The recently-released Microsoft Flight Simulator is a game best enjoyed with a dedicated flight stick, but actually finding one of these controllers is a challenge. None of Amazon.com’s best-selling PC flight sticks are available to buy new as of Monday August 24th — they’re either listed as unavailable, only available used, or scheduled to be back in stock in the coming months.
It’s impossible to know if this current shortage is directly caused by the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Flight yokes and sticks are a relatively niche product to begin with, and, even prior to the game’s official release, people on Twitter were complaining about shortages. Meanwhile, plenty of other gaming accessories like Nintendo’s Ring Fit have also been selling out this year thanks to a combination of increased demand as people are staying at home more, and manufacturing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equally, however, Microsoft Flight Simulator is the biggest flight sim release in years, and it’s also relatively affordable thanks to its inclusion in Xbox Game Pass subscriptions. Plus, in a couple of months’ time, Star Wars: Squadrons is due to release, meaning anyone who buys a flight stick now will have a second big-budget game to use it with come October 2nd.
Although flight sticks are getting harder to find at the likes of Amazon.com and Best Buy, there do seem to be some other online retailers where they’re still available. Dell has a relatively affordable Thrustmaster combination flight stick and throttle controller in stock, for example, and you have more options if you’re willing to buy second-hand. Otherwise, you might have to settle for using a regular gamepad as you explore Microsoft’s massive procedurally-generated world.