According to an unpacking video and corresponding blog posted on Xbox Wire today, all units of the Xbox One will be boxed with an Xbox One Chat Headset. This announcement runs contrary to previous reports that the official Xbox headset would be sold separately.
The headset will have a bendable microphone and one speaker designed to fit over either ear. Despite having triple the audio sampling quality as the Xbox 360, the Xbox One’s headset weighs in at a measly 44 grams. Chat should be more comfortable than ever too as volume and mute functions can be adjusted where the controller plugs into the headset.
The integrated battery compartment has been set flush with the back of the Xbox One controller. AA batteries or the Xbox One Play and Charge Kit will be needed for wireless play. For wired play, a micro-USB cable connects the controller directly with no batteries necessary.
Microsoft’s backtracking on the inclusion of a headset is hardly a surprise. After several months of being criticized for anti-consumer policies, they’ve been consistently trying to shed that reputation with several consecutive moves that show they’re paying attention.
All that being said, I’m not quite ready to sing their praises as a consumer-friendly altruistic corporation just yet. At this point, it seems like their previous announcements were designed to see what they could get away with. This level of pragmatism in the face of gamer unrest (the worst kind) shows a brand concerned with its image and – more importantly – its bottom line.
The Xbox One Chat Headset may not seem like that big of a deal, but it’s further evidence of an on-going trend of Xbox promptly changing course in response to competition. That’s good news for people looking toward the next generation in console gaming. It does make me wonder: If people are vocal enough about the Xbox Live Gold paywall, will it be next to fall?