Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) includes support for SteamVR headsets, however playing via VR requires some of the most modern (and consequently least available) PC components due to its demanding spec requirement. Now Asobo are getting ready to release a Update 5 which includes some major performance benefits across the board, including VR.

In its latest livestream, Asobo CEO Sebastian Wloch demonstrates the performance improvements on a PC with an Intel Core i7-9700K and RTX 2060 Super. Whilst playing in 4K on ultra settings at 40% render scale, Wloch shows the most recent update nearly doubes frame rate from 30 fps to almost 60 fps.

It’s a strong demonstration of just how much the team has done to improve performance on the PC version, and that directly translates to perfomance in-headset too.

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Wloch says in the livestream that although the team hasn’t quantified it in the same manner as the demo above, there’s set to be a “positive impact on VR,” of course depending on your individual hardware setup.

We’re interested to see just how much update 5 does when it arrives on July 27th.

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  • Ques4k

    What does 4k at 40% render scale mean? Is it something like the game is rendered at 1080p and getting upscaled to 4k?

    • exbagboy

      yeah, it’s rendering at about 3.2 million pixels so closer to 1440p resolution.

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      4K 40% = 3,317,760 pixels to render. A bit less than 1440p (3.7M). It’s marketing manipulation, but still relative performance increase is there. 3080 should probably be able to do locked 60fps at 4K high settings, maybe even at a bit higher res. That’s great increase over today’s performance if +50% fps turns out to be true.

  • Nothing to see here

    Great. Does it still make you type on a keyboard while wearing a VR headset to play it?

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  • TechPassion

    Could this f… company lower the price? 69 USD or 89 USD per COPY is insane.

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      Welcome to the world of flight sims. 69 USD is actually dirt cheap for what you get . Just look at the DCS world pricing. Some ppl spend up to 2000 bucks on that sim alone. A single high fidelity plane module will cost you from 49 to 79 bucks. But what you get is study level airplane simulating most of the systems and subsystems. It takes A LOT of work to develop something like this.

      • xyzs

        You are correct

        We leave in a world where it’s expected to get very advanced softwares that required years of work and strong technical support for 10 minutes worth of work on the customer side…

        And he can get it for one dollar for a month anyway so how can he even insult them and complain ?

    • DjArcas

      Gamepass!

    • Marcus

      It’s not a game where you should argue over 20$. It’s not just a flight simulator or a game in my opinion: It’s a piece of modern art and technology that lets you visit and explore our entire planet. The visuals are beyond belief. It’s a experience you will enjoy for many years. It’s not 89 USD or whatever, it’s priceless!

  • Gildahl

    The three big issues with MSFS in VR are blurry visuals, bad distance draw, and no support for motion controllers (in that order for me). To conquer the first two, you really need render scaling at 130, or much preferably, at 150 before the blur and distance draw reach a point of being “good”. If that could be obtained at smooth framerates, and support for motion controllers were added, I would switch from XP in a moment. I’m not holding my breath though.

    • Pablo C

      What is XP?

      • Gildahl

        X-Plane. Which, since its recent Vulkan update, is much better optimized for VR than MSFS.

        • Pablo C

          Thanks! would you recommend it for a GTX1080? (I was about to buy it, but then, games like Elite and NMS have been working terrible in VR latelly).

          • Gildahl

            Honestly not sure. I run on an i9/2080Ti and am able to get very smooth perfomance in XPlane (much better than MSFS); however, I also get excellent performance in ED–so if you’re struggling with that one, it’s possible XPlane might be stressed as well (I haven’t tried NMS).

          • Kevin Brook

            I’m using a 3090 10850k setup and have both a Quest 2 and Reverb G2. My visuals are not blurry, especially not with the G2 which is almost photorealistic above 2500 feet. Performance is good on the Quest 2 and great on the G2.

            Hopefully the performance improvements will offer users significant improvements but the problem isn’t that it’s a poorly optimised game but rather an incredibly complicated and demanding one. It’s truly a next generation experience and you are using last generation hardware.

            Consumers sometimes have unrealistic expectations. They want the boundaries pushed beyond whatever went before but also expect to be able to run it on older hardware. That’s not realistic.

            On my system it’s the greatest VR experience I’ve ever had by far.

          • Gildahl

            I think blurry is very subjective, but I think the general finding is that you need render scaling to be at 130-150 before distance blur in MSFS becomes something comparable to distance blur in, say, DCS or X-Plane when pushed to the borders of their abilities to maintain smooth and playable framerates; so I think my expectations are realistic given the age of those engines. Unfortunately, trying to run MSFS on a 2080Ti, at render scales of 130-150 (with 150+ being were you *really* want to start), framerates are just atrocious. I suppose that if the 3090 is providing you with the ability to push render scaling this high at smooth framerates, then I’d agree that it probably isn’t blurry for you. But the sim right now is definitely not meant for those with a lowly 2080Ti/i9 combo in VR, since I’m lucky to do 110 and that’s just not cutting it on my Vive Pro 2 or Index–but, maybe that will change with this update. I’m certainly hoping so.

        • Jim Bob

          On the other hand MSFS is about the only thing keeping PCVR alive right now its pushing the boundaries of VR immersion.. Its the only thing that can’t and won’t be competeing with mobile VR headsets.

          • Gildahl

            I certainly hope not. Right now MSFS is possibly the most poorly optimized and worst example of a PC VR title out there and is more likely damaging PCVR than helping it. On my i9/2080Ti I have a choice of either nausea-inducing framerates or graphics-like-mud. PCVR is far more kept alive by staples like Alyx, Star Wars Squadrons, Elite Dangerous, Assetto Corsa, DCS, VTOL, Skyrim, Subnautica, Derail Valley, Iron Wolf, Battle Group VR, and a host of others.

    • Bob

      Those aren’t the only barriers. You also have to conquer the current state of VR technology as it stands now in order to maximize immersion or as they call it “presence”. There’s nothing on the market that exists worthy of experiencing MSFS 2020 to its fullest potential (at least right now as of July 2021). Every device is full of compromises at this moment in time; either one doesn’t have enough resolution (Valve Index) or enough horizontal field of view (Reverb G2) or terrible contrast (Pimax headsets). All of them are LCD based. Which is simply the anti-thesis of what VR aims to be which is, again, presence.

      My advice; skip this year and wait and see what happens with next year. You’d want those factors I mentioned mostly solved and integrated into one well designed, machined and ergonomic package with FOV being at the very least 140 degrees horizontal and 120 degrees vertical, and of course with OLED or some other miracle emissive display technology with pixel-level precision (unlikely). Although in my honest opinion, VR appears to be heading for a mobile chipset future which does not bode well for those wishing for more advanced tech within the PCVR space. Hopefully these future standalone headsets maintain their support for use with a PC.

      • Raphael

        There are plenty of people using VR right now for DCS world and the badly performing MS flight. Yes there are compromises but FOV isn’t a massive compromise when you’re in a life-size VR cockpit.

        There are DCS world flyers including real F18 and F16 pilots using VR with flight sims and if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for the rest of us.

        Standalone headsets won’t be an issue for future PC VR either.

        • Bob

          The comment was specifically referring to MSFS 2020, and not other flight simulators. MSFS 2020 is a literal step above over other competing experiences in terms of its software engineering (graphical fidelity, weather effects, procedural generation etc.) and provided the hardware requirements are met or exceeded, the flight sim is a real feast for the eyes on a standard flatscreen.

          This same experience cannot be said for VR due its obvious performance issues which means essentially you only get half of the experience. If this flight sim is best-in-class, which it is, then it’s deserving of a best-in-class VR headset that meets a minimum standard for the sake of immersion and getting the user closer to a 1:1 match with how they perceive the real world. Current state of the technology in the headsets of today clearly don’t meet this standard to justify experiencing MSFS 2020 to its fullest potential as I’ve already stated.

          Again, as the comment already states, the argument is for a headset that maximizes immersion/sense of presence specifically within MSFS 2020, and not if VR devices are “good enough” to be used with flight sims in general.

          I’m not sure that boldly claiming that something won’t be an issue is actually valid reassurance especially if it’s coming from an internet random. Standalone may not be an issue now but it can, and will change the direction of the market in future. ARM and x86 are both completely different things and depending on the success of one or the other can and will determine if PCVR continues to remain a valid proposition even for companies such as Valve.

    • Dave

      This is just nitpicking! The HP Reverb G2 visuals are good, maybe a tiny bit blurry off centre but pretty decent and more than clear enough. I don’t understand the draw distance issue, it’s absolutely fine. Maybe you fly airliners? I don’t understand controller support either, get yourself a decent HOTAS setup. VR is fantastic in MSFS and with my i9-9900K and 2080Ti performance is already terrific.

      • Gildahl

        Hardly nitpicking, and I fly primarily in the Cessna. Distance draw is clearly more blurry than, say, XPlane, DCS, VTOL, or pretty much most any other sim that has decent VR support. At playable framerates, lakes pixelate in the distance and mountains and terrain are just a smeary mess. Again, that is until you raise the render scaling up to 130, or preferably 150, at which point distance draw actually becomes quite nice and very acceptable. But at playable framerates in VR, I definitely prefer the visuals in XP and other sims right now. These assessments are being made, BTW on my Vive Pro 2, which has similar resolution to the G2, and also my Index; and I also use an i9/2080Ti combo. Additionally, I do have a HOTAS, though that’s for military sims; for GA I use a Honeycomb yoke, Saitek pedals, Knobster, etc.. As far as motion control, I can’t take anyone seriously who does not see the issue of not supplying 1:1 interaction with the instrument panel in a serious VR sim. Just a few flying lessons IRL will be instantly instructive on that point.