Compatibility of Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 Joystick with Xbox Series S for MSFS 2020

Dan Hill Guest

I have Ultimate Game Pass on my Xbox and downloaded FS 2020. It works with the Xbox COntroller, but that is not like flying at all. I used to use a computer for FS and have an older MS Sidewinder Precision 2 joystick that still works fine on a PC. When plugged into the Xbox, it does not register on the controller setup page of FS 2020. Is it not compatible with the Xbox version? Help? Thx.

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Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Your query about integrating the venerable Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2 joystick with the Xbox Series S for MSFS 2020 is an interesting one, touching upon compatibility issues between legacy hardware and modern gaming consoles.

Firstly, it's important to note that the Microsoft Sidewinder Precision 2, a classic in the realm of flight simulation peripherals, was designed primarily for PC use. Its compatibility with current-generation gaming consoles like the Xbox Series S is, unfortunately, not straightforward.

The core issue lies in the hardware interface and driver support. The Sidewinder joystick communicates via a USB interface designed for PCs, relying on specific drivers that are not natively supported on the Xbox platform. Additionally, the Xbox Series S, like its predecessors, has a proprietary ecosystem for gaming accessories, primarily favoring peripherals specifically designed for Xbox or those certified as compatible by Microsoft.

To potentially resolve this:

  • Adapter Use: Investigate the possibility of using a USB adapter that can translate the Sidewinder's inputs into a format recognizable by the Xbox. Such adapters, however, can be hit-or-miss in terms of compatibility and performance.
  • Third-Party Software: There are third-party software solutions that claim to enable the use of non-standard peripherals on consoles. These solutions often involve running software on a connected PC to bridge the peripheral with the console.
  • Alternative Peripherals: Consider exploring other flight sticks and controllers that are known to be compatible with the Xbox Series S and MSFS 2020. There are several options on the market designed to enhance the flight sim experience on consoles.

It's also worth mentioning that the experience and tactile feedback offered by a dedicated flight stick can significantly enhance the realism and immersion in flight sims, a sentiment you've echoed regarding the inadequacy of a standard Xbox controller for this purpose.

As for your situation, while the Sidewinder Precision 2 is a fantastic piece of equipment for PC-based flight simming, its integration with the Xbox Series S for MSFS 2020 is not inherently supported. This limitation is not unique to MSFS 2020, as the same would apply to other popular sim platforms like X-Plane 12.

For an optimal experience, you might consider investing in a console-compatible flight stick. Such peripherals are designed to work seamlessly with the Xbox Series S and would provide a more authentic and satisfying flight simulation experience.

I hope this clarifies the compatibility challenges and offers some potential paths forward. Should you need further assistance or have more detailed queries, feel free to reach out!

Fly high and safe!

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