The results from the Navigraph FlightSim Community 2020 Survey has been released. The survey took place late last year and saw over 23,500 people respond to the survey answering a range of questions to help developers, publishers, media outlets and content creators better understand the community to continue creating great flight simulator related content. The results of that survey has been presented by Magnus from Navigraph and the data is available to read through the 121-page report.
In total, 119 questions were asked making it the most comprehensive survey of its kind. With the release of major updates and simulation platforms, 2020 was an interesting year for flight simulation. The survey also contained questions influenced by the world-wide pandemic and how COVID-19 was impacting people’s simulator habits and spending.
Navigraph has complied all of the data for the community to also understand the results of the survey. Let’s take a look at some of the data provided.
Age and gender remain mostly the same from previous years, with flight simulation still male-dominated and an age range that is mostly consistent. As for where respondents live, the results show similar data to previous years with the US, the UK and Germany in the top three still and making up over 50% of all those who took part in the survey.
Another key question which was part of the survey was to understand people’s relation to aviation. From all respondents, 19.3% are involved within the aviation industry in a variety of roles. The largest role is that of an airline pilot, followed by an engineer/mechanic. 9% of respondents currently have a PPL, whilst 74.2% don’t hold any kind of pilot license. That said, 7.8% said they are currently enrolled in flight school and over 25% said they would be keen to take real-world lessons next year.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated results is which simulator is the primary platform for people in the community. It’s clear that Microsoft Flight Simulator is currently people’s most used platform with 40% of respondents saying they use it either frequently or most of the time. X-Plane 11.50+ then followed second with a big portion of people using the simulator often. Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D v4 comes third, followed by version 5.
However, when combining the simulator into family groups, Microsoft Flight Simulator still holds the most title for the most used simulator, followed by X-Plane and then Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D. Older sims such as FS2002, FS2004 and FSX still have a strong following.
It’s also worth noting the number of people who switched simulators to and from which simulators.
Spending was another key focus on the survey this year. As we have seen from hardware shortages and new releases, hardware spending for this year is significantly up compared to 2019. Software, on the other hand, has seen some differences with more people spending less, but overall people spent more during 2019 compared to this year.
The final section we want to feature in this post is how the community consumes media within the flight simulation space. We’re super thankful to the entire community for saying that they use FSElite as their most frequented site for media content. This is the third year in a row where we’ve been voted as such. Another interesting fact is how people are influenced to buy addons. Over 50% said that news or reviews from media sites help their decision making.
Ultimately, all of the data collected from this survey will help FSElite, other media partners, developers, publishers and content creators continue to support the flight simulation community.
Whilst this is just a small selection of what was asked in the survey, there is still some interesting facts on people’s use of VR, how they want to see gamification in the simulator and how important specific addons are to them. You can read the full results from the survey now in the 121-page document, read their overview blog post, or watch the video highlighting some of the key elements.
Is there anything that grabs your interest or you find surprising? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.