Microsoft Flight Simulator’s latest patch halves the game’s download size

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It now takes less time to download a planet. That’s because the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator update has optimised the game’s initial download size, cutting it down to 83GB from over 170GB.

The latest patch notes don’t explain how the file size has been shrunk, only that the developers have “performed some optimization.” Perhaps they deleted some countries that they didn’t think folks would miss.

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Patch is otherwise packed with small tweaks running the breadth of the entire game, from the weather system to the planes to flight stick controls and UI. Live weather data streamed from the internet will now require less bandwidth, for example, and – this is a particularly pleasing sentence, they’ve “improved precision of live snow coverage.”

At launch, Flight Simulator took me a full 24 hours to download. The process was made worse by pre-loading via Steam only downloading an 800MB launcher, which could only be booted to download the rest once the game had released.

Other major updates for the game since launch have also expanded the detail of the game’s world, adding optional photogrammetry to make more cities as accurate as possible. Given that there then also great Flight Sim mods to download on top, it’s a good thing the base install is now smaller.

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