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Winners and Losers: Flight Simulator soars while Oculus’ Facebook overlords come calling

Want to know how the biggest names in tech fared this week but can’t be faffed with rummaging through the headlines? Trusted Reviews’ Winners and Losers has got you covered.

It has to be said that gaming is having a terrific time at the moment. Last week we highlighted Fall Guys – everyone’s new favourite battle royale – as the winner, but this week the world has been introduced to yet another banger in the form of Microsoft Flight Simulator (or Flight Simulator 2020 depending on who you talk to).

VR on the other hand, which you would’ve assumed might have emerged into a great new era as the world shut down, has simply been hit with another hurdle after Facebook’s interference. It might not be a deal-breaker for some, but for others, it’s just an irritating reminder of that one thing we wanted to forget, that Mark Zuckerberg can do whatever he wants with Oculus. Oh the humanity.

Winner: Microsoft Flight Simulator

To most of the general public, niche titles like Farming Simulator and Bus Simulator sound like a one-way ticket to an early bedtime, but to a few dedicated fans, these low-key games are like nectar. Well, for the first time it seems as though one of these titles has broken the mould, launching into the stratosphere to gain control of the zeitgeist. I am of course talking about Microsoft Flight Simulator.

The long dormant franchise has been revitalised for 2020, but instead of just being another entry tasking players with flying from point A to point B, this new Flight Simulator has an ace up its sleeve. The game uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology and true to life mapping data in order to give a realistic in-game representation of our very own planet. That’s right, a game now exists where you can travel the entire world.

While the technology isn’t perfect – Buckingham Palace has been turned into a block of flats – it’s still largely on the money, and the ability to fly above your childhood home offers a feeling unlike any other game out there.

There’s probably something to be said about the coincidentally brilliant timing of Flight Simulator’s release. Much like how Animal Crossing: New Horizons gave us a way to engage with friends at the start of lockdown, Flight Simulator now gives us a chance to remember the great outdoors and everything we’ve missed for the last 10 years five months.

Loser: Oculus

I’m sorry to say it folks, but the dream is over. Even though Oculus has been a key pioneer of VR technology in the modern age, its proponents have had to skim over the fact that Facebook has owned the company for a number of years.

Luckily this has been an easy enough task up until now, as users have been allowed to sign into an Oculus device with either an Oculus account or a Facebook one. Do you see where we’re going with this?

Unfortunately Facebook has ended the honeymoon period by forcing new users to sign in with a Facebook account, whilst also pressuring existing players to link their Oculus accounts with their social media ones. While the shift won’t take place until October, users run the risk of finding their headsets incompatible with certain apps in the future if they refuse to submit.

If you’ve got several Facebook Portals around the house and spend every minute of every day on the platform, then this might not seem so bad, but for the rest of us, it’s awful. Facebook’s reputation as a data guzzling monster has only grown more apparent in recent years, and the notion of it having access to something that encompasses your head feels like pure dystopian horror.

Sorry Oculus, we love your work, but I think it might be time we see other people.

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