Microsoft Flight to be free-to-play

Microsoft Flight, the latest in Microsoft's stalled Flight Sim series, will be released in spring this year and will be free-to-play, according to a press release.

The free download will allow armchair pilots to soar above Hawaii's Big Island, and along with a free flight mode will also include missions, flying challenges and a number of hidden "aerocaches" to find. Region-specific weather patterns and customisable control realism complete the package.

Experienced (and time-rich) players will be pleased to hear that, despite the free-to-play nature of Flight, accurately rendered cockpits and authentic piloting procedures still feature, though new players can choose a more accessible control scheme.

Additional content can be purchased in-game, and Games for Windows Live account holders will receive more missions, an online profile and achievements, and the Boeing Stearman aircraft at no extra cost. Given the number of add-on packs, official or otherwise, released for past Flight Simulators, the free-to-play model is a great fit – whether modding enthusiasts will be able to make their content available through official channels remains to be seen, though.

You can sign up for the closed beta at the game's official website.

The series, originally developed by the internal and now defunct Aces Studio, most recent instalment was Microsoft Flight Simulator X, released in 2006.