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Xbox One adds dimensions to its sound with Dolby Atmos

Starting next year, Xbox One and Windows 10 will use the new surround sound standard to help immerse you in digital worlds.


A promo image from Blizzard's Overwatch.


If a slobbering creature makes a noise somewhere behind you, you'd probably like to know exactly where that noise is coming from.

That's the idea of Dolby Atmos. It's a relatively new surround sound standard that doesn't just pump out sound, but uses speaker placement to precisely place certain noises. It even simulates overhead effects. Many movie theaters have adopted Atmos and starting next year, it's coming to Xbox One and Windows 10.

The Xbox One and Windows 10 integration will work with any headphones as well as compatible speaker systems or soundbars, Microsoft revealed in a blog post Wednesday. It'll also work with Xbox's Blu-ray player. You'll need a movie that features Atmos sound. There's only a couple hundred so far, but that list is growing. Check out this article for more details on how exactly Dolby Atmos works.

It's unclear which games will support the sound standard. Star Wars Battlefront already has Atmos support on PC, and the Xbox announcement prominently features Overwatch, the competitive shooter from Blizzard.

Hopefully, there'll be more compatible games by the time Atmos launches on Xbox One next year. That said, if a pair of nice headphones will work, I'd be excited to see if Dolby Atmos could actually help me die a little less in Overwatch matches.