Sound is 'cost-effective' driver of quality experience

Sound is 'cost-effective' driver of quality experience

By Craig Chapple in London

June 18th 2013 at 2:40PM

Historically audio hasn't been important for majority of developers, says Dolby evangelist

Good audio is a cost-effective driver of a game's quality of experience, says Dolby evangelist Jonathan Jowitt.

Speaking at a Microsoft Windows 8 developer event in London, Jowitt explained the importance of good sound in games to developers, and claimed that, at least historically, audio hasn't been important to developers.

He said that this was down to a number of reasons, such as the lack of time and resources dedicated to audio in games, specific knowledge of creating sound, and that other factors in game development can often take precedence over quality audio, rightly or wrongly.

Jowitt said however that neglecting audio would mean developers would have to put a lot more effort into visuals to get the same effect, as illustrated by the table below. (Dark blue represents visuals, light blue represents audio). He used the example of people being much more likely to put up with a poor quality image on a TV from a poor signal, than crackles in sound.

Jowitt also said that traditionally, when it came to the move into HD, the industry often pushed the HD visual messaging and how this affects graphics and rendering, rather than promoting the benefits and advancements of HD audio.

He went on to say that although audio had often been an afterthought for developers, and even big studios, this was now changing thanks to new devices and improvements in consumer awareness.

Jowitt highlighted research from Dolby that suggested gamers in particular "are keen to connect their devices to high quality playback systems".

"Over 50 per cent of the European market have their game consoles connected to surround sound or HD playback scenarios."

He added:"Efforts in HD audio not lost on these people."