The next generation of consoles is due to come out this year, and both Sony and Microsoft are sharing the new and improved specs of their respective systems. Microsoft has already made a big deal about the Xbox Series X's improved graphics and backward compatibility, but the new Xbox is also improving on an often forgotten area: audio.

The Xbox Series X will feature dedicated audio hardware-acceleration, which will help make the next-generation of video games feel all the more immersive. This dedicated audio hardware will be discussed further during Microsoft's upcoming GDC 2020 session, which will be held on March 18th.

The GDC 2020 presentation will focus on audio design and the new Xbox's hardware, specifically how audio hardware-acceleration will improve the spatial sound. Microsoft's senior technical audio specialist Robert Ridihalgh will be present for the event, as will the audio designers of Borderlands 3 and Gears 5. The description of the GDC 2020 presentation also mentions that this "revolution with spatial sound" was made possible thanks to a collaboration between Microsoft and Dolby, the company that specializes in audio noise reduction and compression. It will be interesting to see how the Xbox Series X's bold marketing strategy advertises this feature.

Of course, Microsoft isn't the only one improving the audio of their consoles. Lead designer Mark Cerny has confirmed that the PlayStation 5 will feature a custom unit for 3D audio integration. Cerny mentioned that it had been frustrating to see how little the audio changed between the PlayStation 3 and 4, and that the goal with the PS5 is to "show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it." Seeing how both next-gen consoles are focusing on immersive sound, it will be interesting to see how audio production of next-gen games like Outriders changes to match this new hardware.

As impressive as all this new hardware is, it comes at a hefty price. Component shortages and an expensive bill of materials is pushing the price of the PlayStation 5 to more than $450 per unit. The Xbox Series X isn't looking much better, as many of the components the PS5 is running low on are the same ones Xbox needs. While Microsoft has yet to mention whether or not the shortage is affecting the Xbox Series X, but it will definitely have an effect on the next generation of consoles.

The Xbox Series X will launch later this year worldwide. A release date has yet to be officially announced.