PlayStation has recently released their first advert for PlayStation 5. The ad focuses on a raft of new features that promise to fundamentally change the gaming experience for the player. One of the features that caught my eye in particular was 3D audio, which PlayStation describes as enabling players to ‘see with sound’.
While, in the past, I haven’t quite bought into the use of 3D audio (or ‘8D music’ as the latest fad named it), the use of it in the context of PS5 finally feels like the tech is being used for a purpose and brings genuine value rather than just something ‘a bit cool’.
Previously, I dismissed 3D audio as it was being applied to situations/occasions/categories where there was simply no consumer need and therefore, no value. Consumers don’t need to listen to their music in 3D; it’s rare in this world of over stimulation that people just sit and listen intently to music on headphones without doing anything else, and this seemed to be the only way 3D music made sense. If you’re working at the same time or on the move I’d go as far as to say that it’s actually a bit distracting! 3D audio for the sake of it, in my opinion, is therefore likely to hit the same pile as 3D cinema experiences – a fun gimmick, a pat on the back for the clever R&D team but crucially, not to be repeated.
Now though, 3D audio in gaming is a totally different ball game. Immersion is the ultimate in this situation; the less connected you are to the outside world the better. Bingo – here is the consumer need and PlayStation 5 is set to deliver it. 3D audio will draw your senses deeper into the gameplay adding a unique aspect to your whole experience, taking you beyond the screen.
Add in the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers that are also on the roster for PlayStation 5 and I’m getting the impression that all of our senses are in for a treat when this next gen hits.