This paper presents a pilot experiment comparing the perceived spatial quality and preference of virtualized 7.0 surround-sound video game audio with a stereo down-mix of the same material. The benefits of multichannel audio in gaming are clear in that spatialized sound effects can be used to create immersive and dynamically reacting virtual environments, whilst also offering competitive advantages. However, results from this study suggest that the spatial quality of virtual 7.0 surround-sound is not perceived to be significantly different to that of a stereo down-mix and neither rendering method is preferred, based on a feedback from 18 participants. These results are interesting but surprising, as they bring into question the current methods used for spatial game audio presentation over headphones.
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