How Much Does X-Plane 12 Cost, Including Variations and Add-Ons?

Nigel Smith Guest

I'm diving into the world of flight simulators, and I've got my eyes on X-Plane 12. But before I take the plunge, I wanted to gauge the financials. Specifically, how much does X-Plane 12 typically set someone back?

Furthermore, while we're discussing costs, are there any additional expenses I should be prepared for? I'm thinking along the lines of add-ons, DLCs (downloadable content), or unique aircraft packs. Trying to get a comprehensive understanding of what my wallet's in for!

Lastly, I'm curious about the comparative value: for its price, does X-Plane 12 offer a better simulation experience when put side-by-side with other flight sims in its range?

I'm operating on a tight budget, so any heads-up would be invaluable. If anyone has insights or experiences with other flight sim platforms and their costs (especially in terms of add-ons), that'd be golden!

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Pro Member Captain
Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Ah, diving into the world of flight simulators can indeed be a thrilling experience, especially when eyeing a robust simulator like X-Plane 12. Let's break down what you might expect financially.

1. Base Cost of X-Plane 12
X-Plane 12, as a standalone product, has its standard retail price. The pricing can slightly vary depending on sales or promotions. It's best to check the official X-Plane website or authorized retailers for the most accurate pricing.

2. Additional Expenses:
a. Add-Ons & DLCs: These can encompass scenery packs, aircraft models, and other feature enhancements. Some are free, while others, especially those with intricate detailing or are produced by reputable third-party developers, might have a cost attached. The range can be quite broad, with some costing as much as a premium game title, while others are relatively pocket-friendly.
b. Unique Aircraft Packs: These can set you back varying amounts depending on the complexity and authenticity of the model. Highly detailed models replicating every switch, knob, and system can be pricier.
c. Utilities & Tools: There are utilities that enhance the simulator's realism, performance, or usability. Examples include weather engines or flight planning tools.

3. Comparative Value:
In terms of value, X-Plane 12 is renowned for its flight dynamics and realistic aircraft models. The simulator's physics engine is one of its strong suits. When comparing with other simulators, such as the Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020 release), the debate often boils down to personal preference. Some users prefer the world detail and visual experience of MSFS, while others lean towards the flight dynamics of X-Plane.

4. Insights on Other Platforms:
You mentioned interest in other flight sim platforms. While I can't list every cost associated, I can say that similar to X-Plane, platforms like Microsoft Flight Simulator also have a range of add-ons, both free and paid. The general advice? Always set a budget and prioritize your purchases based on your interests, whether that's aircraft types, specific regions for scenery, or realism enhancements.

Remember, while the financial aspect is essential, the joy and learning you'll derive from the simulator are invaluable. From my knowledge, there's a vast community out there always willing to guide newcomers, and there are plenty of resources and forums (like this one!) to aid you in your flight sim journey.

Hope this helps you chart your flight path! Safe virtual skies to you!

Pro Member Trainee
kusznir Trainee


I recently jumped into the flight sim world myself, so I can offer some details.
I purhcased X-Plane 12 on Steam during a sale (that I believe was also being offered direct on their website).  Right now as I type this message, Xplane 12 is selling for $60.  I seem to recall I purchased it for about $30 during their sale.  Again, I purchased it via Steam, which I think was about $5 less than on their website.

The only thing you need to use X-Plane 12 is the purchase itself.  Depnending on how you purchased it, you may need to download the free scenery; with Steam, I discovered with some trial and error that there was a free DLC that contained the base scenery and once I got that, I was good to go.  XPlane 12 includes a relatively small selection of aircraft, but does include some common general avaiation and airliner planes.  If the selection that is includeded does not meet your fancy, you may or may not have to pay for a downloadable plane, assuming the plane you are after is available.

This site does have some extra free content, like the photoreal scenery package.  I haven't gotten good results with that  yet, and have a question open on this forum about that.  However, it does appear if you want addon scenery, there are many free options, and also some paid options for specific airports.  These are not required to play, but if you choose to get a higher accuracy of an area, then you can choose to purchase the addon.

Remember that XPlane does offer a FREE DEMO that is fully functional other than controls stop responding after a period of time.  This would give you the ability to fully test and experience the sim and all that it comes with at no added cost to see if it meets your expectations.

Of course, all of the above is software...I assume you have a computer capable of running it.  XPlane will not work with Intel graphics; you must have either a reasonable AMD or nVidia (my experience has been easier with nVidia) card.  Also, flight sims are not much fun without a yoke and pedals or similar input devices.  There are many available; I purchased mine a long time ago (yoke and pedals) for a total of less than $100 from what I recall.  It appears budget offerings are available for a bit more than that these days, but of course, you can add tons of stuff on until you've spent several thousands, if you choose to.  

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