Virtual reality hasn’t exploded in popularity as many expected it would when Oculus revived the dead medium, but it is still growing. Most VR games are designed from the ground up for VR, but a few mainstream titles that are suited to that gameplay style have also added support. Soon, you’ll be able to add Microsoft’s Flight Simulator to the list.
The new Microsoft Flight Simulator will be the first edition of the series since 2006’s Flight Simulator X, but it’s part of a lineage that stretches all the way back to 1982’s Flight Simulator 1.0. The graphics were rudimentary, but the quality improved with each iteration. According to Microsoft, the latest game will simulate the entire surface of the Earth using textures and topographical from Bing. Microsoft will also create 3D representations of buildings and trees using Asure technology. It’s going to be a huge game, but Microsoft is still making it available on physical media with a set of 10 DVDs.
Microsoft now says it will roll out an update to the game in the coming months that adds support for virtual reality, placing you inside the cockpit. However, it won’t work on all headsets at launch. Microsoft has partnered with HP on its Reverb G2 headset, which should launch later in 2020. This device will work with Windows Mixed Reality and Steam VR content.
HP contends that its $600 Reverb G2 will provide a better experience than competing headsets thanks to its lighter weight and higher resolution LCDs. Although, HP is notoriously fickle when it comes to products that aren’t part of its core business. You might find support difficult to obtain down the road.
Following the G2 launch, Microsoft will add support for other headsets like those from Oculus and HTC. Microsoft didn’t say exactly when that will happen, Microsoft’s head of Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann suggested it would be “a few more months” after the G2. With a compatible headset, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the simulator and look around the exquisitely accurate cockpits. Of course, that only applies to wired headsets — standalone VR devices don’t have enough power to run the new Flight Simulator.
Microsoft will launch Flight Simulator on August 18 on PC. It’s also included in the Xbox Game Pass for PC, which costs $4.99 per month during the beta.