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Microsoft Flight Simulator launches today. Here's how you can play it for as little as $1

Before you buy the game outright for $60, consider this much more affordable option.

Microsoft Flight Simulator took to the skies today -- and, no, you haven't time-traveled back to 2006 (nice as that sounds right about now). It's an all-new version of the beloved PC game, and it's staggeringly gorgeous, thanks to satellite imagery coupled with an updated graphics engine.

As you'd expect for a new release, though, it's expensive: The standard edition will cost you $60. (There are Deluxe and Premium Deluxe versions priced at $90 and $120, but I'll come back to those.) There is a way you can play Flight Simulator for much less, however: Sign up for Microsoft Xbox Game Pass for PC. If you're new to the service, the first month will cost you just $1. (After that: $5 per month.)

For those unfamiliar with it, Game Pass is a subscription service that affords unlimited access to a select library of games. Much to my surprise, the new Flight Simulator is part of that library -- the standard edition, anyway. If you want one of the upgrade editions, you'll have to buy it.

In a way this is like getting a one-month trial for a buck. That should be plenty of time to make sure the game works well on your system (it does require some horsepower if you want the best possible visuals) and see if you really like it.

Assuming all goes well, you can continue on with Game Pass at the $5 rate, or consider buying the game outright. Take note: Flight Simulator may be $60 now, but that price will come down. Game prices always do, as we discussed in a recent episode of The Cheapskate Show podcast.

For now, I'm excited to soar above the clouds -- for about the price of a pack of gum.

Your thoughts?

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