The results from the FlightSim Community survey 2021 are in. Hosted by Navigraph, this is the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind and has brought with it some interesting insight into the state of the flight simulation community.
This year 24,200 people participated in the FlightSim Community Survey – the largest ever number of respondents. Interestingly, over half of these people said they did not take part in last year’s survey. In a video and blog post produced by Navigraph, they look over some of the key results from those who took part in the community survey.
Some Standout Results
A survey of this size in the community helps to gauge just how the flight simulation space is doing. Each of the 93 questions has been designed to help publishers, developers, media outlets and content creators know the pulse of the community and help guide future products or creations to suit the audience. With that in mind, the results brought with it some surprising (and some unsurprising) results.
Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC is the dominant platform. 75% of respondents said they have used the new simulator. This is more than 25% of those who used the second-biggest platform: X-Plane 11.50+. Prepar3D v5 sits at just over 20%, showcasing a decline in recent years and a massive shift in platform popularity. X-Plane looks to continue growing with its fanbase as over 50% of respondents said they would possibly be buying X-Plane 12 upon release.
Flight simulation hardware has also gained popularity during the year. One issue that has plagued many users is the inability to buy hardware due to production line issues or shipping problems. The majority of people were unable to get graphics cards this year due to those supply chain issues, whilst flight controls came in a close second. Throttle quadrants were at the top of the list for what people owned in terms of flight sim peripherals, whilst pedals and joysticks came in second and third, respectively.
Despite the number of new people who took the survey this year, there was very little shift in the overall demographic for people who responded. Flight simulation is still hugely male-dominated (nearly 97%) and the age distribution has remained relatively contestant year after year. Most people who took the survey also came from the US, the UK, or Germany. The way people fly has also remained mostly the same (most going for IFR flights) and many people still flying narrow-body commercial jets as their go-to type.
Finally, it was great to see that many of you are still using media outlets and content creators to learn about new products. For the fourth year in a row, FSElite is still the community’s preferred media outlet with 20% of respondents saying they use us “most of the time” or “frequently”. Thank you to everyone who selected those options in the survey. It’s also interesting to see such a huge response to YouTube videos being a primary source of product recommendations. It’s also great to see that over 23% of people who took the survey want to contribute to the community in some way. We’ll have a few opportunities for those people soon.
A More Detailed Analysis
We’re still digesting and putting together our thoughts on the complete results. But if you’re keen to dive into the details, a 122-page report has been produced by Navigraph which you can read right now.
Following our short break over the holiday period, we’ll be putting together our in-depth analysis on the results and how we’ll be taking the learnings and applying it to our content for 2022. The next year is certainly looking interesting and the growth of the industry continues to exceed many expectations.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part this year and to those companies that supported Navigraph in making this the biggest survey yet.