Unless you’re a proud owner of a core or arcade Xbox 360 SKU, when you purchased your console, it came with a headset. Made from that flimsy, alarmingly easy-to-break plastic, the headset has become a staple of the Xbox Live experience. It’s the reason I play my 360 online far more often than I do my PS3, because people are actually talking. Granted, half of them are spouting sexist or homophobic nonsense, but at least I feel like I’m playing with people.
Microsoft made a brilliant move by including a headset, no matter how cheap said headset is, with each console. Unfortunately, that brilliance is coming to an end this November, when the Xbox One ships, sans headset.
Their reasoning for this is, “Hey, we gave you a Kinect. That’s WAY better,” to which I’ll reply, “Fuck no, it isn’t.”
The Kinect is interesting. It’s powerful and I’m looking forward to seeing what developers do with it now that it’s been forced on them (and us). With that said, there isn’t a fiber of my being that’s interested in using my Kinect to chat with my friends online, nor am I terribly excited to hear all the room ambiance that is sure to come from every other person on Xbox Live.
That’s going to be horrible. I’ve unfriended people because they took a pee break during a Halo match, not because they left while our team was losing, but because they left their mic on. I can hear everything that goes on in that person’s house. Soon, we’ll all — or those of us who plan on buying an Xbox One, anyway — be forced to endure this extra noise.
On top of that is the fact that the headset jack in the Xbox One controller is proprietary, which means that headset you’ve been using won’t work here. So my fancy Astro A30 headset will become my headset for gaming on the PS4 and PC.
Granted, the Xbox One’s headset will be cheap and I’ll definitely get one, but the added hassle for your $499 console is a little annoying.
Oh, and the PlayStation 4? Totally comes with a mono headset and a standard headset jack.