B&O, Microsoft To Collaborate on Xbox Series X Gaming Audio
Well-heeled video gamers may be pleased to learn that Microsoft’s Xbox unit and Danish high-end design-centric AV manufacturer Bang & Olufsen are teaming up to present high-fidelity audio gaming experiences around the forthcoming Xbox Series X gaming console.
According to a statement issued Monday by B&O’s product management VP Christoffer Poulsen, “the purpose of this new collaboration is to create a new audio proposition to cater for the high-end segment within gaming by leveraging on Bang & Olufsen’s core capabilities of sound, design and craft. This will include “Designed for Xbox” functionalities, which will ensure seamless connectivity and an enhanced user experience.”
In reaching an agreement, Poulsen said B&O is responding to significant global growth across genders and age groups in the gaming over the last few years, and “enhancing the sound experience offers a place for us to play a key role. By entering the gaming industry, we want to do what we do best: delivering outstanding sound performance wrapped in astonishing design and solid craftmanship.”
Commenting on the move, Matt Kesselring, Xbox head of hardware partnerships said: “As we march towards release [of Xbox Series X} we’re excited to partner with Bang & Olufsen to bring a new premium tier of gaming audio to market for Xbox and Bang & Olufsen fans around the world that travels with you everywhere you love to play Xbox.”
The statement offered sparse details on how B&O thinks it will be able to address gaming sound from the new platform, adding only that “the two companies will share additional information when available.”
However, Microsoft has given some clues in released specs for the new X Series X platform: Among some of the sound enhancements previously announced is ray-traced audio, which renders physically realistic audio to convey size, shape, and material properties of the virtual environment. Microsoft said the “Spatial Audio” delivered will be “deeply immersive audio which enables the player to more accurately pinpoint objects in a 3D play space.”
In addition, Microsoft has reported that “with full support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Windows Sonic, Xbox Series X has custom audio hardware to offload audio processing from the CPU to “dramatically improve the accessibility, quality and performance of these immersive experiences.”
Further, Microsoft Xbox has previously said that its “Project Acoustics accurately models sound propagation physics in mixed reality and games, employed by many AAA experiences today. It is unique in simulating wave effects like diffraction in complex scene geometries without straining CPU, enabling a much more immersive and lifelike auditory experience. Plug-in support for both the Unity and Unreal game engines empower the sound designer with expressive controls to mold reality. Developers will be able to easily leverage Project Acoustics with Xbox Series X through the addition of a new custom audio hardware block.”
Microsoft Xbox and B&O also could foreseeably leverage their mutual support for the WiSA wireless speaker standard, as both companies are WiSA members and WiSA has been part of the Xbox One S/X specs in the past.
The console will also support a built-in Ultra HD Blu-ray optical disc drive making it capable of playing 4K UHD Blu-ray movie discs that can support Dolby Atoms, DTS:X, Dolby True HD, DTS-HD Master Audio and other advanced surround sound profiles.
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By Greg Tarr
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