Microsoft Flight Simulator download time counts as playing on Steam – but that won’t affect refunds

Microsoft Flight Simulator
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is out, and by and large, it’s a big hit – not to mention a big download, and the latter fact, combined with the way in which the download is implemented, has led to some concern that buyers on Steam may not be able to benefit from the usual two-hour refund period on the game.

In case you didn’t realize, Steam allows for your money to be refunded on any game if you play for fewer than two hours and decide that it isn’t for you.

Flight Simulator is rather strange in that the client is a swift 500MB download (or just over) on Steam, because when you fire it up and go into the main menu, you then need to download the actual game files from here (as an update): all 127GB of them.

Now, because they’re sat in the game performing that lengthy download, most players will find that takes over the two-hour limit – and technically, this counts as game time on Steam (because you’re running the game, or at least the menu).

So that led some folks to worry they wouldn’t be able to get a refund at all if they decided that Flight Simulator wasn’t up to scratch in some way.

Fortunately, Valve has come forward and clarified that any time spent downloading the game files won’t count towards the two-hour limit.

Time for a refund

After our sister site PC Gamer checked with Valve on this matter, VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi replied to say: “The time it takes your machine to download the additional content will not be counted against the Steam Refund Policy.”

That’s good to know, for sure, as is an additional comment from Lombardi in which he said that Valve is working with Microsoft to try to further improve the download experience, presumably by shortening it somehow. Fingers crossed on that score.

Be sure to check out our review of Flight Simulator in which we concluded that it’s an essential purchase for any flight sim fan, but it won’t be for everyone, of course.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).