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FSX/FS2020, Prepar3D or X-Plane 11? WHICH ONE IS THE BEST?

The choice for your flight simulator platform remains a difficult one. Almost everyone you ask has their own preference and their own opinion. And actually there is no wrong answer, because every flight sim has its pros and cons. In this blog I try to help you make a choice. 

FLIGHT SIMULATOR X
(STEAM EDITION) & Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Microsoft Flight Simulator X (Steam Edition)
Flight Simulator X is the best-selling flight sim with the most users worldwide. It is not so strange when you consider that Microsoft released this flight sim in 2006 and until recently it was the only major flight simulator. Unfortunately, after two service packs, it was decided that flight simulation no longer fit within Microsoft, so that further development (and bug fixing) came to a halt.

At the end of 2014, the English Dovetail Games revived FSX 'again' by taking over the license from Microsoft, fixing known bugs and adapting the software for today's systems (after all, the software was already more than five years old) not updated).
FSX was reissued on the Steam platform as Flight Simulator X Steam Edition (FSX: SE).
So far the history of FSX in a nutshell.

Why would you choose software more than 10 years old? The platform is already quite outdated. The answer is actually quite simple; the flight simulation community has been anything but quiet for the past ten years. Since FSX is the largest platform, add-on developers have continued to develop for FSX and have become increasingly better at it. This means that most free and payware addons are available for FSX.
What you have to pay attention to when buying addons nowadays is that they must be compatible with FSX Steam Edition. Not all, especially older addons, work with FSX: SE.

Another big advantage of FSX: SE is the price. The basic set, without addons, is already available for less than € 30.00.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
The next-gen Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flightsimulator 2020 (FS2020) is the next-gen flight simulator and the already legendary successor to Microsoft FSX. From small planes to airliners, from America to Antarctica; you fly all over the world in the most realistic aircraft that have been worked out in great detail. Fly in the most realistic and challenging weather conditions and enjoy!

A completely new 3D engine
For Flight Simulator 2020, Microsoft has developed a completely new 3D engine. This engine supports 4K displays and HDR (High Dynamic Range) photographic images making FS2020 more detailed than all its predecessors. All these details are brought to life with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI); for example, water will flow in the wind direction.

Ultra realistic flight model
With a newly developed flight model, Microsoft Flight simulator is more realistic than ever. Forces are dynamically built up and weather conditions, such as flying through clouds, influence this. This makes the simulation ultra realistic. 

PREPAR3D

Prepar3D stems from Microsoft Flight simulator X, but was further developed by aircraft manufacturer LockheedMartin as training software for professionals. This has also greatly improved the realism of the flight sim compared to FSX. Because the software is intended for professional use, the software should not be used other than for training purposes.

Where FSX has stood still in the development, P3D has been further developed and version 4 was released in 2017. In P3D V4 there is support for 64-bit processors (the standard nowadays) and more and more attention for Virtual Reality. And although P3D has made many steps, the basic simulation is of course still based on the 2006 simulator, so that some people jokingly call P3D FSX on steroids. That the base has remained the same as FSX is very clear when you look at the user interface: it has remained the same (apart from the use of color). But that equal basis also has advantages, because this also means that many addons issued for FSX work on P3D. Always check with the publisher of the FSX addon whether it is also suitable for Prepar 3D.

As more and more FSX pilots make the switch to P3D (despite not meeting the licensing requirements), more developers of addons are also turning to Lockheed Martin's software. Good news for the Prepar3D users.

X-PLANE 11

X-Plane is a completely self-contained platform developed by Laminair Research that has seen great growth since version 11 (current version) as it has been embraced by Aerosoft. X-Plane is also the only flight simulator that is suitable for both PC and Mac.

What XP11 has in mind for the aforementioned flight sims is that it does not carry the "burden" of software from 2006. X-Plane is graphically stronger and especially with standard General Aviation aircraft, the flight models have been further developed, which only improves the quality of the simulation.

X-Plane is also developing fast. In every new update, more features are available, more scenery is available and bugs are fixed. The developers of X-Plane have made a roadmap that works towards developments and that it is transparent about which features are in the pipeline. A good example of this is Virtual Reality, which was initially not available in X-Plane 11, but is now fully compatible with the Oculus Rift and HTC vive. Also worth mentioning: X-Plane employs developers who ensure that new landmarks are added with every update. The flight sim gets better and more complete with every update.

Fewer addons are available for X-Plane 11 than for FSX / P3D, and the addons are generally slightly more expensive than the average FSX / P3D addons. The addons are generally better appreciated.

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