What improvements were put into MSFS in its first year?

A topic about this same subject - with another title - was justly closed. Please keep polite in this one.

For the XBox-folks, who wonder where MSFS comes from, what was improved in MSFS since release ? The first months I was not in yet, maybe some of the old club can answer that. I bought my MSFS Premium/Deluxe license back in October 2020.

At that time, updates mainly repaired communication and procedures in passenger aircraft. There were many AP wishes, when I became a member of this forum, I found RL pilots discussing complicated subjects involving Nav-maps and garmins…

In that period, for me, the most spectactular improvement was rudder handling at takeoff and ground airflow on landing, back in december, and the rudder improvements that followed. The ground airflow made landings with GA aircraft more difficult and much more fun.

Also, there was some point, I think in februari, coasts and water got improved. Less holes and wild level differences. I started to fly the Pacific, Bali, the Caribean…

With the UK world update, MS/Asobo added my favorite place and landing challenge, which is Out Skerries. Also, I like to fly the southern coast of GB, which really improved with the WU.

The Nordic and SU-5, scenery got worse and framerate got better, and stuttering went away. With SU-5 Hotfix 2 we got Ultra back and the frame rate went low again. But the stutters I had before the Nordic stayed away. Trees and building distances need improvement… but I think the PC version survived the XBox port.

A smaller issue that got solved with SU-5 is autopilot start when departing up high. Previously, one aeleron key or one elevator key turned the aircraft in a spin. That one got solved. When i now forget to switch off the AP it just compensates a bit what I do, instead of crashing me.

SU-5 also improved the UI. It is much faster now, especially restart, and restart challenge. Enjoy that, I do more landing challenges now. There are some things not handy, I had to go cockpit legacy mode and tweak with Interface Scaling, to get the tooltips small again, and… I want my minutes time setting back… but all in all, MSFS dialogs feel more responsive now. I can open the camera menu in Ultra mode, before the Nordic there was no way for me to do that in Ultra, on my low end (XBox-S class) hardware.

The World update Netherlands/Belgium/Luxemburg/France was fun for me, because I’m Dutch. I could suddenly fly over very familiar places like Rotterdam. Also I love the French Alps… and Paris…

We can fly under most bridges now.

Also the most silly bug in MSFS was also solved with the XBox-release: I now see a startup title “Take the Pilot’s seat”, previously it came up with “Set your Experience”…

It was worth the wait, I’ve never been happier than taking a screenshot with my 787 flying under a bridge and showing it to all my friends.


Snow was nice. Getting rid of the ridiculous icing effect was great. The CJ4 is really the only jet that works like a jet, so that was also a nice touch.

Yet, I’m still wondering why the sim LOOKS pretty much the same as it did after release. I’ll be happier when the improvements to weather, clouds, lighting, photogrammetry, imagery and airports that we’ve been teased about for the past year become reality.

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I mean, you could just look at the release notes for each update. Don’t they post those every time there’s a major fix/update?

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I think lots of improvements were put into MSFS in the first year and it will take me a long time to create a comprehensive list of it all. So I’ll mention only a few.

The overall fidelity of graphics and scenery along with many other associated elements have been optimized or dumbed down (depending on how you look at it) in order to optimize the title for Xbox hardware.

I’m thankful that finally we now have a flight game developed by gamers, for gamers. The twitchy, arcadey and completely fictional flight model has not changed at all which makes it easy for me to play this flight video game with my Xbox and PS4 controller, which is what the title is optimized for. Third party developers can’t easily port their own external flight model either which forces both default and 3rd party aircraft to use the default, gamey flight model, which is what I love. I’m a gamer after all.

Planes still do a 180 degree and flies back to departure airport after I press the approach button and I’m happy with that because I understand that this is first and foremost a game for gamers. Realism and accuracy is irrelevant here. And that’s exactly how it should be in a flight game and not flight sim.

The live weather is absolutely fictional most of the time, and I like it that way. If I wanted accurate live weather and flight model, I’d go and fly a real aircraft, or fire up X-plane 11 or Prepar3D with Active Sky running in the background anyways. MSFS 2020 is an entertainment video game where everything is mostly fictional, and I like it that way.

In a nutshell, yes I was promised a “sim for simmers” in 2019 by the developers and publishers, but now it is a completely fictional flight game for gamers and I love it that way. I paid £120 to play a flight video game and it looks so pretty that I don’t even care that it CTDs every 15-30 minutes. I can restart the game anyways. It’s okay.

Thank you Jorg and Robert for producing for us the best flight game of 2020.


Biggest step change improvement for me was the introduction of VR. IIRC it was actually pulled forwards from the originally planned date and made a very welcome Christmas present!

Yes, it absolutely devoured my time in tuning and tweaking everything, but was still worth it just to be able to climb into a cockpit and cruise around places that “one thing and another” had prevented me actually visting in 2020. The feeling of “being there” in VR brought the sim into a different league.


Xbox happened. :slightly_smiling_face:


Ah these release notes list everything… also things I don’t really understand or use :smile_cat:

This topic is about what you perceived yourself, as a MSFS user, as the most important improvements. I tried to list it for me (GA sim pilot and scenery lover) maybe others have a different list.

note: disagree with flagging things already… please leave it intact when it’s a longer story and about MSFS and not a personal attack of any kind… everyone can have an opinion… This is the discussion section !

I’ll cite one point from evidenceplz…

On this forum, I remember a time in 2020 people mainly used the classic flight model, because the modern flight model was buggy. This was before the SU-3 and the ground airflow changes. Then, everyone (also RL pilots) advised to use the modern flight model. So they definitely worked to improve that. Parameters in the config files should go along with these changes, every aircraft author should test the aircraft and release updates when the SU comes. It is a “life” system, not static. When the aircraft was ported once from FSX in 2020 and never changed, it will probably not work.


For me personally development seems very slow. This is probably because they added a lot of content which i’m not interested in. I mainly want to use the platform with 3rd party aircraft. But those aircraft still rely on a good SDK, weather system, and physics. Hopefully they will start working on the flying basics now they made their Xbox release deadline.


Besides for FSX imports, I can’t recall a time anyone recommended using the legacy flight model.


What improvements were put into MSFS in its first year?

Hey…we got rainbows!


Thx, I completely forgot !! rainbows should have been in the opening, I love them…

Some “opinions” get rather tiresome… Especially when they invade virtually every thread on this entire forum with their negativity and factually incorrect observations.

With that said, my personal favorite improvement is, as another person observed, VR. I read somewhere a summarization of what VR brings to the sim that I did not author, nor (sadly) did I take note of who did, but I agree with their assessment completely.

Flying MSFS in 2D is like flying a simulator. Flying it in VR is like flying an airplane. And as a RL pilot who has sadly been grounded by both a disability, and the financial hardship that comes with that, I found that to be the most accurate, most moving description of what it adds to the sim that I’ve yet seen.

Referring back to you OP, however, this is a feature that, unless a lot of people radically change their minds, will not be coming to Xbox, at least until the next generation, as most people who are “in the know” about such things have insisted, early and often, that is a feature that Xbox simply will not be getting, though I can understand given the power-hungry nature of the technology to begin with, why that is the case. As software in general becomes more and more power hungry over time (not just MSFS, but certainly including it), VR is only going to require ever more resources to pull off properly, and one of the positives and negatives of a console is that while they are limited to only a single config for all their multitudes of users, those devices also stand still in time technologically for a 4-5 year period.

When viewed through that lens, I can understand why they may be a bit skittish to add VR to the 2020 version of the Xbox. And while it’s sometimes easy to forget that it’s already that “old”, especially given the continued difficulties finding one without resorting to scalpers, it already is a year old from a tech perspective, and even older when you consider that it had to be finalized many months before it was ever released.



Two words, Working Title.
These guys fixed an arcade game into a tru simulator with the way they improved the CJ4 and Garmin panels. Because of their work I now fly daily and subscription to Navigraph is finally worth it.

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