Good news for Xbox Series X|S owners. Microsoft has announced the consoles are getting Dolby Vision HDR for gaming, joining the already supported Dolby Atmos audio format.
Larry Hryb (i.e. Major Nelson) tweeted the news via his account, and the announcement will bring the adaptive HDR format to the gaming side of the Xbox consoles given the Dolby Vision had been enabled for video streaming services.
There is a caveat, however. The HDR feature is currently only available to members of the Xbox Insider Alpha ring as the feature undergoes testing before general release. If you are a part of that program, you’ll be first in line to test the Xbox’s interpretation of Dolby Vision for gaming.
Once it does go live, Xbox console owners will need a Dolby Vision enabled TV to take advantage. Considering LG’s OLED range are the official partners for Microsoft’s latest consoles, that’s probably the best place to start. Despite having what we’d rate as the best-in-class latency performance in the TV gaming market, Samsung does not support Dolby Vision on any of its TVs.
The addition of Dolby Vision will allow gamers to play their games with a more exacting visual performance that includes brighter highlights, sharper contrast and more vibrant colours. Dolby claims that with Vision HDR enabled, gamers can see opponents hiding in the shadows (though that sounds like cheating to us), and with the expanded contrast range there’s a better sense of the brightest whites and the deepest blacks for better clarity and image accuracy. Given Dolby Vision is an adaptive HDR format, it will automatically map the HDR for the best possible performance (in line with the TV’s capabilities) at any given moment.
News on which games will support Dolby Vision will be revealed later, though we can guess Microsoft’s upcoming first party output will be included and we could perhaps see older games receive a Dolby Vision facelift (this is speculation on our part).
Dolby and Microsoft are said to be working closely with TV manufacturers to create a seamless and automatic experience as possible for the rollout of Dolby Vision for gaming. Alpha Insiders will need to make sure their TVs are updated to the latest firmware and, judging by the press release, likely need automatic low-latency mode (ALLM) or variable refresh rate (VRR) support for the best possible experience.
Given Dolby Vision for gaming is in its test phase to gather feedback, its current form won’t be representative of the final experience. Its appearance is an interesting one as Dolby branches out its Vision HDR technology to other visual mediums and the Xbox gets another feature that doesn’t look like it’s going to appear on Sony’s PS5 any time soon.
Dolby Vision is a variant of HDR, adding a layer of dynamic metadata to the core HDR signal. This dynamic metadata carries scene-by-scene (or frame-by-frame) instructions from content creators on how a TV should present the images to improve everything from brightness to contrast, detailing and colour reproduction.