Has Microsoft just one-upped Sony in the next-gen console war? Dolby today confirmed that the Xbox Series X and Series S will be the first-ever games consoles to support both Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos surround sound in games.
"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," reads Dolby's website.
That could be a major advantage for the new Xboxes as they will be capable of displaying improved, dynamic HDR on future Dolby Vision-supporting discs and streams. According to Dolby, gamers can expect superb contrast and depth that "goes beyond traditional HDR games" – which is believable considering the difference between HDR10 and Dolby Vision in movie playback. It's also said to bring "10x greater black levels". That should help when you're stealthily tracking opponents down shadowy corridors, then.
Support for Dolby Vision won't arrive until some time in 2021, but Dolby says the Series X and Series S will both support the immersive surround sound Dolby Atmos audio format at launch.
So which games will support Atmos? So far, Dolby has confirmed that open-world action adventure Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty: Warzone, Ori, F1 2020 and Gears 5 will all be Atmos-ready for gaming, although presumably all of the games that already support Atmos via the One X and One S (Forza Horizon 4, for example) will also play in Atmos through the new consoles.
Neither Microsoft or Dolby has released full details, but we're expecting an improved version of the Dolby Vision HDR currently support by the Xbox One (in limited forms).
All of which brings us to the Sony PS5. So far, Sony hasn't announced a price, release date or indeed whether the PS5 will support either Dolby Vision HDR or the rivalling HDR10+ format. What we do know is that Sony is promising that the Sony's Atmos rival, 3D Audio, will allow PS5 gamers to 'hear individual raindrops'.