At their best, such features can produce a much richer virtual sound stage. Users may be familiar with the technique from recent titles like Metro: Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Essentially, it means the audio will adjust better as your character turns in game. Turn ninety degrees from a speaking character and they’ll be speaking in your right ear, for example. Do a 180 and you’ll hear them faintly behind you. The same applies in other directions, creating a generally ‘fuller’ audio experience.
Currently, the Xbox One only supports this feature if you’re using headphones or a home cinema setup. However, Microsoft announced that this will soon include regular old TV speakers.
Details are Sparse
According to Forbes, this would work similar to the implementation on PC, where users can use spatial audio on laptop speakers. However, the exact details of the implementation are still being kept under wraps.
Microsoft representatives didn’t reveal which of the Xbox’s APIs would get TV speaker support. This means it could be Windows Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, or DTS:X, which each have varying degrees of quality and developer support.
Still, the company reportedly has internal demos up and running, so it might not be too long until it’s in our hands. The quality of the actual audio is another story, which you can expect to vary wildly depending on the speakers in your unit.
In fact, some users may prefer Stereo audio over spatial audio regardless. The feature is still just emulating surround and can feel slightly odd to some.