Microsoft Flight Simulator VR close beta is now open for sign-ups

For simulator fans, the latest iteration of the well-aged Flight Simulator could be the franchise's biggest release yet and in more ways than one. The complete set of launch assets spans 10 dual-layer DVDs and that's not yet including the updates that will be released in the months and years to come. It may also be the first of its line to finally reach virtual reality utopia now that the technology is pretty much ready. And if you are similarly ready with the hardware, you can try your luck in signing up for a closed VR beta tester now.

The requirements are rather heavy, more than what the game itself requires. Of course, that's really no surprise since your PC also needs to meet the requirements for VR headsets. For the first phase, developers Asobo Studios say that only Windows Mixed Reality headsets will be supported but future phases will be opened up to additional gear.

As for the other requirement, you'll need to own the game, of course, and you'll need to sign up to be a Microsoft Flight Simulator, a.k.a. MSFS, Insider. Signing up, however, doesn't immediately guarantee a slot in the closed beta and the developers will be selecting different insiders for different builds.

Flight Simulator is almost the perfect title to showcase the benefits of VR over traditional PC keyboard and mouse input methods. The graphics are as close to reality as you can digitally get and while sticks and wands remain only an approximation, they can still give a closer feel than tapping and clicking while viewing a very flat screen.

Some analysts project that Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 could be the new Crysis of our time, driving up max computer specs in the industry which could then see a surge in PC upgrades over the next few years. Of course, it might hardly be the title that finally "sells" VR to consumers but those upgrading their PCs for MSFS might as well look into making their rigs VR-worthy in the process.