Sony and Microsoft, the two biggest names in console video gaming, last week revealed that they have joined forces to improve the state of high dynamic range (HDR) video gaming through the formation of a new HDR Gaming Interest Group (HGIG).

The two competitors recently met with a number of interested parties in the electronics manufacturing and game development industries who will be worked jointly to develop a set of guidelines and best practices to create a better HDR gaming experience.

Among the areas the members hope to address will be the interoperation between video game consoles and televisions.

According to the mission statement of the group, the companies propose to “draft HDR Game Content Production and Distribution Guidelines that will help optimize the consumer gaming experience when playing game content in high dynamic range (HDR).”

The group is looking at issues that have fueled negative reactions from consumers to HDR games so far and will look to improve the issues while creating liasons with “Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) to develop relevant standards.”

Interestingly, among the potential goals of the group are to establish interoperability between gaming systems and displays, so that each device will be able to present the content in the best way capable.

According to the statement: “In sum, the core element of the recommendation is to produce an HDR game that parameterizes its tone mapper when given information about an HDR display’s tone mapper. This will compensate for the variance in how displays handle HDR,” the companies said.

The 4K HDR landscape today is riddled with so-called 4K/HDR televisions with widely differing capabilities for areas like peak brights, contrast range and color gamut coverage.

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Other bodies, like the Ultra HD Alliance and Blu-ray Disc Association, have similarly tried to assemble interested companies from various industries to elevate the 4K and HDR experiences in the home, but this has achieved limited results with different companies looking to direct parameters around their own proprietary technologies and interests.

In recent months, attention has turned more noticeably toward video gaming, with leading television makers now competing to lower lag times, reduce image blurring and present gaming graphics with better color and brightness highlights, using HDR as a foundation.

The HGIG said it intends to acknowledge difference in HDR hardware, while ensuring “consistent and fair game play” and striving to deliver games that are “forward compatible” as advances arrive in hardware designs and capabilities.

Companies that have expressed interest in working in or with the HGIG include the following:

Activision Publishing, Inc.
ASUSTek Computer Inc.
CAPCOM Co., Ltd.
EIZO Corporation
Electronic Arts
Epic Games
HP Inc.
Koninklijke Philips N.V.
LG Electronics, Inc.
Microsoft Corporation
Panasonic Corporation
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Sony Visual Products
Square Enix Co., LTD.
Toshiba Visual Solutions Corporation
Unity Technologies
Vicarious Visions
WB Games


By Greg Tarr


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