You’re now one step closer to playing the new Microsoft Flight Simulator in its most immersive format possible. Asobo Studio has opened sign-ups for a closed beta test (via Eurogamer) that will let you play Flight Simulator in VR. You’ll initially need a Windows Mixed Reality headset like HP’s Reverb G2, a system that meets the minimum specs (most notably the equivalent to a GeForce GTX 1080) and a Flight Simulator Insider membership.
A second phase will include “additional devices,” although Asobo didn’t say what those headsets might be. The beta is expected to start in late October or early November.
The addition of VR could be one of the biggest upgrades to the game. While aircraft cockpits are frequently very realistic in Flight Simulator, staring at a monitor doesn’t match the situational awareness you’d have as a real pilot. Even as limited as VR will be (you can’t grab controls like you would in real life), it should feel more natural than using a mouse and keyboard to look around.
Asobo will soon act on its promises of an ever-evolving title, too. A Sim Update 1 arriving in November will tackle community feature requests, while an update after that will improve the world itself. If you’ve spotted a technical inaccuracy or towering monolith, there’s a real chance it’ll be fixed before too long.
The new Microsoft Flight Simulator is an immersive beast of a PC game, and we can only imagine how immersive it might get in VR — but you might not have to imagine much longer, because Microsoft has just opened signups (via Eurogamer) for a closed beta of the virtual reality experience.
There are quite a few requirements if you want to be considered, though. Not only do you have to own the game, have a Windows Mixed Reality headset, be a registered Microsoft Flight Simulator “Insider” and sign an NDA, you’ll need a slightly beefier PC than the base game — with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 or better sporting 8GB of VRAM, as well as 16GB of system memory.
And, you’ll need to prove your PC qualifies by submitting your DxDiag (press your Windows start button, type “dxdiag”, hit Enter) so Microsoft can confirm those specs and that your system isn’t prone to BSODs or other major system errors.
(The DxDiag file is basically just an inventory of your system, but it does also list recent application crashes.)
Intriguingly, it doesn’t look like you’ll need the HP Reverb G2, the specific headset that Microsoft originally said would get first dibs on the game. Any Windows Mixed Reality headset will apparently do to start, which should be neat for those who got deep discounts on items like the Lenovo Explorer and Samsung Odyssey over the past couple of years.
The company isn’t saying when the closed beta will begin, but it had previously promised a free VR update this fall, so it probably won’t be long. If you’ve got an Oculus, HTC, or other VR headset, there’ll be a second wave of closed beta for other devices as well.
It’s not surprising Microsoft might want to be cautious
Microsoft released its rebooted Flight Simulator program in August 2020, immediately wowing gamers with its hyper-realistic scenery, digitally distilled from satellite imagery.
The sim gives its users the ability to fly anywhere in the world, with our planet reconstructed with real-time weather conditions using Microsoft Bing mapping technology.
So it’s a little surprising that a huge terrifying abyss has opened up in the middle of Brazil.
Reddit user ReversedWindow appears to have been the first to report the freaky discovery and was brave enough to pilot an airplane down it.
Turns out it gets stranger: There’s a whole airport down there. The above YouTube video by Kwad Damage shows this remarkable journey to the center of the Earth, while the screengrab at the top is from PC Gamer’s Christopher Livingston’s adventure.
The airport in question is Lagoa Nova, which in the real world is a little airstrip in Rio Grande de Norte and not an actual hellmouth.
To get to the chasm in the sim, you just need to set Lagoa Nova as your destination.
PC Gamer magazine speculates that the glitch is most likely due to a typo and that the airfield’s elevation above sea level may be mis-entered in a spreadsheet somewhere.
It’s already been noted that the program has some quirky dimensions.
CNN Travel reported last month that if you chart a route over the North Pole, you can fly beyond the realm of Bing Maps.
“As we flew over the North Pole we were looking at different weird map structures that may have just been glitches or may have been the video game filling in, but we didn’t know where we were,” content creator and streaming host Bruce Greene told CNN.
It’s said that when Alexander the Great