After a few weeks of silence since the last development update, this weekend we finally hear again from PMDG’s boss Robert Randazzo. In another extensive statement published in PMDG’s forums, Randazzo provides largely the same information we have known so far, with some notable exceptions.
For starters, the 737-700 has again been confirmed to be the first variant to be released. This was revealed a while back, but some folks still needed some clarification about the release schedule, so here it is: the -700 will be the first one out (a release date is about to be revealed!), to be followed by the -600, -800, and -900, in this order, about six weeks apart following the initial release. This means that the highly sought-after -800 variant is planned to launch only about 3 months following the initial launch of the PMDG 737 for MSFS.
With this out of the way, what will we get with the first launch then? Well, the -700 may not be the most popular variant in the 3rd generation of the Boeing 737, but it’s still widely used by many airlines such as Southwest and Westjet. The initial package for MSFS will include the passenger, cargo, and BBJ (business jet) variants, with a wide variety of options and configurations.
The subsequent releases in the PMDG 737 product line for MSFS will all be standalone purchases. That means you’ll be able to get just the -800 variant once it’s released and get the full PMDG experience. No more “Expansion Packs”. Each variant is naturally representative of the real-world differences both in terms of modeling and flying characteristics.
In the end, PMDG plans to release the entire Next Generation and MAX product lines for MSFS. This is a long-term goal, and beyond the current NGXu roadmap PMDG provides no concrete roadmap for the delivery of the MAX generation. However, Randazzo says that, some 28 weeks after the initial release of the 737 package, the team plans to shift focus to the 777, whose development is already underway.
In terms of pricing, PMDG is still keeping a secret, but things are looking promising. Not only will simmers be able to get just the variant they want, but Randazzo also says everyone will be surprised with the prices. He has stated that several times already, in fact, so all that remains are exact numbers. Here’s a clue: existing owners of the PMDG 737-NGXu for P3D who purchased that product in late 2019 have gained a 99$ credit towards the forthcoming MSFS version. PMDG will allow those customers to use that credit as they see fit, including buying a 737 that costs less than the credit, retaining the additional for a future purchase. So that much is true: you will be able to fly some kind of PMDG 737 in MSFS for less than $99.
Okay, so what about that release date? PMDG is still not confident enough to disclose that, but we must be very close. Randazzo says that the team will discuss this next week, which is also by the time when we should start to see some notable streamers showing off the aircraft (Chewwy94 and TheFlyingFabio, we’re looking at you!).
Finally, PMDG also shared a brand new image of the 737 that shows the remarkable detail that has been put into the modeling of the instrument panel. Hopefully, next week, we’ll finally get the chance to see more detailed images as beta testers are authorized to share their findings.
We’ll end this development update with some very promising words from Robert Randazzo, which give an indication of what to expect very soon: “At the end of the day, the PMDG 737-700 for MSFS is a far more feature-rich simulation of the 737 series airplane than we have been able to produce in previous platforms and that has us very excited.” Hype!