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Xbox One won't ship with headset


Xbox headset
Xbox One Chat Headset - not included

Just as Microsoft appeared to be clawing back a measure of favour with gamers, it has again risked their wrath by revealing that the Xbox One won't ship with an Xbox Live-ready headset.

In a statement to ArsTechnica, Microsoft confirmed that "Xbox One does not include a pack-in headset accessory." Rather, it points to the included Kinect 2.0 system as a way to chat in your multiplayer games.

Of course, this again raises the issue of the Xbox One's relatively high £429 launch price, which will have been nudged up by the inclusion of the aforementioned Kinect 2.0 image and voice-recognition system - something most hardcore gamers would happily swap for a lower price and a basic headset.

As Microsoft itself points out, there will be an official Xbox One headset (pictured) at launch, but you'll have to purchase this separately.

Interestingly, over on the official Xbox Wire web page Microsoft refers to in its statement, it calls the official Xbox One Chat Headset "a must-have for fans of online gaming" which has been "designed for long gaming sessions and clear voice chat."

All of which will only add further fuel to the fire on claims that Microsoft and its Xbox One console are no longer primarily concerned with games and gamers.

The current premium Xbox 360 ships with a gaming headset as standard, but of more interest is the fact that the Sony PS4 will come bundled with a mono gaming headset as standard. It will also, lest we forget, be £80 cheaper than the Xbox One.

Now read our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison to see how the two compare directly.

Jon Souter

June 26, 2013, 8:44 am

Interesting that TR jumps on the 'cheap' side of the fence when writing editorial about consoles, smartphones and tablets - yet has no problem identifying the 'value' of premium hifi gear, headphones, etc.

Is it trendy in journalistic circles to knock Apple (a long TR obsession) and Microsoft?

Having a Kinect shipped with every new XBox One will force developers to think very carefully about motion control in games, as the 'lowest common denominator argument' of previous generation peripherals goes away when motion control is ubiquitous, rather than seen as an optional extra taken up by a minority of console owners.

If Microsoft were to abandon shipping Kinect 2.0 as such an integral part of the platform, most developers will be lazy and focus purely on traditional controls and the medium of electronic entertainment will perhaps stagnate even more.

Motion control needs to become a more mainstream aspect of gaming, rather than something reserved for casual games - and many of us see Microsoft's approach as being perhaps the biggest driver towards this goal being realised.

With both Apple and Android platforms now in the process of gaining viable physical gaming controllers, consoles need to evolve as mobile platforms start encroaching on more hardcore gaming territory.

As for the headset - it's not entirely clear how important this will be just yet...the new Kinect device is said to include an array of mics which can be used for clever stuff like background noise filtering and directional sound location. It could even be that the best experience for chat will be via Kinect rather than via headset. After all, a one-eared headset effectively wipes out the player's ability to hear in stereo - hampering their ability to locate enemies through audio cues in FPS-type games.

I'm more interested in whether Microsoft will up-spec the new XBox hardware - 8GB Ram seems a little low when you factor in their new multi-operating system architecture. Also would it really hurt MS to match the DDR5 / GPU spec of the PS4?

A small loss on hardware revenue in the early life of the console seems like a lesser issue than losing the battle for the living room.


June 26, 2013, 2:35 pm

Personally I think TR is one of the few places you can receive balanced info on Apple products

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