Get your flight sticks ready, because Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) VR support is coming as a free update to the game on PC starting today.

Update (December 22nd, 2020): Just in time for Christmas, Microsoft Flight Simulator is due to get an update today that will allow SteamVR headsets to play the game in its entirety. The original article detailing the VR update follows below.

Original Article (December 18th, 2020): ASOBO UX designer François Dacquin announced in a video (linked below) that the long-awaited VR update for Microsoft Flight Simulator is scheduled to arrive on December 22nd, 2020 as a free update.

Dacquin also says the studio has worked closedly with Microsoft’s Mixed Reality team, headed by Alex Kipman, to support all OpenXR-compatible PC headsets, which includes devices such as Valve Index, Oculus Rift S, Windows MR headsets like HP Reverb G2, and Oculus Quest with Link.

The game is said to offer support for all of the same controllers as the flatscreen version, which includes HOTAS, gamepads, and keyboard & mouse. Dacquin says in-cockpit instrumentation can be interacted with via a 3D mouse cursor; there’s no mention of native motion controller support, however it may be something to hope for in the future. Dacquin mentions that “as virtual reality continues to evolve, Microsoft Flight Simulator will continue to evolve too.”

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Microsoft Flight Simulator launched back in August for traditional monitors, however the game’s VR implementation was originally supposed to release shortly afterwards alongside HP Reverb G2. Instead, VR support was first released via a closed beta for Windows Insiders in early October—its first phase only for owners of HP Reverb G2, and its second phase opened to other SteamVR-compatible headsets.

There’s still no official specs for the VR side of things at launch. The studio previously noted that closed beta participants should at least have an i5-8400/Ryzen 5 1500X CPU, Nvidia GTX 1080 or equivalent GPU, and at least 16GB of RAM.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Rudl Za Vedno

    What a year for VR flight simmers… MS Flight Simulator 2020 getting VR support, Elite Dangerous getting Atmospheric worlds and space legs plus DCS World getting dynamic campaign, Apache, Eurofighter and new weather engine in 2021… Just awesome stuff:

    • Bob

      “Elite Dangerous getting Atmospheric worlds and space legs”

      The new update does not apply to VR users.

      • 3872Orcs

        Hopefully it will eventually. I think the devs said something along the lines of getting the VR right.

        But god damn I look forward to that happening! I hope people keep bugging them about the VR support so they don’t get lazy and forget.

        • Bob

          Don’t count on it for a long time to come.

          Shoving in VR support for a cockpit game where all you did was move your head in 6 degrees was relatively simple for the devs at Frontier. Shoving it in for a first person shooter is a different ball game entirely which will require drastically more work which means more time and a lot more money.

          I don’t think Frontier are willing to take that risk too soon considering the VR community is still very small and very niche.
          Most likely they have thought about it and are keeping an eye on the VR landscape so have probably assigned a very small team to start work on the design process. But it will take a long while before anything comes to fruition.

          • gothicvillas

            Yes sadly everything is dictated by the money and not because it is just more fun

          • Adrian Meredith

            However, designing it with vr in mind would have made it relatively simple to do. If they really ignored vr entirely (which it sounds like they have) then they’ve got a mountain to climb and it might never happen.

        • Ron

          I think it’ll be out soon. Frontier’s cobra engine is built from the ground up to support VR. I can’t imagine FP VR support taking more than a year to implement.

          • Pablo C

            I´m pretty sure the issue will be the VR controllers which they have never use in their games (unlike NMS, XR, etc).

          • Ron

            Agreed. I’ve always used a HOTAS in ED

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        It will support VR… You’ll be able to fly over atmospheric worlds and drive SUVs, game will switch to 2D only when walking.

  • Nigel Andrews

    For me this is great news. The next question is which headset is best for this specific use? I doubt MS will go with one, but I will be avidly watching the forums for the next month to see what user reviews show.

    • Nigel Andrews

      Looking for Reverb G2 to buy in the UK, but even HP don’t have stock or know when they will!

  • Coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

  • Walextheone

    Wonderful but my graphics card is probably not powerful enough.
    Maby I need to treat myself with one of thoose fancy 3070ti :D

  • david vincent

    “Beta participants should at least have a GTX 1080”
    Yeah sure >_<

  • Gildahl

    Looks like motion controller support will be MIA for this release, which would be a bummer. While I won’t go as far as saying it’s “essential”, I personally wouldn’t say the simulator has more than “partial VR support” until motion controls work. In X-Plane VR I find the height of reality (i.e. best matching my flying lesson days) to be when steering with left hand on my Honeycomb yoke, feet on rudder pedals, and motion controller in the right hand to control throttle, flaps, and other switches not mapped to a physical button. I’ve tried the mouse in my right hand in X-Plane VR (and occasionally need it), but don’t care for it at all. I suspect that as long as performance is good, I’ll still end-up favoring msfs VR over x-plane VR simply because of the visuals; but, in terms of the total experience, here’s hoping we don’t have to wait long before getting proper motion control support down the road.

    • Shepard

      Has so many options that motion controls won’t really be helpful here.

      • Scott Stoll

        I don’t understand how you could say that if you’ve ever used motion controllers. I’ve used them all the time in X-Plane and DCS and, believe me, when you can use your motion controllers you don’t bother thinking about any other options.

      • James Cobalt

        Er… do real life pilots not use their hands when piloting aircraft?

      • patfish

        HOTAS + Handtracking is the key to success.

  • xyzs

    Hummmm… around 4:30 to 4:40, even in their official video, the game struggles at 15 fps… lol

  • Jesustilloves

    It’s a super small update until you start the game,then 120 gb. But it looks cool and looking forward to the vr update.

  • Triskelos

    Having to re-download the entire game to get VR support? So far that’s what is happening on Steam version of MSFS 2020, on my computer.

  • Adam Broadhurst

    Is the update for the steam version only?

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Here’s the VR review from a VR beta tester who tested MSFS in VR for 50 hours with G2 + 1080TI.

    The good: It’s awesome experience, as close to real flying as one can get right now
    The bad: only 3d mouse cursor for switches, no controller support atm
    The ugly: 1080TI is only able to lock 30 fps natively
    The saviour: New 3 frames reprojection WMR. You only need 30 native fps to get 90fps

    • Rosko

      will that trick work for all headsets or just windows headsets?

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        WMR only unfortunately.

      • kontis

        OpenXR’s promised device plugin layer does not exist. Not sure if they will ever implement it. It looks like they changed the plans.

        They only delivered the application integration layer.

  • Jesustilloves

    Thanks for this update.

  • Wild Dog

    I’m disappointed at the lack of motion controls, but unfortunately, we knew this was going to happen. Unless a game is planned with VR from the get go, Microsoft won’t put in serious effort or resources to give it a quality VR experience.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Does X-wing rogue squadron support motion controls?

      • Wild Dog

        Unfortunately, I don’t think so! Even if you mean the new one, just called squadrons.

  • dAVAb

    Very jittery, No thanks.