The PlayStation 5 finally had its coming-out party in the form of Sony's Road to PS5 event. And while the show had its ups and downs, Dolby Atmos has responded to Mark Cerny, lead architect for the PS4 and orator for part of the PS5 reveal, and his take on Dolby Atmos's technology.
There were certainly a lot of things to take away from Sony's Road to the PS5 show. The event itself was supposed to be designed for GDC, which had been postponed thanks to COVID-19. Much of the information was technology-based, and even overwhelming at times.
One of the focuses on the event was on the audio technology that the PS5 will be using. Mark Cerny described how PS5's new Tempest 3D Audio Engine was vastly more capable than other technologies on the market, and specifically, how it could handle much more than the small count of 32 objects at a time that Dolby Atmos can. Dolby Atmos took exception to this and responded:
"It is not correct that Dolby Atmos handles 32 objects maximum. As a technology, Dolby Atmos can support hundreds of objects simultaneously. Having said that, we refer to some advice from game developers who have already created content with Atmos support: objects are fantastic tools, but you should use them sparingly as regards their number in activity within the same scene. Too many moving objects can create a confusing sound environment."
It will be interesting to see if Sony, or Mark Cerny himself, responds to Dolby Atmos. Sony has already had to clarify one of its statements from the Road to PS5 event. In the event itself, Sony mentioned that the PS5 would only support 100 of the most popular PS4 games at launch. Later in a blog update, Sony stated that "we believe the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5." It seems like either information from the event was false, or Sony is betting on itself that it will have those 4,000 titles thanks to some backlash it received from fans.
PlayStation has been on a nearly-flawless run, thanks to the success of the PS4. But in many ways, the PS5 is at a staggering disadvantage to the Xbox Series X in terms of technology. Sony's Road to PS5 event was entirely focused on technology, and if that technology is also lacking, when in comparison to the competition, that's not the greatest look. Some may wonder if sprinkling in a game or two would have helped, even though this event was originally planned for GDC.
Still, many believe that specs are not a deal-breaker for the PS5. In the end, it may come down to games, and even services. The PlayStation has had oodles of exclusives over the years, and that may be what has propelled it to success. Meanwhile, the Xbox has built up its catalog of exclusive developers over time, perhaps for a knockout punch with the launch of the more powerful Xbox Series X. Additionally, as Xbox was lagging in terms of sales and success, it was continuing to build up in terms of services and technology, like Xbox Game Pass and the upcoming Project xCloud.
New console generations are often a time for a reset of the market. It will be intriguing to see which side gathers momentum and perhaps takes the throne moving forward.