I am a recent convert to X-Plane, specifically version 11, which I find to be fully the equal of, and superior in many ways to, FSX; and, by presumption, the various P3D versions. I will admit that the price of admission to P3D in any legitimate sense will be keeping me from getting involved in that, but I have seen a great many good videos of P3D on YouTube, and these are quite sufficient to form at least a preliminary opinion.

X Plane 11 comes with far better airplanes, particularly airliners, right out of the box. We need add-ons (and they are, admittedly, many and distinguished) to make any of the MSFS platforms look that good, and be that accurate. As to the notion that P3D and its add ons are better for realism and study level status, one has only to look at the Flight Factor and Fly J Sim offerings, as well as others including the PMDG DC-6, to appreciate that X-Plane now has study level offerings at all levels, including the Cessna 172.

I have found the weather in X-Plane to be more than adequate, albeit perhaps not as "Norman Rockwell" beautiful as some of the add-ons available for the MSFS platforms. But that sort of thing is eye candy. There are already indications that add-ons in that area will be forthcoming in X-Plane. Seasonal textures, on the other hand, are a different story; but MSFS and its developments have yet to come up with a winter look that reflects a real blizzard, with huge piles of snow on the side of the runways! At most, all I see (admittedly in FSX) is a light dusting! Better than nothing though....

I, as a real world pilot, have never understood the acceptance within our community of the in-house ATC that comes with FSX. This is one area where I do not know how P3D handles it, but I would rather be my own controller than deal with the in-game ATC that resides in FSX. Not, at any rate, when we have VATSIM and Pilot Edge and IVAO. These are all excellent, with tremendous realism and near total immersion. Otherwise, why bother? Yes, I know that Pilot Edge costs money, and when they did away with the by-the-hour option I stood down, but if you feel the need, the need for restriction of speed (!) among other things, there is no other way to go, really. And X-Plane works fine with all of the live ATC options, as far as I know. Admittedly, though, the main reason that I can be sanguine about FS ATC in any form is that I get more than enough of it just about every day in the real world. Perhaps my predilection for an empty FS world reflects my desire to have the real world work that way, which is a thought that occurs to me every time Potomac Tracon refuses my request to enter the Class B!