It’s not just the performance, or the peripheral availability, or the Marketplace shuns. It’s all of that, plus a little bit of my own personal issues of wanting to run before I can walk, with respect to peripherals and simulator realism.
After spending years coveting others’ expensive simulator setups and PC builds, I was so excited to see this title coming to the Series X and was pretty optimistic as far as the specs of the Series X. Fast forward to release and I was having a blast with a buttery-smooth experience no matter what I was doing. First with an Xbox controller, then with a T.Flight HOTAS One, then with a Turtle Beach VelocityOne.
Flew through all of the training missions, a few bush trips, tried to get an A on as many landing challenges as I could, and felt pretty comfortable with my sim-level mastery of the 152, the 172, and the CJ4. Took a break to mash refresh on my phone during my honeymoon when Turtle Beach opened up pre-orders for the VelocityOne so I could snag one of those (I know…)
I read that Honeycomb was releasing their XPC Alpha yoke along with a hub that would enable functionality for the Bravo (my dream piece of kit) - total radio silence form Honeycomb as to the production status of these units (as well as their Charlie rudder pedals). I actually bought a Bravo in anticipation of future shortages once the Xbox-compatible bits are released, and I’m just sitting here with this stupid thing mounted on my desk just so I can fiddle with the AP dials and the tension resistance knobs. I think I have a problem.
The VelocityOne is honestly a pretty great all-in-one unit and if I go the Honeycomb route, be it on Xbox or PC, I’ll really miss that trim wheel and vernier TPM controls for GA aircraft. But as nice as it is to get off the screen and start setting aircraft configs on a real controller (lights, landing gear, flaps), it is cheap feeling plastic with no resistance on the throttles and it breaks immersion for me.
Dialing up the tension on the Bravo and imagining taxiing an Airbus is the most exciting thing in the world to me. Those landing gear lights and that annunciator panel. I’m really just so excited to use this stuff but I have very little faith in Honeycomb’s community engagement with respect to release dates, availability, delays, and honestly, how the whole “hub” ecosystem will work. I read about people having annunciator panel issues or landing gear lighting issues even on PC; hard to imagine this will end up being a seamless port over to Xbox.
Fired up the sim last night for a short flight before bed and the “here’s your mouse cursor but you can’t click anything” bug came back (dealbreaker for me - I’m always clicking around the cockpit). Quick Resume trick didn’t fix it, neither did restarting the sim and my Xbox, or switching the USB port for the dongle.
Stuttering and landing-ruining framerate drops on final approach don’t seem to be getting any better, doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to whether AI traffic and weather affect this, it just all kinda feels like a ■■■■-shoot and that sucks when you’ve allocated part of your night to simulating a realistic flight of any scope.
I love that my Xbox is the same method by which I can play a few minutes of Forza or Red Dead or Titanfall and it also doubles as my MSFS computer. I love how modular that is, as well as how easy it is to dismantle the VelocityOne and turn my “cockpit” back into my work-from-home desk. But then I’ll see other simmers out there with sweet radio stack peripherals alongside the Honeycomb stuff and VR this and eye-tracking that and it almost feels like a foregone conclusion that I should probably just be simming on PC.
Whole other can of worms there - all my stuff is Apple and I’m not sure how to go about building a PC that will run this sim to a standard I’m comfortable with. Actually, seeing a lot of people with expensive rigs that still complain about some of the performance things mentioned in this post. Looking at the MSFS Discord tech channel, I wonder how anyone can keep these GeForce NX53479875s and Nvidia MX-53297985 model numbers straight, or weed out what makes for a good build or not.
To wrap up this rambling post, I’ll say if Honeycomb can get their stuff out fairly soon and if it actually works as promised, I’m a pretty happy guy I think. But while waiting for these products, and crashing to Xbox home screen and stuttering every time I try to land, I’m wasting a lot of precious time that I could be spending trying to get better. And I know it’s just a stupid game, but like the PC folks like to remind us Xbox players, it is not a game, it is a sim, and I’m starting to wonder if I’m reading the writing on the wall as far as the best and most sustainable platform on which to experience it.
Thoughts from either side of the fence welcome!