What's the best way to purchase FS2020 - Microsoft Store, XBOX App, or Steam?

I just wanna make sure I’m not limited in any way by buying FS2020 from the wrong place, such as ability to mod, install, multiplay, and download again in 15 years time if that’s how long it takes MS to release a new sim (again).

I’ve been surviving on the XBOX Game Pass to access FS2020, but it’s literally the only game I play, so the pass is kind of a waste of money for me. I also want access to the aircraft available in the “Premium Deluxe” version, though you only get the standard version with the Game Pass.

Cheers for any advice!

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MS Store is the best way.


Hi, i think it depens on your situation and preferences.
While I prefer steam as my main games hub in this case I bought MSFS direcly from Microsoft Store.

The main reason was that I had a promotional game pass and that gave me a discount and it ended been cheaper in MS Store. In that case you should buy it before the game pass suscription expires.

Another thing that may be a benefit for you is that you also get the game for xbox plataform. Last that comes to mind is that you get family sharing wich let you play at the same time with one family member. I never tested it with MSFS, but it worked OK with Sea of Thieves
Maybe those who prefer steam can tell you some benefits of buying in that plataform to help you in your decision.

I bought it on Steam, not that I like Steam all that much, I really dislike the windows store.

With the Steam version you can edit the config files and all other assets without getting locked out by windows. Windows store installs to protected directories which is a pita. With the Steam version you can easily move stuff around after installing with a couple symbolic links or simply edit the packages folder path in usercfg.opt

Unfortunately switching between the two has not been made easy and if you already bought stuff on the market place for the windows store (gamepass) version, you might not be able to use that on the Steam version.

For how it runs, no difference. Steam only installs the installer, which installs the game (just not to off limits gibberish directories). Updates to the installer launch a few hours later on Steam, so if you need the cutting edge update straight away, the windows store is a few hours ahead.

So the only real difference is that all the data is locked away in the windows version.


Microsoft store or bust.

Just kidding. Buy from wherever you like. But I bought it from MS Store because I wanted the full amount of money to go directly to the publishers and developers, whereas Steam will take a cut of the money.

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I got mine from MS store (had a discount due to game pass believe too so helped) and I have been able to do everything from mod to record. My only issue is my G hub won’t connect to the game however if don’t use a mouse much nor keybinds or even just don’t use logitech I can’t fault the MS store for purchasing it.

I think Steam gives you more flexibility with where you install the game, ability to move assets around after and is less “locked down” than the MS Store variant with regards fiddling with files, folders and their contents etc.

However, somebody made a point about an MS Store variant also being valid on Xbox? I guess if you have an Xbox and want to play the same title on more than one platform that might be useful…this would limit you to buying your add-ons ONLY from the in game marketplace though as I’m pretty sure that external vendor and community mods aren’t going to be available to the Xbox.

I refer you to the Steam forum to see what special problems they have.

After I felt the general tone there I decided that MS Store is safer. I am not saying it is a rational decision, but games sold with their own launcher (Rockstar, Ubi) usually benefit very little from Steam and might create problems of their own.

Steam has of course a big advantage if the uploads are handled in the background, that is something that Asobo should have implemented themselves.

Thanks all for the excellent responses!

I was leaning towards Microsoft Store, but I’ve just hit a conundrum with flightsimulator.exe being locked away in the WindowsApps folder. I want to use an old Contour Shuttle for a trim wheel and some extra buttons, but I can’t create a button profile for it because of the super locked down permissions on that folder. Registry hacking voodoo to gain permission of the folder isn’t working. The simple solution would be to just buy the Steam version, though I’ve already made some additional aircraft and scenery purchases via the in-game marketplace. Will I be able to access these purchases within the Steam version?

Personal Observation:

The majority of issues you’ll see on this board related to MS-Store, especially the convoluted and not easy to troubleshoot XBox for Windows, XBox Gaming Services, MS-Store logins and authentication chains, says something about considering a more straightforward arrangement like Steam.


This is the kind of question to which few have a well-founded answer because almost nobody has tried both versions.

But here’s my take on it, anyway:

I bought the Steam version and am confirmed every time I come to these fora that I made the right choice. The reason being the countless posts from people who cannot launch their MS Store version for all sorts of reasons of which I’m blissfully ignorant.


Havin tested both, id recommend to take the Steam version.
On MS Store you are not getting acess to all the files and therefore you can be limited when using external 3rd party software like ReShade for example.

If you want less to hassle around with the Xbox app and prefer to have unrestricted acess to the files you have bought, Steam is the best way.

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This +1
Steam is most likely the best version atm, I find it extremely easy to use and mod and you have access to Steam VR (which is not perfect, but has saved me a few times).

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I tried both, I had the Gamepass too during months before losing my hair too much with MS Store and deciding to buy from Steam.
Try to know where a game is installed with the MS Store version if you don’t remember where you install it when it asked. Impossible, the GUI never tell you where your games are.
Tried to uninstall a game (The medium), MS Store installer said it was removed, none of my disk get their free space back. I had to change right of the WindowsApp of all my 5 disks to get access and finally find the game. Deleting it wasn’t permitted (I’m Administrator). I tried all. I had to remove all my other stuff from the disk and format it low level.
MS Store often proposed me to reinstall games I didn’t know they exist and never bought. And yes, changing the MSFS executable properties to not use “Fullscreen optimisation” which create stutters is not permitted, or adding a simple redshade. You don’t have the control on your computer.

So I switched to Steam. I have access to all directories, and I’m happy. No problem to install any update, like we can read each time an update of MSFS land for several MS Store users, looping on a file, GameService not updated, people having to dig in registry to fix MS Store, etc. all that don’t impact me anymore.

I’m an happy owner, and full Master of my machine.

Saying all that, if you bought stuffs and addons for MSFS through the MS Store they will not be transferred on the Steam installation…


I think Microsoft has sorted most or all of this but a number of people had problems before with the Microsoft store getting confused on if they had bought upper tier packages of FS2020. One guy even abandoned his purchase on the Microsoft store and bought again on Steam to be able to access the premium planes.

I think that’s history now but my preference is still Steam. Folks on the Microsoft store don’t seem to get launcher updates flagged automatically but on Steam I always know when there are updates to the launcher.

And Steam/Valve seem to be a lot easier to deal with if you decide to refund a title. And the biggest reason, besides just a quality platform, is Steam/Valve isn’t Microsoft. There’s a lot of us who only use Windows and other Microsoft software because we have to. Microsoft has always gone out of its way to break standards and trip up any other software houses. They seem to think that antitrust settlements and damages payments are cheaper than letting any competitors get a legitimate leg up. Microsoft has a very long history of dirty tricks, unfair trade, and pretty much you name the anticompetitive offense - if it is dirty snd benefits Microsoft, odds are they’ve done it.

I give them as little money as possible.

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Hi to all!
Didn’t find the right topic, so let me ask here.
A long time ago (2007) I bought the Microsoft Flight Simulator game on disk. And I remember that I created an account on my e-mail. - Is it realistic to restore access to the game? - In this case, where can you get the game itself (the disc has not been saved until now)? Thanks for any advice!
The question is that it’s interesting to just try the game again, to review - what has changed. I’m not quite sure yet that I will continue to play it. I usually fly - IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover.

I wouldn’t use steam if they paid me. I have no love for MS but my experience with steam was extremely poor.

With 120 Millions of active users in 2020 I think you have little chance to be paid for using it. Anyway, nice try :crazy_face:

Maybe they’re gluttons for punishment. Why the ad hominem attack?


I had to resize my partition recently due to a smaller SSD and MS Store with its protected folder system failed to recognise where all MS-Store games were stored.

Steam didn’t even flinch.

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