Dolby's Axon surround sound technology isn't exactly new (it's already used on a number of PC titles), but to date, it has yet to make a stand in the online console and Mac gaming sectors. All that changes today at GDC, with the aural company introducing an Axon software development kit that will make it possible for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and OS X titles to integrate the technology. According to the company, this here solution provides improved audio chain processing (noise suppression and echo suppression), surround sound voice chat over stereo headsets, 5.1 playback and support for any stereo headset. We're told that the ports should be available for devs starting in April, though only time will tell how long it takes for your Xbox Live experience to go from haunting to all-encompassing.
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Dolby Brings Surround Sound Voice Chat to Online Console Games

Dolby Axon surround sound voice technology to be available for

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 consoles, and Mac computers.


San Francisco, March 11, 2010-At this year's Game Developers Conference® (Booth BS506, Moscone South), Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) announced new tools that will soon make it possible for gamers to enjoy Dolby® Axon surround voice chat on more of their favorite gaming platform.

Dolby unveiled new software developer kit (SDK) ports that enable game developers to seamlessly integrate the Dolby Axon surround voice technology to Xbox® 360, PlayStation® 3 and Mac® OS X versions of multiplayer online game titles. General availability of these ports is planned for April 2010.

"The game development community responded very enthusiastically to Dolby Axon because it helps them to reimagine the humble voice chat feature into an engaging and dynamic element of game play," said Matt Tullis, Marketing Director, Games, Dolby Laboratories. "In addition to this, the ability to use surround sound voice and communication provides gamers with a competitive edge."

Already adopted for the PC market by several online games, including the most recently announced Dragon Nest® by Nexon Corp., as well as ZT Online (Giant Interactive), Mission Against Terror (Kingsoft) and Jumpgate Evolution® (NetDevil), the Dolby Axon SDK enables game developers to raise the online gaming experience to a new level through a number of innovative features:

* Realistic voice communication complete with surround panning and distance attenuation.
* Advanced occlusion engine that maps voices to the game environment.
* Voice fonts for added fun and improved role-playing.
* Proprietary audio technologies to deliver a clear voice experience.
* Flexible API for creative integration and game-play options.


By integrating Dolby Axon into online game titles, game developers can now provide gamers a new level of online gaming:

* Improved audio chain processing (noise suppression, echo suppression) for clear voice communication.
* Surround sound voice chat over stereo headsets, stereo speakers, and 5.1 playback systems to deliver deliver realistic and exciting game-communication with teammates.
* Compatibility with any stereo headset, enabling gamers to experience the clear, crisp voice quality without specialized equipment.


For Game Publishers:

Dolby Axon's advanced server mixing and networking technology-in combination with a proprietary Dolby codec-make it possible for game publishers to support thousands of users per server and scale seamlessly across servers to support extremely large virtual worlds. Moreover, Dolby Axon achieves these results at very low bandwidths-as low as 16 kbps per player for complex surround scenes.

Dolby Axon also offers game operators server and abuse monitoring tools to make operating voice servers easy, and its flexible hosting options mean that operators are free to select the setup that works best for their needs. Inquiries related to the Dolby Axon SDK should be forwarded to games@dolby.com.

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Dolby issues Axon SDK to bring surround sound to online console / Mac gamers