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Microsoft Flight Simulator Update Cuts Install Size By Almost Half


Even if the game is a hit with the hardcore flight crowd, the install size for Microsoft Flight Simulator has been infamously gigantic.

In a rare achievement, the recent 1.16.2.0 update for Microsoft Flight Simulator dramatically shrinks the size of the base game instead of growing it, according to release notes. The result is a footprint less than half of what players initially had to download.

Flight Simulator requires a lot of drive space by design. It not only includes the photorealistic interior and exteriors of aircraft but has to continually load in new weather and scenery since players can fly anywhere in the world. On top of this Microsoft has been regularly adding extra world detail. 2021’s France & Benelux update, for instance, included not just a new digital elevation map, but major landmarks across France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Deluxe and Premium Deluxe editions of the game offer even more content, and the sim’s first paid DLC arrived in April.

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Related: Microsoft Flight Simulator Gets First Paid DLC Due To Licensing Fees

The base install of Flight Simulator is now 83 GB, down from over 170 GB, Microsoft says. The company attributes the improvement to “some optimization for the initial full download,” but the exact changes are still unknown. One possibility is that the game is now downloading more content on the fly – in which case the net difference for players would be zero. Microsoft’s language, though, suggests that the codebase is more efficient, which might be backed by lengthy patch notes mentioning fixes and tweaks like “reduced weather data bandwidth.” Some minor features have actually been added, among them a visual effects editor.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Over the Desert

The 1.16.2.0 update does introduce some unintentional problems. Community folder packages that haven’t been updated could hurt the game’s stability and load times, and Microsoft recommends moving them to another folder if that’s the case. Flight Simulator is also occasionally crashing when exiting VR – this may be limited to people using the v106 OpenXR preview runtime, in which case reverting to v105 will fix the bug. The exact cause is being investigated. OpenXR is a royalty-free standard that allows a wide range of VR platforms to work, such as Oculus, SteamVR, and Windows Mixed Reality.

Pre-patch, Microsoft Flight Simulator was still smaller than some other popular games. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare can sometimes top 200 GB, potentially closer to 250 GB or more depending on what add-ons a person has installed. Infinity Ward has tried to reduce the game’s footprint – a March update shrank the combined size of Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Warzone by at least 30 GB on PC – but it remains problematic, especially on the PS5, which has just 667 GB of (so far) non-expandable SSD space.

Next: Microsoft Flight Simulator Xbox One Rating Gives Console Players Hope

Source: Flight Simulator

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