Dolby Atmos and Vision are console-exclusive to Xbox for two years [Update]

Likely part of a marketing deal with Microsoft, Dolby has been touting Vision and Atmos support for Xbox Series X and S on its website for quite some time. The former technology offers visual fidelity claimed to be better than traditional HDR while the latter aims to provide an experience superior to traditional surround sound.

There has been no mention of similar support for PlayStation or Switch consoles, and it turns out that this is due to a console-exclusivity deal that Dolby has with Microsoft.

miscrosoft xbox series s and s

In a now-deleted post on the Xbox Wire France website spotted by Engadget, Microsoft boasted that it has exclusivity to both the technologies for two years. Indeed, Dolby Atmos has been supported on the current-gen Xbox consoles since launch whereas Microsoft also began testing Dolby Vision a couple of weeks ago.

As of now, you need to pay a $15 license to enjoy Dolby Atmos but if you purchase an Xbox Wireless Headset, you can unlock this access until September 30, 2021. Meanwhile, Dolby Vision is only supported on select displays.

While there is no word yet on the upcoming Nintendo Switch offering similar capabilities, it is important to note that even after the Microsoft-Dolby exclusivity deal expires, there is no guarantee that Sony will integrate both of the technologies with the PlayStation 5. This is because the console already utilizes Sony's proprietary Tempest 3D audio engine, which the company clearly invested a lot in.


Update: In a statement to Neowin, Microsoft has denied having such an exclusivity agreement in place, saying that:

A blog post was mistakenly published by a local Xbox team that included inaccurate information regarding exclusivity of Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision on Xbox Series X|S. There is no exclusivity agreement of either tech on Xbox. We are proud to partner with Dolby to offer Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision to gamers on Xbox and will have more to share about the general availability of Dolby Vision on Xbox Series X|S soon.

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