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Is Flight Simulator 2020 compatible with your old flight stick?

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has finally launched. Even though it took a decade-long break, it manages to take back the crown as the flight sim of excellence. With gorgeous graphics, a whole world to explore and it´s characteristic realistic controls it´s the most immersive the franchise has been yet.

If you don´t find a gamepad or the keyboard and mouse combo to be particularly immersive, you can use one of the many flight accessories and peripherals available on the market: Joysticks, throttlers, yokes, and even some control panels to complete the experience.

However, you might already have an old flying stick lying around, the one that you used on Flight Simulator X years ago. Will it still work?

Will your old joystick work with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?

Your current joystick, yoke, and/or flight sim accessory will probably work with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. As we already wrote in the past, accessibility is a big part of the design team´s thinking for the MFS team, so it comes to no surprise that the game is compatible with a wide range of peripherals, both old and new.

But what accessories exactly is the game compatible with? The team released a list. You can see that most of the popular options and brands are available. The line of Thrustmaster´s HOTAS, Logitech flight sticks, and even Honeycomb´s Alpha Flight control panel.

That said, you might think that the collection is rather limited when it comes to accessories from companies long gone or that discontinued their flight sim line. If you have one of these legacy accessories, will you experience compatibility issues?

Well, the list shows the supported peripherals, but in this case all "supported" means is that it comes with a preset control configuration. If your stick isn't on the list odds are it will still work as long as your computer can detect it.

However, this doesn´t mean that using your old peripheral is as simple as plugging it in and playing. If it isn´t supported, you will have to set it up yourself. How? the MFS team is kind enough to have this little tutorial in how to set up joysticks, HOTAS, and peripherals in general.

Microsoft can explain how to set up their own game better than I can, but here are the bullet points nonetheless:

  • First, you want to search and select which input or axis of movement you want to assign to your peripheral.

  • Select said input and then press the button or move the stick to assign that specific command to that input.

  • Rinse and repeat until your joystick does everything you want it to do.

  • If you want, you can adjust its sensitivity and dead zones in the aptly named sensitivity menu.

And that should be all the tinkering you need to do to set up your old stick if you don´t have a "supported" peripheral.

There are a lot of peripherals and add-ons you can use with MFS 2020. If you want to go even further in the immersion, check out our article here where we explain how to recreate a cockpit using only flight sim accessories.

What about VR? Is Flight Simulator 2020 compatible with my VR headset?

Not yet. Microsoft has announced that they are working on it and they expect VR compatibility to arrive on Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 this fall.

The only headset that they announced will have support as of yet is the HP Reverb G2, which is still not on the market. However, the game will likely support all the other PC-gaming headsets out there. It would go against their design philosophy not to do so.

If you want a similar experience to VR but don´t want to wait yet, MFS 2020 is compatible with TrackIR, a camera that tracks your head movements. With TrackIR, you can look around the cockpit by moving your head instead of the mouse. It´s an especially immersive garget if you already have a HOTAS or yoke installed to fly your virtual plane.

And if you want to learn how to add head tracking to Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can learn how to do it here.


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