Is it correct to say MSFS graphic quality is limited to what Xbox can do?

This is a common belief, that the reason for example cloud depiction has suffered some degradation in quality, especially the closer you get to clouds, is that it has been ‘dumbed down’ to meet what Xbox Series X can handle, and in so doing limits what highest end PCs could potentially do. I must say that while global weather has improved overall, I find nearfield cloud depiction has suffered substantially since the major Xbox integration update, AKA Sim Update 5. Some have said, and I agree to some degree, that pre-SU5 volumetric clouds set on Medium are closer to what we have now set on Ultra.

Cloud depiction was just one example, so once again, is it correct to say MSFS’ graphic quality is limited to what Xbox can do? If so, why would that necessarily be the case? Surely sliders solve the issue of capability, typically in a game/sim. I have a lot of headroom in my GPU and would love to see better graphic quality, especially in cloud depiction as it is such a big part of any flight sim.

Share what you know on this as able. Cheers


1st they are in the process of re doing the entire weather system, from what Ive seen its not even close to done, so it actually may have more to do with that then anything or it may not. They are not going to tell you that even if it was.

In order to best appreciate what we have for clouds now its best to revisit FSX or XPLANE or P3D and see how really bad default clouds can be. ;p

1 Like

Nah. Pretty sure my 5950X/3090 combo looks better than a XBOX.


You phrased this as authoritative not opinion. Where are you getting this information, “they are in the process of re doing the entire…” and also, “from what I’ve seen…” Have you seen what they’re doing so far?


I think they changed the weather because it didn’t match METAR when it should have matched Meteoblue. I will always prefer Meteoblue weather even if it didn’t match METAR all the time.

Then how much they changed it because of xbox we will never know.

I think at this point it is fair to say the clouds took a fidelity hit about a year back so the Xbox version could release and share the same weather as the PC version while targeting 30 FPS.

But we got the PC version a year early, likely because they couldn’t optimize it for Xbox by that time… and COVID… so we kinda got to beta test the PC version for a year before the GOTY edition released with Xbox compatibility and likely represented a more finished product on both platforms.

It wouldn’t have been controversial at all had both versions released a year later, so the Xbox release coincided with PC.

There really don’t seem to be many other major corners cut or compromises made. Besides, maybe making sure everything can be navigated easily with a controller.

TLDR: COVID delayed the MSFS Xbox release, so we started with a rough PC build that could be released on schedule so MS could have at least one first party (well, Asobo but still Microsoft is in the game’s name) Holiday release in 2020.

1 Like

I love how PC gamers are so quick to blame Xbox for everything… I’ve been an PC simmer for 20 years and no matter what hardware you throw at your PC it will struggle to run FS2020 in exactly the same areas as the Xbox version does.

The series X is no slouch when it comes to performance…

All the Series X needs really is a bit more Ram. It has GDDR6 which is fast, though 16GB just doesnt quite suffice in FS2020…


The thing is Xbox is probably where MS/Asobo sought to get it’s biggest revenue stream. But that doesn’t mean the sim would have been better. The fact that Asobo now has to try to get the sim optimized on two platforms must be a huge challenge. Nothing against consoles, but it is really not the best for a flight simulator. The fact that Asobo have been able to achieve a flight simulation on a console is a huge accomplishment no doubt. One thing is certain, if the sim would have been PC only, it would have been well optimized by now and used the full potential of high end pc. Instead, it is currently dumbed down. Now, the truth is, the sim did look WAY better on PC until it launched for Xbox. That we all know. And that is the proof that it get dumbed down. After that there has been some improvements but at the same time some degradation on other phases. Again, nothing against Xbox, but the only reason it is made in Xbox is because well, majority have it and therefore, more revenue.



10 char


yes my friend


Now, in spite of my above comment, I do not think we would have MSFS 2020 at ALL if it weren’t for the Xbox and Microsoft wanting another flagship graphical powerhouse available for the new console.

And compared to the graphics of every single vanilla PC exclusive flight sim in the history of simulation, MSFS is leaps and bounds better than anything to come before or since.

But yeah, weather (clouds) needed to be limited, at least for a while, to insure both PC and Xbox could share in the same online world in real time with the same, real time weather sky without grinding the Xbox to a halt.


It’s probably good also to squeeze the developers for efficient performance.

The part I don’t like is some of the UI simplification, but even that can be done in smart ways.

1 Like

Absolutely positively.

That seems to be the consensus. What I can’t understand is why it needs to be that way. What are the barriers to, when MSFS launches, the correct initializing set of variables are loaded for Xbox, or for PC. Or, why not just increase detail via sliders for those whose hardware can do it. I don’t get the either/or piece. It must be something to do w/ the way it’s rendered, that in order to code for both to work on one piece of software they are technically cutoff from being able to exploit the potentially greater resources in the PC. If that’s true, that is a very unfortunate issue. Truthfully, I seriously doubt that is where it will go ultimately I am hopefully they will get back to the business of giving the software scale such that it can fully exploit the ever-improving PC hardware. I mean just think: to park it in its current state, for another 8.2y? That doesn’t make any sense at all, and doesn’t fit with what they have built so far–incongruous with the whole scale of the project. And Xbox will release more capable models as well over time. Of course, it would be really nice to hear this from Asobo, their dedication to this issue. Perhaps the pending DX-12 optimization will be part of the pathway to unlocking access to highest end hardware so as to maximize graphic quality.


Yes that is accurate!

I keep telling you why (although MS/Asobo have been silent about this).

The PC version as released had clouds that would grind the Xbox and slower PCs to a halt.

They were beautiful. And we are finally getting close to the fidelity we had before (albeit different). But because the sim is massively multiplayer and splits live play between Xbox and PC, the weather needs to be running from the same basic fundamental algorithms on both.

Those old clouds were NOT efficient.

The new clouds are far more efficient.

Xbox Series X and S needed to hit 30 FPS.

Now Asobo is building their new clouds upon a more Xbox friendly base. They will never look the same as before. But they definitely have improved at a pace where I wouldn’t be shocked to see them surpass the original clouds soon.

It sucks, but it was always the deal. Xbox and PC were always meant to share live weather, and they were meant to share multiplayer pilots between them, that’s just first party Game Pass titles these days for you, so the weather has to run smooth on Xbox first and foremost. You can’t just add horsepower like you can with a PC.

So it really looks like Asobo had to completely scrap their original clouds and start over with something that worked but was noticeably unfinished in order to finally release on Xbox a year late. This means the clouds were less than spectacular on PC compared to how they looked before when the Xbox friendly version first released and it’s taken a good while for the incremental cloud updates to finally start catching up to what we had before.

It was probably a tough call to have to make… and I mean, look at US! We notice that type of thing! :joy:

1 Like



1 Like

What are you talking about???

The sim is stunning - but I do recall using more RAM and VRAM prior to SU5.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.