Nearly a year after its PC release, Microsoft Flight Simulator hits cruising altitude on Xbox Series X/S today, where it’s also available via Game Pass. It’s a staggeringly large game, clocking in at nearly 100GB—and that’s not counting any of the optional “world updates,” which can cause its file size to balloon well beyond that. But you needn’t download the whole thing to get it working on a next-gen Xbox.
Microsoft Flight Simulator comes in two files on Xbox Series X/S, one that includes the game (42.4GB), and one that allows you to play in an offline mode (59.7GB). You can play the game just fine without that second file, provided you A) have a solid, reliable internet connection and B) don’t have a data cap. When you first download the game, you’ll get the chance to select, piecemeal, which files you want to put on your console. Or, if you automatically downloaded both and need to remove the latter, just...
- Go to the “my games and apps” menu.
- Hover over the Microsoft Flight Simulator icon and press the menu button.
- Scroll down to “Manage game and add-ons.”
- Click on the first option that pops up, which should be a line item listing the game’s name, the version you’ve downloaded, and the total number of “game items” you’ve installed.
- You should see two options: one for the game itself, and one for “World - offline mode.” Deselect the latter, then hit “save changes.”
Since Microsoft Flight Sim is a next-gen game, you have to store it internally or on the $200 expansion card. If you’re rocking an Xbox Series S, which sports just 364GB of internal storage capacity (after you account for space earmarked by the operating system and other system-essential files), Flight Sim takes up about a third of your usable disc space. On Xbox Series X, it takes up an eighth. In either case, that’s not much room for other kaiju-sized games like Destiny 2 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Trimming Flight Sim’s file size in half is nothing to sneeze at.
In my experience, Flight Sim has worked flawlessly without the online mode. Tokyo, Naples, Athens, Reykjavik—wherever I flew, I didn’t experience any framerate drops or notable performance issues. Honestly, after culling the offline mode file, I didn’t notice a difference in how the game performs.
But I say this fully acknowledging that my household has fairly good internet. A speed test this afternoon indicates download speeds of 370 megabits per second with a latency of 4 ms. We don’t have a data cap. According to Digital Foundry testing, Microsoft Flight Sim uses anywhere from 500mb to 700mb of data per hour, so, if you have such a cap, you might want to limit how much Flight Sim can use. You can set customized restrictions in the game’s “Data” tab, under the “General Options” menu.