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Gamers Will Spend $2.6 Billion on Gear To Play Microsoft Flight Simulator, Says JPR

Shutterstock image of an empty wallet
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you thought that Microsoft Flight Simulator was expensive at $120 for the full whammy of airports and aircraft, think again. Research firm Jon Peddie Research estimates that over the next three years, $2.6-billion USD will be spent on PC gaming hardware just to run and play the simulator.

In this calculation, JPR accounts for a handful of hardware groups, including everything ranging from CPUs, GPUs, PC builds, monitors, joysticks, rudder pedals, simulation pits, and even VR sales.

(Image credit: Jon Peddie Research)

“Flight simulators are incredibly demanding on processing capability and reward high resolution, large displays, and VR use. When new flight simulators are released, the hardware to run them at max settings and performance does not even exist yet." says Ted Pollak, Senior Analyst of the Gaming Industry. "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.”

The $2.6-billion figure is based on an expected sale of 2.27 million copies of Microsoft Flight Simulator, which translates back to $1145 spent on hardware per copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator -- and this is not including the price of the sim itself. 

  • TerryLaze
    Admin said:
    That's $1145 per copy of the simulator
    "Over the next three years" is a big part of this.
    This can mean three upgrades of about 380 average,so a good CPU a good GPU and a good storage/ram upgrade each year depending on what is most lacking each year.
    Huge 4k monitors or VR are going to be a relatively small piece of the pie I would think,especially if it's for this game only.
    Reply
  • Chung Leong
    Are they counting just equipment specific to flight sim? Things like rudders and throttles are pretty pricey, but how often do these get upgraded? Maybe people buy new ones for new plane models?
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    I think they are being a bit overblown there.

    Getting a top of the line graphics card is $1100, and a top of the line VR system is $1000. But I doubt many people will do that for one game.
    Reply
  • megreyhair
    I think they jumped the gun here. The game is no way stable. It constantly crashes, auto-pilot not working correctly, and many other issues. It is extremely frustrating when you put in a 3 hour flight and have the game crashed right before landing. Loading took forever. Graphics is exceptional and very realistic but unless they fix the issues quickly, this will never take off.

    Also flight sim is a very niche market. Hardcore flight simmer will spend ther money. But not every gamer will run out to spend all those $$$ to learn to take-off, fly and land an airplane.
    Reply
  • bigdragon
    Make good, PC-exclusive titles. Get serious investment in the PC ecosystem.

    I've been wanting Nvidia and AMD to open their own gaming studios for years. The absolute insane graphics card prices are very hard to justify when there's only console ports available to play. Why should I spend $500 for a 2070 Super when I can buy a PS4 for less, get the same same gaming experience, and get good exclusives like Spiderman?

    I do hope Microsoft keeps developing serious, PC-centric games. I haven't tried their new flight sim, but I did enjoy FSX. I learned to fly a Cessna 172 in real life thanks to FSX.
    Reply
  • Phaaze88
    bigdragon said:
    Why should I spend $500 for a 2070 Super when I can buy a PS4 for less, get the same same gaming experience, and get good exclusives like Spiderman?
    The 2 platforms shouldn't be compared at all, really. But people keep doing it for some reason...
    A)Console is a FIXED platform of the Home Entertainment variety. 'What you see is what you get' throughout its lifetime.

    B)PC is an OPEN platform of the DIY space. It has far more utility than just entertainment, even if that's the only reason the user got one.
    'What you see is what you get', does not apply here; it's only limited by software, the user's imagination, and how much they're willing to spend.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    digitalgriffin said:
    I think they are being a bit overblown there.

    Getting a top of the line graphics card is $1100, and a top of the line VR system is $1000. But I doubt many people will do that for one game.
    This is an AVERAGE. On one end of the spectrum, you will have hardcore flight-simmers spending well over 20k$ on a full-custom life-like setup and at the other end of the spectrum, you'll have the casual simmers not really spending any money beyond whatever they've already got for other uses. Most simmers will be somewhere in-between.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    InvalidError said:
    This is an AVERAGE. On one end of the spectrum, you will have hardcore flight-simmers spending well over 20k$ on a full-custom life-like setup and at the other end of the spectrum, you'll have the casual simmers not really spending any money beyond whatever they've already got for other uses. Most simmers will be somewhere in-between.
    Sure, there are people that will spend thousands of dollars on simulator-specific hardware, but they will make up an extremely tiny portion of those buying the simulator. The vast majority of those expected 2 million sales will be going to people who will spend nothing on hardware specifically for it. And of course, even most of those with expensive simulator setups probably won't be replacing what they already have when moving from existing flight sims, outside of perhaps the core computer hardware.

    I would expect increased spending on VR hardware though, as a VR setup will tend to be more immersive than most big multi-screen simulator setups. Still, most of those running the simulator in VR will likely not be picking up a headset specifically for Microsoft Flight Simulator. The same goes for PC hardware in general. There's a lot of grey area where the hardware will be used for other applications and games as well, so determining exactly how much hardware is sold specifically for running the simulator seems like a futile effort. And even if it were to account for a couple billion in hardware sales over three years, that should be put into the context of the couple hundred-billion that will likely be spent on gaming hardware in general over the same period.

    bigdragon said:
    I've been wanting Nvidia and AMD to open their own gaming studios for years. The absolute insane graphics card prices are very hard to justify when there's only console ports available to play. Why should I spend $500 for a 2070 Super when I can buy a PS4 for less, get the same same gaming experience, and get good exclusives like Spiderman?
    The problem with that is that you would end up with games released exclusively for certain brands of hardware. Is that what you really want? Games only playable on AMD, Nvidia or Intel graphics cards, where you need to own three different cards to play them all? Consoles do that because they are often selling their hardware at a loss, and need to make their money back through software and service sales, but I wouldn't want to see that on the PC. Oculus already tried something similar with their Oculus exclusives, and even tried to crack down on workarounds until they started receiving bad press for doing so. Being open is a great thing about the PC ecosystem, and I wouldn't want it to be more like consoles in that regard.

    And why compare a 2070 SUPER to a PS4? You certainly don't need anywhere near that level of hardware to receive a similar gaming experience as on the existing consoles. A sub-$200 graphics card will provide a similar level of graphics performance as a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, so long as you don't mind running the games at lower settings and frame rates similar to how they run on the consoles. A 2070 SUPER is more comparable to what the next consoles will offer, but those aren't even out yet, and it shouldn't be too long before a similar level of graphics hardware is available for hundreds of dollars less.

    As for the PC only getting "console ports", it's not so much games getting ported to the PC as it is games getting designed to run on as many systems as possible. With AAA games costing tens of millions of dollars to produce, many wouldn't be profitable if limited to a single platform. Big-budget exclusives generally only make sense as an incentive to bring people into a hardware ecosystem to spend money on other things. Today's consoles are more or less just locked-down PCs, so from a profitability standpoint, it generally doesn't make much sense to artificially restrict PC games from releasing on consoles as well. And even a lot of those "console exclusives" eventually make their way to PC.
    Reply
  • Chung Leong
    cryoburner said:
    I would expect increased spending on VR hardware though, as a VR setup will tend to be more immersive than most big multi-screen simulator setups.

    Why would any flight-sim enthusiast buy a VR goggle? An airliner cockpit is not exactly a very exciting place to be on its own. Just panels with knobs and buttons. Looking at them is not much of a simulation when you can't actually interact with them, even when they're in stereoscopic 3D.
    Reply
  • ThatMouse
    Admin said:
    That's $1145 per copy of the simulator

    Gamers Will Spend $2.6 Billion on Gear To Play Microsoft Flight Simulator, Says JPR : Read more

    Almost every PC gamer will be upgrading their video card in the next 3 years anyway. Very few people buy a PC just to play one game.
    Reply