With Xbox Series X and S, Microsoft and Dolby are for the first time bringing Dolby Vision support, in addition to Atmos, to console gaming. The first Dolby Vision games will arrive in 2021.
Dolby Vision + Atmos gaming
Current Xbox One consoles support HDR10 and Dolby Vision for apps, but gaming support is limited to basic HDR10. Xbox Series X and Series S will be the first consoles to support the Dolby Vision HDR format with dynamic metadata for gaming.
- "You’ll also experience the same great audio on Xbox Series S that you will on Xbox Series X with Spatial Sound, including support for Dolby Atmos. What’s more, support for Dolby Vision via streaming media apps like Disney+, Vudu and Netflix will be available across Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X at launch, and Dolby Vision support for gaming will come first to our next-gen Xbox consoles in 2021," announced Microsoft.
Microsoft and Dolby have not provided details on the implementation but we expect it to be based on the same 'low latency' version of Dolby Vision that is currently supported on Xbox One for apps. With the low latency version the console/player takes over the heavy lifting (Dolby Vision processing) from the TV. The challenge with the low latency mode is that it is not universally supported by all Dolby Vision-compatible TVs; examples of excluded TVs being 2016 LG OLED models and 2016-17 Vizio models. As a result, Dolby Vision officially became a fragmented format last year.
If you own a more recent Dolby Vision-compatible TV you should be ready for the action, but the big question of course is whether there will be any benefit over standard HDR10 format that already offers expanded luminance and color range? We will not know for sure until we try it but the scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame dynamic metadata of Dolby Vision may improve the HDR presentation on TVs with less capable display hardware.
'Cyberpunk 2077' will support Dolby Atmos on Xbox Series X and S. Photo: Dolby
First Dolby Vision games in 2021
We will have to wait a little longer for games with Dolby Vision support to be announced. The first ones should arrive sometime in 2021.
- "With support for Dolby Atmos games at launch and Dolby Vision games coming in 2021, the Xbox Series X and Series S will be the first consoles ever to enable gaming in both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos," said Dolby.
Dolby confirmed that titles like Cyberpunk 2077, F1 2020, Gears 5, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps will support Atmos sound on Xbox Series X and Series S. Current Xbox One consoles also support Atmos for gaming.
More coverage: Xbox Series X and Series S
PlayStation 5? Sony has yet to confirm if it will support Dolby's video and audio formats for gaming although we expect it to support at least Dolby Atmos for apps and UHD Blu-ray. For immersive audio in gaming, Sony has developed its own object-based 3D audio format called 'Tempest Audio' that it claims to be better than Atmos in part because it supports more audio objects.