Microsoft denies Xbox exclusivity deal with Dolby

Mike Wheatley

Contrary to reports earlier this week that claimed Microsoft had agreed a two-year deal to bring Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos exclusively to its Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, the company has come out to deny such an agreement exists.


Existence of the supposed exclusivity deal was “revealed” in a now-deleted blog post on Xbox Wire France. The revelation was quickly picked up by the media, which said the deal explains why consoles like the Sony PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch have yet to embrace either format.

But Microsoft has denied it. In a statement to the Verge this week, a company spokesperson explained that a blog post was “mistakenly published” by a local Xbox team and that it contained “inaccurate information” about the exclusivity of Dolby’s standards on the new Xbox consoles.

Compatibility with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos is a big deal for gamers that seek the most immersive experience possible. Dolby Vision is a high dynamic range format that enhances colours and contrast ratios for more realistic graphics, while Dolby Atmos is a surround sound format that makes audio more intense.

“There is no exclusivity agreement of either tech on Xbox,” the spokesperson told the Verge. “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.”

Dolby has also come out to deny the report, telling What Hi-Fi that its standards “are not console exclusive” and that it is looking forward to making them more widely available to gamers.

The denials will bring hope to PS5 and Nintendo fans that their new consoles could still get onboard and bring them a more immersive and realistic experience. But of course, neither company has yet said that it intends to do so.

The statements also seem to reduce the chances that Sony might instead look to implement the rival HDR10+ standard on the PS5. Earlier this week it was revealed that Samsung, which champions HDR10+ as a free and open alternative to Dolby Vision, has shown an interest in bringing it to the world of gaming. The company reportedly told a German blogger that it is working with developer studios to achieve this.

Sony has of course refused to adopt HDR10+ on its premium smart TVs, instead favouring Dolby Vision, so the chances of it bringing the standard to the PS5 were probably quite low anyway. More likely, Samsung is planning to bring HDR10+ to games on mobile devices instead, at least as a first step.

As for Dolby Vision on the Xbox, this currently remains exclusive to Xbox Insider Alpha members who are testing the feature to iron out any bugs ahead of a wider rollout that’s expected later in the year. The Xbox Series X and Series S both already support Dolby Atmos, and the PS5 has its own surround sound format called Tempest.