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Microsoft’s next-generation console will benefit from 3D audio powered by a hardware accelerated Xbox Series X audio chip.
Revealed by employees at the Microsoft-owned Ninja Theory in an article by VGC, the Xbox Series X audio chip may be used for ray-traced audio to create more realistic 3D audio in games.
When speaking to the outlet, Ninja Theory’s sound team revealed that the next-gen console’s audio hardware makes them “extremely excited”.
While the current-generation of Xbox consoles already support the 3D audio of Dolby Atmos, developers have to wrestle with hardware to squeeze realistic audio into games while keeping solid performance.
“We’re going to have a dedicated chip to work with audio, which means we finally won’t have to fight with programmers and artists for memory and CPU power,” revealed senior sound designer Daniele Galante.
“We take for granted that graphics are powered by their own video cards,” explained audio lead David Garcia. “But in audio, we haven’t had anything like that. Now we have some power dedicated to us.”
Unlike nowadays, the future of hardware accelerated audio will allow developers to craft more complex and realistic audio environments. There will be less of a limit on the amount of sounds that can be processed at once and powerful sound hardware can craft more intuitive sounds.
“I really like how Microsoft is giving us more tools to improve the sound and to be more creative,”Daniele Galante said. “Because at the end of the day it’s not a matter of, ‘we want more memory because we are more cool’, we just want to be able to do our jobs without thinking about limitations.
“Making games always has you thinking about technical limitations. Eventually these limitations become less and less the more you evolve with new consoles, but at the same time it’s always a constant thing: These are the maximum number of voices we can have, because otherwise the game is going to lag.”
We expect the next-gen Xbox Series X audio hardware will be used extensively in Ninja Theory’s Hellblade 2. After the first game’s incredible implementation of spatial audio, the next-gen audio ray-tracing can only help make it even better.