission to “empower everyone around the world to play the games they want, with the people they want, on the devices they already own. We call this Xbox Everywhere.”
Gluckstein went on to mention that Microsoft has “invested heavily in the cloud” to the benefit of both players and game creators. Basically, the cloud is similar to a symbiotic relationship. The ability to play a game via the cloud allows anyone to play, meaning creators have the potential of reaching a wider audience since the barrier of hardware requirements is lowered.
That fact alone may explain how Microsoft Flight Simulator proved to be so successful on Xbox Cloud Gaming during the month of March. Its arrival onto the service allowed for players to not only access on mobile devices, like the Steam Deck, but through more traditional setups like the Xbox One, Macs, and PCs that cannot natively support the sim due to power constraints and incompatibility.
No cargo constraints
Since day one, Microsoft Flight Simulator proved to put even beefy rigs to the test. To this day, it remains a difficult title to run smoothly. But, Xbox Cloud players legitimately never have to think twice about it. This is in stark contrast to the situation on PC, where there’s a seemingly never-ending deluge of posts asking “can I run this?” and trying different tweaks to get the best framerates.
Going back to Gluckstein’s post, while she doesn’t reveal the exact player count that Microsoft Flight Simulator generated, she does mention a few interesting statistics. Across the currently 26 supported countries, users have accessed the service on over “6,000 types of devices” resulting in “more than 10 million people around the world” who have been able to stream a game.
Developers are treating the cloud editions of their games as a separate entity, thus ensuring full compatibility. For instance, Asobo Studios has promised that it’s looking to soon enable keyboard-mouse functionality for the cloud version of Microsoft Flight Simulator as soon as the Xbox Cloud engineers make it a service-wide feature. This will further enhance the experience for a lot of games when being streamed through a computer, especially for one such as Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The fact that Xbox Cloud Gaming is bundled in as a part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service means Microsoft is ensuring as many people as possible have access to its library of titles. This allows it to play in markets that it’s competitors do not currently occupy. Although Sony is targeting a similar consumer base with its new cloud service that allows PC players to also stream PS5/PS4 titles.
All-in-all, the more choices consumers have, the more they’ll benefit as they pick the options best suited to them. And the more players that any game has, the longer it’s likely to receive support. But, for a title like Microsoft Flight Simulator, the latter is less of a concern seeing that its support has been promised to run for about the next decade.