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Microsoft Flight Simulator is now just half the size to install, thanks to some technical wizardry

An update to Microsoft Flight Simulation not only fixes a few problems, it also significantly reduces the 170GB size of the original download.

When Microsoft Flight Simulator took off in 2020 it promised to be a revolution in the genre, offering a true-to-life simulation of virtually the entire planet, rendered in glorious 4K. Of course, we all assumed that this would come at the cost of a huge amount of storage space, and so it did: a gargantuan 170GB to be precise. But thanks to a recent update, the acclaimed simulator has added more features to the program and also slashed the storage requirements by half in one fell swoop. 

According to the release notes for the 1.16.2.0 update, Microsoft modestly claims to have “performed some optimization for the initial full download”, bringing the base game down to 83GB rather than 170GB. That’s quite the understatement for such a work of technical wizardry; but maybe the team just doesn’t want to remind the fans who have deleted beloved family photos or uninstalled crucial office software to make room for the initial installation. Then again, a flight around a picture-perfect Caribbean island is probably worth any specs sacrifice you’d care to name.

Despite cutting the file size so significantly, Microsoft has added plenty of welcome upgrades into this latest software patch to fix niggling errors. These include changes to navigation (mainly regarding air traffic), weather effects, and turboprops, while some specific aircraft have also been tweaked for greater authenticity. 

The unparalleled simulator is currently available exclusively on PC, although it will be arriving on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S in the summer of this year. Notably, one of the listed changes from the latest updates was “the creation of an Xbox X|S dedicated page in the documentation, which gathers the latest info & best practices to port content on Xbox,” so we can only hope that the console version will arrive very soon.

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