I cleared my afternoon today to play the new Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC, and was surprised to find the game was only a 500mb install. I should have known better.
The 500mb install was just the client, and upon starting up the game I was greeted with an accessibility menu screen. After clicking through that, I got this:
There was a progress bar, but for what? How long was it taking? And what was it doing? Was I getting a system scan? Was something loading? After shooting up to around 20%, it just sat there, for over an hour, not moving.
This was some bullshit, I said to myself and my afternoon cup of coffee. How could a game with such mainstream appeal ship with such a terrible and opaque way to actually get started?
Turns out what I was experiencing was both unintentional and also incredibly widespread. Loads of people very helpfully told me over Twitter (and pointed me towards Reddit threads and other forums) where the same thing had happened to them, and it turns out it wasn’t really loading anything. My game was just struggling to contact Microsoft’s servers under the weight of millions of people trying to play Flight Simulator all at once.
So I force-closed the game, tried again. No luck, it took me to the same screen. Force-closed again. Again, no dice. The fourth time I tried, though, I was greeted with a different screen:
That’s more like it! It’s been downloading constantly, and peacefully, ever since (though be warned, there are plenty of accounts of people having to endure super slow download speeds on top of all this). So yeah, the game certainly isn’t only 500MB, there’s a 90GB download waiting for you, and it will only trigger and begin downloading after you get to this screen, which a lot of people aren’t getting at the moment.
If you haven’t got it yet, you can either do what I did and keep trying, or just...try again tomorrow, maybe things will have got better.
Kinda sucks though that the 90GB couldn’t have just been part of a much more reliable and transparent Steam download, and it especially sucks that anyone who went to the trouble of pre-loading the game has still had to go through this instead of getting to download the whole thing right away.