Earlier this week, the Xbox team pushed a new update to Xbox One Preview members which brought Blu-ray Bitstream pass through and Dolby Atmos support on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox One S gaming consoles. Those features were previously announced during the company’s Windows 10 event in late October, but it now seems that this was just the tip of the iceberg.
Indeed, Microsoft announced today on Xbox Wire that Dolby Atmos support is coming to both the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs and tablets next year. The news was announced in a guest post written by Spencer Hooks, Director of Gaming at Dolby Laboratories, who explained that Dolby Atmos will enable a much more immersive experience for games and movies on both platforms.
If you’re not familiar with it, the Dolby Atmos technology comes from the cinema world and today many popular Hollywood movies are available with Dolby Atmos sound on both Blu-ray discs and streaming platforms. "With Dolby Atmos, you’re immersed in the movie like never before, with sounds moving all around you, just as it does in real life," explained Hooks.
But while Xbox One Preview members can now enjoy Dolby Atmos sound with the Xbox One’s Blu-Ray app, Atmos support will also be enabled for games on Xbox One and Windows 10 starting next year. According to Hooks, the technology could give a serious advantage to players in shooter games.
With Dolby Atmos, sound moves precisely all around and above you. You can hear where your allies and enemies are in three-dimensional space. Snipers on the roof? You’ll hear them over your left shoulder and know where to aim to take them out. The same goes for an attacker with a jet pack hovering behind you.
Beyond its tactical advantages, "Dolby Atmos also makes your experience of a game much more intense. You’ll feel like you’re inside the action as the voices, sounds and music move all around you.
If you’re wondering if you’ll need to upgrade your gear to enjoy the Dolby Atmos technology on your Windows 10 PC or Xbox One, it seems that it won’t be necessary. "It will be possible to enable virtually any pair of headphones with the Dolby Atmos experience," explained Hooks, though those of you who already have a Dolby Atmos enabled speaker system or soundbar will likely have the best experience.
Microsoft will share more about the technology next year, but Atmos support for the Blu-ray app on Xbox will be rolled out to all Xbox One users "soon" according to Hooks. The Xbox One will be the first next gen console to support the audio technology, but it's not clear yet if Dolby Atmos support could become one of the console's killer features going forward.