’Tis the season for bundles of joy and most importantly, gifts! If you’ve got gamers on your shopping list, the Dolby gaming group has some suggestions for games with outstanding soundtracks and high-performance headsets to help them hear all that great sound.

Immersive sound experiences

The majority of games take advantage of Dolby® Digital Live, which allows you to connect a PC or game console to your home theater and enjoy high-quality surround sound while you play. Here are some titles that take full advantage of the technology with innovative and dynamic soundtracks.

  • DestinyAn online first-person shooter game in a “mythic science fiction” setting, Destiny creates a dynamic sound experience. “If you’re walking around in a waste plant alone, you’ll get small atmospheric sounds, but the moment you get into combat, the music will begin to intensify and build tension,” says Michael Jessup, Senior Product Manager of Gaming at Dolby. Destiny is available on PlayStation®4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One™, and Xbox® 360. ($59.99 MSRP)*
  • Diablo IIIA must-have for classic PC gamers, Diablo III is an award-winning game that sucks you in with its soundtrack. “When playing Diablo, you get real powerful hits of sound whenever you punch a barrel or click on a portal,” Jessup says. Diablo III is available on PC and Mac® platforms, while Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. ($59.99 MSRP)*
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Grand Theft Auto V won the award for best soundtrack at the 2013 Spike VGX video game awards. “GTA5 revolutionized gaming sounds—the creators developed a mini-synthesizer in the game,” says Jessup. “With its own synthesizer, the game generates unique sounds rather than having 300 different preset motor or car engine sounds.” Grand Theft Auto V is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Xbox One; and it will be coming to PC on January 27, 2015. ($59.99 MSRP)*

*Price may vary by retailer or platform.

Numerous other games create an immersive sound experience, including first-person shooters, role-playing games, and horror games. Check the VGX page to see other games nominated for a soundtrack award.

High-performance headsets

Headsets can significantly enhance the gaming experience. Dolby Headphone, implemented in many headsets, gives you as many as 7.1 channels of virtual surround sound.

Here are some premium headsets for intense gamers who want to hear their games’ immersive soundtracks at their best:

  • Astro A50 Wireless Headset: Tuned with Astro Audio, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Headphone, Astro A50 is an adjustable and lightweight wireless headset. Compatible with Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC, and Mac. (Price: $299.95)
  • Steel Series H Wireless Headset: With Dolby Digital and Dolby Headphone, this headset has next-generation speaker drivers for rich sound and low-frequency punch. Compatible with Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3™, PS4™. (Price: $299.95)
  • Turtle Beach® Z300: This high-performance wireless headset is tuned with Dolby Digital. With the Z300, you can simultaneously play games and take phone calls via Bluetooth®. Compatible with PC and mobile (Bluetooth). (Price: $175.95)

Looking for a midprice headset with excellent surround sound? Consider these options:

  • Plantronics® RIG Surround: With a Dolby Headphone setup, the RIG Surround has three EQ settings that improve voice clarity while intensifying bass and midrange sound without distortion. The headset has drivers based on Dolby Digital for use with your PC. Compatible with PC and mobile. (Price: $99.99)
  • Logitech® G35: Powered by Dolby Headphone, G35 delivers immersive Dolby Digital sound, which includes seven channels of audio data and thumping bass. In addition, the G35 has three programmable G-keys that give you control over in-game elements. Compatible with PC. (Price: $129.99)

Of course, these aren’t your only headset options. Manufacturers Sennheiser, Skullcandy®, Tritton® Mad Catz, Razer™, Corsair Gaming™, and Monoprice® all make excellent headsets using Dolby audio technologies.

Now, kick-start your holiday season with great-sounding console games, PC games and headsets for your family and friends! Happy holidays.