Microsoft has announced that it will delay introduction of Windows Vista for consumers until January 2007. What does this mean for flightsimmers? Well, since the next version, FSX, is meant to take advantage of the 64-bit dual processor features of Vista it means a delay until FSX can be fully used, even though a version of it is still on track for release in late 2006. For more details, and our analysis of what this means for the flightsim hobby, click on Read More.
Microsoft Delays Release of Windows Vista From Consumers and FSX for Vista
Microsoft announced on Tuesday, March 21, 2006, that it would delay the introduction of Windows Vista for consumers until January, 2007. "Microsoft will release some versions of the new operating system for big businesses in November as planned, but the consumer version will be postponed until January," said Jim Allchin, co-president of the Microsoft division that includes Windows.
While this disclosure was a major bombshell for the entire PC industry, it also creates fallout for Microsoft Flight Simulator X.
FSX will be released, as previously reported by FlightSim.Com, for the 2006 holiday season but without any of the Windows Vista features enabled. According to reliable sources at Microsoft ACES Studio, "Flight Simulator X is still on track for a holiday 2006 release and will be optimized for Windows Vista when Vista is released."
Reading Between the Lines
The Vista delay means that the real attraction of FSX, which takes advantage of all the new Windows Vista graphics processing goodies - will also be delayed. For how long is anybody's guess at this point because Microsoft folks are very tight-lipped about this. The blogs are notoriously unreliable as accurate sources of information so we do not report unsubstantiated claims or rumors.
What Does This All Mean For Flightsimmers?
For starters, expect a lengthy amount of time to pass, measured in months, between the release of FSX for Windows XP and the Windows Vista version. Secondly, the question remains of whether the Vista version will be a free upgrade patch, or a separate payware version such as the way Microsoft had two versions of FS2000 and FS2002.
Ultimately, it means there's a lot of life in our trusty FS2004 yet. Our recommendation is to wait and see what finally transpires with FSX and Windows Vista and not to jump at the first release of FSX for Windows XP. So far, we have not seen anything about FSX and Windows XP that makes it spectacularly better than FS2004. But, there is a long way to go from now until FSX is finally released.
From the previews we have seen and reported on here, the true power of FSX will only be unleashed while running under Windows Vista. Add to that the inevitable hangar-full of payware and freeware add-ons that extend the FSX features to even greater heights and you have yet another reason to just wait-and-see. Meantime, enjoy the amazing realism of FS2004.
When FSX is released for Windows XP it will only be a 32-bit application. It will run very well under Windows XP which is a 32-bit operating system after all.
Unfortunately, we will all have to wait a lot longer to see what's in store for FSX and Windows Vista which is a 64-bit operating system that's designed to maximize the power of Dual Core processing. Dual Core Processors are like having twin Pentium engines running on the same microprocessor chip. But, applications need to be designed to optimize that processing horsepower.