Microsoft announced last September that its new Xbox Series X and S consoles would be getting in-game support for the premium Dolby Vision high dynamic range format at some point in 2021. Now it’s been confirmed that the company is already making good on that promise.
Xbox Series X and S owners in the consoles’ Alpha testing ring have reported that following the latest update (numbered 2104) sent to their consoles, some Series S/X games have been playing in Dolby Vision on compatible TVs.
I checked in with Microsoft after a few excited Series X/S Alpha Ring testers (including Twitter user @jujackson79, who also provided other useful information for this article) started posting on social media about what they were seeing on their Dolby Vision TVs, and the company confirmed the development with the following statement:
“As we announced last year, we’re excited to be bringing Dolby Vision support for gaming to our new Xbox consoles in 2021. The feature is currently in testing and we’ll have more to announce on general availability timing and functionality soon.”
Dolby Vision support is now appearing on some Xbox Series X and S titles for members of Microsoft’s … [+]
Alpha Ring users are reporting that Dolby Vision currently seems to be supported by four triple AAA titles: Borderlands 3, Gears 5, Wreckfest and the Halo Master Chief Collection.
Given that Dolby Vision apparently needs to be baked into a title’s code, rather than being something the console can just add to every game you play, I think having four high profile titles supporting it at launch is pretty encouraging. Certainly you’ve got to hope that the upcoming Halo Infinite will get Dolby Vision support if the now ageing Halo MCC is running it, and experience suggests that Microsoft is always keen to ensure that every Gears title pushes the technical envelope.
Initial reports from Alpha Ring gamers suggest that the brightness, black levels and color saturations of Dolby Vision games all appear more refined than they do in their original HDR10 forms. This is as I would expect based on the impact Dolby Vision (which, among other things, adds extra information to the HDR stream to help compatible TVs deliver more precise and dynamic images) has on video sources.
Microsoft can’t currently confirm when the Dolby Vision gaming update will roll out to all Xbox Series X/S consoles; the final release date will depend, after all, on how many potential issues with it are discovered during the current public testing phase. But you’ve got to be thinking now that it will arrive for all in the first half of 2021.
Dolby Vision can provide more color precision and enhanced brightness and contrast with compatible … [+]
The timing of Dolby Vision’s arrival on Microsoft’s latest consoles couldn’t be better for official EMEA Xbox Series X TV partner LG, which has just started releasing its 2021 Dolby Vision-capable OLED TVs (my review of the OLED65G1 can be found here). Though by the same token it provides another reminder that Microsoft’s Xbox Series X TV partner for the US and Canada, Samsung, does not support Dolby Vision on any of its TVs.
Look out for more from me on Dolby Vision Series X/S gaming in the coming weeks.
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I’ve spent the past 25 years writing about the world of home entertainment technology–first at Home Cinema Choice magazine, where I became Deputy Editor, and for the