The Xbox Series X promises a wide range of new features. We already have speculations on how the new console might perform when it comes to graphics. But apart from this, Microsoft has confirmed that the new machine will support a dedicated audio chip as well. This new hardware upgrade supports numerous margin of features for sound engineers, one of them being audio ray tracing.
“It’s extremely exciting, 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.”
Microsoft’s emphasis on audio could be in response to Sony’s deal with Audiokinetic. Audiokinetic is famous for making the audio middleware used by most triple-A titles universally.
However, both upcoming game consoles will support 3D audio. 3D audio helps enables features like binaural rendering. This technique of audio simulation focuses on carrying sound from one ear to the other, creating a 3D audio surround effect. 3D audio will be best experienced on headphones with VR gaming where immersion of the virtual environment comes crucial
Other leaks confirmed that the Xbox Series X will be capable of supporting audio ray tracing. Like visual ray tracing, this is expensive in terms of power and is only possible with a hardware acceleration boost. This feature allows the audio to react to the in-game world in real-time by manipulating reverb effects changing from room to room depending on objects, doors etc.
Ninja Theory seems to be the most hyped for the upcoming support. Because of this feature, audio engineers will worry less about limitations. This will help overcome restrictions such as the limit of how many sounds and voices to use in their game. This restriction of number lowered the potential of console gaming as adding more sounds than the limit would affect the frame rate. Ninja Theory added.
“Making games always has you thinking about technical limitations,” further added, “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.”
Microsoft has announced many other features and is confirmed to launch Series X later this year. For now, everyone is waiting for E3 2020 where more details about the Xbox Series X will be revealed.