With the growth of global loudness standards and regulations, audio loudness has lately been a hot topic in the broader video and media arenas.

It might not be as self-evident, but loudness management is also a key factor for game developers such as my company, Crytek – especially as consumers adopt the new generation of consoles that integrate games with other media sources such as broadcast TV, Blu-ray disks, and programs streamed from the Internet.

When viewers are switching back and forth between a game they’re playing and another video program, they expect the game’s audio levels to be compatible with the other media types.

It hasn’t always been this way. In fact, loudness for gaming has historically followed the approach of music and advertising production, as summed up in four words: the louder, the better. The emergence of digital television introduced an expanded aural dynamic range (over 100 dB), which has been pushed to its boundaries by producers who want to make sure their content is louder than their competitors’ – a situation affectionately known as the Loudness Wars.

Of course, from the consumer’s viewpoint louder is not better, and it’s one of the main reasons viewers reach for the remote when a commercial comes on.

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