Butter verses Potato: Elite Dangerous vs Microsoft Flight Simulator using a Quest 2 VR

I bought a Quest 2 specifically to play with Microsoft Flight Simulator using a Link cable. I had a GearVR previously, but this has been my first experience with PC based VR. It’s been a mixed experience. Does it work? Sort of. But you have to put in a ton of time either following settings recommendations or spend time yourself tweaking settings to find what balance works for you. It’s currently a compromise between graphics quality and framerates – unless you drop a few thousand dollars on the fastest hardware and current top of the range Nvidia 3090 (which alone will cost you around $3000) you have to make a compromise.

I’ve followed a lot of online guides for settings recommendations and came up with a combination that worked ok for me. However, I’ve come to accept that this is really two different games with completely different experiences:

  • playing with Ultra everything on desktop and enjoying the incredible graphics (which honestly is incredible)
  • playing in VR with seriously dialed back settings to get it to run smooth, but being amazed at the emersiveness and believable feeling of being in a plane cockpit and actually flying

These are not the same two things for me, at least with the hardware I have. It’s two different games with two different experiences.

Knowing that I’d probably get a much better VR experience with native Quest 2 games, I’ve tried out a few had a great experience (Star Wars Pinball, Job Simulator). so I know the Quest can give a good experience. Standalone it works great.

I’ve played a lot of hours previously with Elite Dangerous, and I remember it was one of the earlier games to get PC VR support. I’d been so focused on getting the settings just right for MS Flight Simulator that I hadn’t even tried any other PC games. So I gave it a go.

I was surprised. So very, very surprised. Compared to MS Flight Simulator it’s a night and day experience. I didn’t bother bringing up the Oculus tray and tweaking any settings, I was just initially curious to see what it would be like. I started up the game, turned on VR headset support in game (didn’t even start it from Steam, and since I’d already started Link it just went straight in. The experience was smooth, it was fluid, no lags, no stutters, it was really an incredible experience. No tweaking settings, no lowering graphics features, it just worked.

The incredible thing was the sense of massiveness of the environment that I’d never experienced playing the game sitting in front of a monitor. The insides of the ship are massive, the ships themselves are massive when viewed from your SRV outside. Flying across the vastness of space feels like you’re there. Approaching a planet you get the sense of how massive the planets are as you approach.

In summary, MS Flight Simulator has not been optimized enough to be comfortably playable yet. Elite Dangerous on the other hand is incredible in VR. The Quest 2 with Link cable can work flawlessly out of the box. I hope MS Flight Simulator will get there but it’s hit or miss whether you can get the settings tuned enough to be playable on your hardware.

Admittedly I have’t tried any other PC games at this point, but if you want a showcase experience of what’s possible, try Elite Dangerous with the Quest 2 over Link. It’s incredible.

Oculus Quest 2 settings for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

The current state of PC based VR in 2021 ranges from:

  • OMG this is incredible, it’s so immersive it feels like you’re really there!


  • The low FPS is terrible, stuttering and motion tracking lag, ugh this is making me seasick

I just got an Oculus Quest 2 to use with Microsoft Flight Simulator with the Link cable. I was surprised that out of the box it’s actually a terrible experience with MSFS, horrible framerate (< 10fps), and jerky, laggy head tracking. I could only handle it for about 5 mins before taking it off. My initial reaction was that I was disappointed. I know from reading online though that plenty of people are using a Quest 2 over Link successfully and are pleased with the results, so some searching around found a number of threads recommending optimal settings.

tldr; if you’re prepared to spend time tweaking driver and and app settings, the Quest 2 with MSFS really is an incredible experience, and for the low cost (compared to something like the G2 Reverb), I’d definitely recommend it. To get it running smoothly though, you need to make a number of updates and config changes in a number of different places:

  • Disable any onscreen display overlay type apps, e.g. in onscreen display in Ndivida settings and disable the Window 10 Game bar. There seems to be a known issue with onscreen display apps that either the Quest, the Link drivers, or MSFS cannot handle correctly right now, resulting in the display in the headset flickering back and forth between MSFS and the Oculus Home app
  • Update the Oculus software to Beta and accept the updates to run latest beta versions
  • ymmv but for me the SteamVR approach was much less smooth than the Oculus OpenXR software. Try both and see what works best for you. Others reported the SteamVR software was smoother for them

Here’s my specs for comparison (specific details here):

Asus X570 mobo

Ryzen 5 3600XT


Corsair MP600 m2 NVMe SSD PCIe Gen4

RTX 2060

There are a couple of useful threads where you can find the majority of these tuning tips, these 2 specifically:




For the majority of my settings I followed these exactly and tweaked slightly to get the smoothest settings I was comfortable. Here’s screenshots of the relevant parts:

Nvidia control panel:

Oculus app: 90hz and 1.3 was recommended in one of the threads, but I went with 80hz and 1.0 that I found was much smoother:

Oculus Tray App – start as Administrator and leave running when you run MSFS:

0.8,0.8 FOV had a significant improvement to the framerate. Any smaller than this, like 0.7,0.7 and I could noticably see the reduced field of view in the headset.

Link settings:

I’m not sure how much difference these settings made. I played around with the Bitrate for example between 250 and 500 and didn’t notice any improvement to the quality or the framerate.

For me, the combination of all the above settings with my hardware resulted in very playable and smooth output in the headset. I don’t think the graphics are as sharp as they could be, but I’d rather have smooth and less sharp than super sharp and detailed but juddering around when I move my head.

I was very surprised that the Quest 2 does not produce good results with MSFS and the link cable out of the box, but following some of the recommendations you find in the linked forums threads should get you good results.