The Environmental Cost of Airline Simulation

No more impact than any other online game.

I cannot think of many games that I play where players wander off and let the game play with its self :slight_smile: I don’t think MSFS is worse than many other AAA games, or that games are bad, just that it would be good to at least think about what we are doing, and if possible have a keypress to reduce consumption when the pilot is AFK.

One Idea I have, is to suggest to Simbrief that they add a calculator to the briefing, the player puts in an estimate of power consumption and his or her cost per KWH and Simbrief calculates the cost of the flight. It would be totally voluntary, and automated and just give a little nudge to the user to think if a flight to Sydney is the best use of their time and resources :slight_smile:

“Idle games” are a thing. They are probably more popular in the mobile world, but the entire premise is to start it up, go do other things, then come back to collect your earnings, leveling up, and that sort of thing. Lol

That’s interesting, as I understand it mobiles are much more closely controlled in terms of the power apps are allowed to use to preserve battery life.
IOS definitely power manages background task in a quite aggressive way, probably in a way that would may not be suitable for a flight Sim.
The very worst thing would be for MSFS to start power managing its self… there is nothing worse that automatic throttling back… or as happens with IOS, it decides when to do stuff!!! ICLOUD backup for example…
It would be much more practical for users to decide when they are “going for a walk” :slight_smile:

The easiest way is to buy one of these. Plug it into a wall outlet, plug your power strip into it, and voila!

I paid $11.99 for mine.



Just for some perspective: global electricity use in cryptocurrency mining is about the same as total electricity consumption in Australia.


its actually even worse than that, because crypto plants tend to go where the electric bill is cheaper, and that usually means fossils, so its double the damage


I think it’s good to be aware that almost everything we do on our devices involves the cloud - even just texting, or posting on this forum, involves data centers, content delivery networks, ISPs, and our devices. How many routers is my post passing through, what power do they consume? They all exist and are used for everything - work, education and entertainment. It’s not insignificant, but, the infrastructure supports everything we do with information.

So it’s not easy to measure the footprint of MSFS alone - it’s part of much larger ecosystem we use for everything. It’s unlikely demand for this will go down, so the industry goals seem to be cleaner sources of power, and, efficiency.

Here are a couple of references (among many, many more)

IEA: the estimate for one hour of streaming video is now 36g CO2, down from 82g CO2 in the original analysis published in February 2020

I would say that a more urgent question would be, what is the cost of this gold-rush on AI, with data centers ingesting as much available info as they can hold to analyze and turn in to LLMs and such. Microsoft and others will no doubt be interested in building more realistic digital twins of Earth for all kinds of business purposes - MSFS is just a sliver of that, I would think.

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I suppose you could reduce your power consumption by switching your graphics settings to the lowest possible when you step away from the computer (and also turn off photogrammetry and any other internet settings).

Like going to the restaurant, ordering food, then going shopping and coming back, after someone else ate the food.

Gaming … they are doing it wrong. :roll_eyes: :grin:

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Thanks great suggestion and super simple…except the socket is not very accessible so I think I will just stay happy w/ this educated guestimate:

Ok, my CPU’s peak wattage is 120W. I’m at 52% x 120 = 62W
My GPU’s peak wattage is 450W and I’m at ~55% so that = 270W
My Main screen is 65W and my second is 60W so = 125W
Mainboard, fans, m.2 disks, RAM etc are about 90W total.

Assuming 90% PSU efficiency so grand total guestimate: (62W + 270W + 125W + 90W) x 110% = 601W

this would actually be very good
most uncertified psu’s are lower than 80
certified ones are above 80 or above 85 and so on…
cheap quality ones can be horrendous in efficiency… they turn all the power to heat

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All power is turned to heat regardless. If your PC is consuming 500w then it’s producing as much heat as a 500w heater. But yeah, inefficient power supplies obviously create more heat as they use more power.

Go do something else then being on your computer if those things bother you… oh wow…

So being environmentally conscious and enjoying flight sim is not allowed? Oh wow indeed.

its not like that, its about using a little less power if we can, and still not having to deprive yourself from doing something you want, if everybody does the same, it can make a difference


If you wanna be eco concious you do that, but i got other things to worry about then how much power im consuming when im on flight sim

If MS and Asobo do a good job with FS24 then people won’t have to rely so much on ever more powerful GPUs and CPUs just to enjoy flightsim and that would make all us more environmentally friendly whether we mean to or not. Personally I think its a good thing to try and use a bit less where possible.


I believe MSFS 2024 will move some computational processes to the cloud - so running MSFS may require less resources at the user end, and it may use more in the cloud. But I would guess servers probably are more efficient.

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Mine’s a new CORSAIR CP-9020201-NA 80+ GOLD CERTIFIED and rated 90% efficient. Anyway, about 600w is what it draws, and our rates when I use this PC are probably around $0.18/kWh. At 6h/day we have 3.6kWh/day, or about $0.65/day, or $236 worth of electricity annually. Seems pretty low budget for the kind of entertainment it provides for me.