After spending a bit of time looking around online for an breakdown of the prices for the three editions of Microsoft Flight Simulator, I couldn’t see this kind of breakdown elsewhere, so the purpose of this post is just to dive into what you get for your money in more detail, so that you can make an informed decision.
There are some details about what each of the editions includes here for those who don’t already know, but in summary, the Standard edition includes 20 aircraft and 25 ‘hand-crafted’ (detailed) airports, while the Deluxe edition adds a further 5 of each, and the Premium Deluxe adds another 5 aircraft and detailed airports on top of that.
To me, the jump in price between each edition was a bit of a surprise, so I thought I’d fire up Excel and look into it…
So, Flight Simulator 2020 Standard is listed at USD $59.99 / GBP £59.99 / EUR €69.99 / AUD $99.95 / JPY ¥7450, whereas Deluxe is USD $89.99 / GBP £79.99 / EUR €89.99 / AUD $139.95 / JPY ¥10700 and Premium Deluxe is USD $119.99 / GBP £109.99 / EUR €119.99 / AUD $179.95 / JPY ¥13100.
These prices are from the Microsoft/Xbox Store local to each quoted currency; US Dollars, UK Pounds, Australian Dollars and Japanese Yen, with Euros being represented in this case by the prices on the Ireland MS store (for ease of translation on my part).
If we assume that the sim itself comprises two-thirds the value of the Standard edition, that’s USD $39.99 / GBP £39.99 / EUR €46.66 / AUD $66.63 / JPY ¥4967 (which seems comparable to the average of many major games on Xbox for Windows, but less that other flight sims).
This would make the cost of the included aircraft and detailed airports;
- Standard edition – USD $20.00 / GBP £20.00 / EUR €23.33 / AUD $33.32 / JPY ¥2483
- Deluxe edition – USD $50.00 / GBP £40.00 / EUR €43.33 / AUD $73.32 / JPY ¥5733
- Premium Deluxe edition – USD $80.00 / GBP £70.00 / EUR €73.33 / AUD $113.32 / JPY ¥8133
If we then divide this ‘cost of included aircraft and detailed airports’ equally between the total number of aircraft + detailed airports, the ‘Price Per Aircraft and Airport‘ is;
- Standard edition – USD $0.40 / GBP £0.40 / EUR €0.47 / AUD $0.67 / JPY ¥50
- Deluxe edition – USD $0.83 / GBP £0.67 / EUR €0.72 / AUD $1.22 / JPY ¥96
- Premium Deluxe edition – USD $1.14 / GBP £1.00 / EUR €1.05 / AUD $1.62 / JPY ¥116
So, the ‘Price Per Additional Aircraft‘ (from the lower edition below) becomes;
- Standard to Deluxe edition – USD $4.17 / GBP £3.33 / EUR €3.61 / AUD $6.11 / JPY ¥478
- Deluxe to Premium Deluxe edition – USD $6.86 / GBP £6.00 / EUR €6.29 / AUD $9.71 / JPY ¥697
…and the ‘Price Per Additional Airport‘ (from the edition below) is;
- Standard to Deluxe edition – USD $5.83 / GBP £4.67 / EUR €5.06 / AUD $8.55 / JPY ¥669
- Deluxe to Premium Deluxe edition – USD $9.14 / GBP £8.00 / EUR €8.38 / AUD $12.95 / JPY ¥930
Here’s a table of the price analysis in USD to make it a little simpler:
|Flight Simulator 2020 List Price||$59.99||$89.99||$119.99|
|Sim Estimated Value||$39.99||$39.99||$39.99|
|Addons Estimated Value||$20.00||$50.00||$80.00|
|Number Of Aircraft||20||25||30|
|Number Of Airports||30||35||40|
|Total Aircraft & Airports||50||60||70|
|Total Price Of Aircraft||$8.00||$20.83||$34.28|
|Total Price Of Airports||$12.00||$29.16||$45.71|
|Price Per Aircraft||$0.40||$0.83||$1.14|
|Price Per Airport||$0.40||$0.83||$1.14|
|Price Per Additional Aircraft||N/A||$4.17||$6.86|
|Price Per Additional Airport||N/A||$5.83||$9.14|
Obviously, if there’s an aircraft or airport in the Deluxe or Premium Deluxe editions you feel you can’t live without, it’s up to you whether you spend the extra on one of those editions.
Personally the above analysis guided my decision to stick with the Standard edition, after trialling it via Xbox Game Pass. I plan to purchase the full version after upgrading my PC and investing in some hardware controllers (most probably Honeycomb yoke, throttle and pedals when available), but I’m also waiting to see how quickly Microsoft and Asobo iron out the bugs in the initial release. If Asobo keep their promises to keep adding to the features and improving the functionality of the sim, and it does indeed look like MS Flight Simulator is going to be the long-term platform in which to invest, at that point it makes more sense to buy than continue to throw more money into the monthly rental hole – which is what the Xbox Game Pass effectively equates to when MSFS is the only reason you signed up!
I don’t plan to upgrade to either the Deluxe or Premium Deluxe editions right now, though, as there aren’t many of the additional aircraft or airports that I feel I desperately need – I’m enjoying the ones provided in the Standard edition.
I will probably use the money I would have spent on the Premium Deluxe edition to buy the third-party addon aircraft and airports that I already know I’ll want when they are released. Or maybe put the cash towards a better GPU. Right now, the only third party aircraft in the MSFS Marketplace is Carenado’s Cessna CT182T Skylane, which seems to be on a par with the default aircraft in some respects, but in my eyes not worth the £24.99 GBP they’re charging for it (or whatever that is in your local currency).
However, as more third party aircraft and airports get released, we’ll get a better sense of what an acceptable cost might be. There also seem to be some rumours around that Microsoft and Asobo themselves may include additional aircraft and airports in future updates. At that point, it could pay dividends to reassess the value of the Premium Deluxe edition, as it might make a lot more sense to upgrade.