We’re all pumped for the Xbox One’s impending launch. We still don’t know exactly when the console will appear in stores other than the month of November. It must be getting close at any rate because Microsoft has just released an official unboxing video as well as three accessory-specific videos.
Normally I don’t care for unboxing videos, but this one is an exception. For one: it gives us a nice look at how the Xbox one’s components relate to each other in size, not to mention the ports on the back and side of the console. All good things.
The real news however is what comes inside the box. It’s got all the stuff we expected plus one item we didn’t… a Chat Headset! And the video reveals that the Chat Headset won’t just come with the “Day One Edition” of the console. It will be included with every system. That’s a victory for communication and teamwork in Xbox One games!
Communication is key
The headset’s inclusion is big news because Microsoft had originally announced that the Xbox One would launch without one. Their reasoning was that the Kinect’s microphone would allow voice communication, making a headset pack-in unnecessary.
This rubbed gamers the wrong way for multiple reasons:
- The original Kinect’s speakerphone-style communication picks up more background noise than a headset, resulting in inferior sound quality.
- The Playstation 4 costs $100 less than an Xbox One and includes a headset.
- Corded headsets cost Microsoft like a dollar to make (maybe two dollars this time due to the nice buttons) and yet add an immeasurable value to the online experience in games.
- The Xbox 360 launched with a bundled headset and created a standard that gamers expect Microsoft to live up to with subsequent consoles.
The ability to actually communicate with each other and strategize is paramount to the team-based or cooperative experience. Yes, a team of voiceless nobodies can still win a game, but they’re at a disadvantage compared to a talkative team.
Playing with somebody who can’t talk, you might as well be playing with a bot. Socializing is half the fun in multiplayer gaming. Plus everybody hates the guy with no headset, so you don’t want to be that guy.
Closer look at the Chat Headset
Now that we’ve established the importance of having a headset when playing online, let’s look at the packed-in Chat Headset itself. The new headset has mute and volume controls built right in at the case where it connects to the controller. This allows users to make adjustments without reaching away from the controller during gameplay. So did the original Xbox 360 headset before Microsoft switched designs. But the new volume controls actually look much more attractive and easy to use.
I’m not going to lie to you – headsets with thin cords like this one will undoubtedly have are just designed to break. The wires get bent around too much inside and break apart internally. But still, even a cheap headset’s inclusion sets the precedent that Microsoft wants online players talking to each other. And if your headset does give out, you can always replace it with the same model ($24.99) or a more durable one.
Xbox One Controller
Next up is a closer look at the Xbox One’s beautiful new controller. It closely resembles the old style but has at least three major improvements:
- The d-pad is a much more responsive and accurate design.
- The triggers have built-in vibration, independent from the main controller vibration.
- The analog sticks have been tweaked for comfort and responsiveness.
The Xbox One Controller will retail for $59.99.
Play and Charge Kit
Finally, the new Play And Charge Kit works much the same as the Xbox 360’s version. It’s a rechargeable battery pack that can be charged by plugging the controller into the console. The charging cord is 9 feet, and you can use the controller while charging.
The innovation on the new model is you can charge the battery pack outside of a controller. That should be handy for people who own more battery packs than they do controllers.
The Play and Charge Kit will sell for $24.99. It will also come bundled with a controller for $74.99, a $10 savings.