Well, this is only mildly infuriating. The Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 team have released the patch notes for an update coming in seven days for the game, which many hoped would fix some of the dismal performance issues in the game.
Well, it turns out performance optimisations are taking a backseat to primarily fixing the installer…
The patch notes header, “Install Issues” has the largest number of items in it:
- The install process will no longer be blocked after a partial decompression of a package
- The install process will no longer be blocked when a local user account includes non-ASCII characters
- The install process will no longer be blocked after a failed connection to servers
- The install process will no longer display an empty onboarding screen under certain conditions
- The title will download a critical missing/deleted package to access the main menu even if the save data preference is set to offline (when an internet connection is available)
It’s no secret that the launch was bungled. I and many others tried to download the game and encountered issue after issue, turns out half the battle in getting MSFS 2020 to run was getting it installed. It took me two days to get the game installed on a 250/25 (250mbps down) cable internet connection.
Instead of letting those who pre-ordered the game pre-load it a day or two beforehand, it was a day one download. In Australia, customers on Aussie Broadband experienced congestion issues because it turns out Microsoft slapped the install files on an AWS Cloudfront server and didn’t have a localised region in Australia.
In the above linked Whirlpool forum thread, an Aussie Broadband representative is unrelenting in his takedown of how Microsoft handled this, explaining how they had to upgrade capacity at a node over in the US to handle the load.
Now we’re upgrading it to 100Gbps because we’re forced to do so, given it seems another game company thinks it’s okay for them to cheap out forcing your RSP to purchase more capacity and potentially increase their own operating costs to keep your speeds to their game fast on that 1 day every 30-60 days a patch comes out. You are their customer too, you should be on their forums angry at them, explaining you paid $180 for a game that they cheaped out on serving the Australian population.
Under the “Optimization” heading, there is only one line item:
- The performance of the title has been improved when the Display name plate option is set to active
And it is clear the game is not only taxing on the GPU, but seems to require a hefty CPU and even that doesn’t appear to be enough. In a Tom’s Hardware benchmark of the game, they conclude that right now, there is no consumer hardware that can run this game at high settings and have smooth decent framerates.
Just don’t plan on maxing out the graphics settings and getting ultra-smooth framerates. That might be possible five or ten years from now, depending on how much CPUs, in particular, can improve.Toms Hardware, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 benchmark
I understand this is a next-gen game that goes in directions that no other game has gone in, but it is also quite clear Asobo and partners need to iron out the kinks in this game. The benchmark above also shows that the game is CPU bottlenecked and even if you have the latest and greatest CPU with 12 cores (I have the AMD Ryzen 3900x), it will only use 4 cores.
I hope in future when Microsoft delivers the promised Directx 12 (Dx12) patch, they also fix the game to utilise more than 4 cores, even 8 cores would be a dramatic improvement. It is quite weird to see 8 cores sitting idle while 4 cores are being smashed.
Furthermore, it looks like the game is currently biased towards Intel CPU’s, with the benchmarks showing Intel clearly has an advantage, when we all know benchmarks for AMD’s latest powerhouse CPU’s are showing that the gap has closed dramatically. It’s possible Asobo were developing and testing this game on Intel CPU’s.
I have confidence that Asobo and Microsoft will sort these performance issues out, but it is disappointing to see a game like this struggle on modern expensive hardware. Either Asobo releases a patch or hardware vendors are going to have to release some new hardware capable of playing this game properly.
Tray tables up, enjoy your flight. Don’t worry about the framerate turbulence, we’ll get that sorted out for you eventually.