Microsoft Flight Simulator opens sign-ups for VR closed beta

And its next World Update will spruce up the US.

Developer Asobo has now opened sign-ups for its forthcoming Microsoft Flight Simulator VR closed beta, which is expected to begin toward the end of this month or early November, and will initially be open to those with a Windows Mixed Reality headset.

Speaking in Asobo's latest community focussed livestream, head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann explained the developer has been working on VR support for the game - which he describes as "the single most immersive experience I've ever had" - for over a year now.

It's now at a stage where it's ready for closer scrutiny, and that's where Asobo's upcoming VR closed beta comes in. Players interested in helping the developer test its VR builds can head to the Flight Simulator website and start the sign-up process. They'll need a Windows Mixed Reality headset (such as the upcoming HP Reverb G2), must have a PC that meets the minimum specifications, and must be a registered Microsoft Flight Simulator Insider member.

With those stipulations covered, registrants will need to submit their DxDiag to help Asobo pick the players most suited to each wave of its closed beta, and then agree to Microsoft's NDA. The developer notes that although support for non-WMR VR headsets won't be included in Phase 1 of the beta, Phase 2 will be expanded to function with additional devices.

Elsewhere in Asobo's lengthy but informative livestream, the developer confirmed that, following the launch of its recent Japan-focussed patch, its next World Update - the name given to releases that enhance specific regions of the globe with the likes of handcrafted landmarks and airports - will turn its attention to improving areas of the US.

That will arrive later this year, but Asobo will first release Sim Update 1 in November (the developer's post-launch plan is to alternate between Sim and World updates), which will focus on simulation improvements and address issues raised by community.

The remaining 40 minutes or so of Asobo's livestream then breaks down some of the most requested community features, detailing if and how they can be addressed.

It's a broad and lengthy list but sees the developer confirming that, among many other things, it's looking to implement DLSS and ray-tracing (via DirectX12), add a freeware section to the in-game marketplace, and improve digital elevation data (expect more of that in the US update). It's also promised to remove the much-maligned 'Press Any Key to Start' screen. Needless to say, the full video is worth a watch if you're at all interested in the finer points of Flight Simulator.

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Matt Wales

Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a freelance writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.

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