Phil Spencer ‘thought there was no f***ing way’ Flight Sim was running in real-time
Microsoft Flight Simulator’s boss describes his pitch meeting: “we knew we had something”
Microsoft Flight Simulator head Jorg Neumann has revealed how gaming boss Phil Spencer reacted when he saw the latest Xbox and PC sim for the first time, proclaiming that there was “no fucking way” it was running in real-time.
Speaking to VGC as part of a forthcoming interview, Neumann said he could tell by Spencer’s reaction that his project had potential, because “none of the guys in that room were simmers, and they all felt something.”
He explained: “When I first pitched this, the very first demo I showed to Phil [Spencer] was Seattle in 3D. I flew over Microsoft Campus – literally the building we were sitting talking in – and he was like, ‘why are you showing me a video of Seattle?’ Then I knew I’d got him.”
Microsoft Flight Simulator: 40th Anniversary - trailer
He continued: “Then I said, ‘this is real time’ and he said, ‘no fucking way’ [laughs], and we knew we had something. None of the guys in that room were simmers, and they all felt something.”
Flight Simulator was eventually released in 2020 to widespread critical acclaim. Like the reaction to his initial pitch, Neumann said he believed this success was partly due to the title’s appeal as an Earth simulator, rather than a flight sim.
“When we launched, we found people that liked or had some respect for airplanes, but they really liked the planet. That’s the killer app. That’s what brought in new people,” he explained.
“If this had been an exceptionally well-executed physics simulator with an atmosphere and airlines, I don’t think it would have gone anywhere near as far.”
Microsoft Flight Simulator’s 40th anniversary update was released last week, bringing helicopters, gliders and other new aircraft to the game.
The free update, which is included with Xbox Game Pass, adds several historical aircraft, including the Wright Flyer, the Spirit of St Lewis and the Hughes H-4 Hercules ‘Spruce Goose’.
It also includes a number of classic airports and planes that were featured in previous games, including 2006’s Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight. Missions from classic games were also added as part of the update.
Microsoft Flight Simulator is available on Xbox Series X|S and PC with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, Windows, and Steam, and on Xbox One and supported mobile phones, tablets, and lower-spec PCs via Xbox Cloud Gaming.