When next-gen consoles like the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PlayStation 5, headset developers are no doubt going to try and get as many of their newest devices into the hands of new console owners. Competition to claim the title of best Xbox headset in this space will be fierce, but for the consumer, that's a good thing since it will lead to innovation. Here are five of the new features and options we would love to see in the gaming headset market for next-gen consoles.
More industrial designs
Over time, gamers have largely moved away from the neon green and light gray plastics that define the gaming headsets of yesteryear. The vast majority of players now tend to prefer more industrial designs that feature neutral color schemes and metallic frames and accents. Not only are these new headsets more durable, but they're also simply less "loud." This matters a lot if you like to use your gaming headset for music while out and about; bright neon plastic will raise eyebrows, but gunmetal gray and metal parts will fit right in with what everyone else is rocking.
Thankfully, the industry has already started to lean into this philosophy. Turtle Beach, in particular, has been going with this new style for a few years, as headsets like the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas prove. Hopefully, things will continue to go in this direction as we enter the era of next-gen gaming.
Active noise canceling
While active noise canceling has become more of a common sight in the productivity and travel-focused side of the headphone market, there isn't a single gaming headset that has the feature right now. Some headsets use a form of noise cancellation for the microphone to ensure clearer audio input, but if you want something that will block out the sounds of the outside world, you're out of luck.
While it's true that developers have managed to make gaming headsets that isolate your ears from outside noises incredibly well, it still isn't perfect. Active noise cancellation would help immensely in scenarios where standard headsets can't block out all external audio.
Despite it being one of the most highly-requested features for smartphones, the latest Android and Apple devices often don't come with a 3.5mm audio jack. This makes it impossible for you to use your wired gaming headset for your phone, which is no doubt annoying to casual music listeners that want to avoid buying two pairs of headphones.
Wireless gaming headsets could solve this issue by being Bluetooth-compatible, but the unfortunate truth is that the vast majority of them currently are not. Right now, you can only use the LucidSound LS50X and the SteelSeries Arctis 9X for both gaming and mobile listening. As next-gen focused headsets emerge, it would be awesome if the wireless ones supported Bluetooth.
More Xbox and PC mixing options
The Astro A40 with MixAmp and the Astro A50's dock allow you to mix your Xbox game audio with PC chat programs like Discord by way of S/PDIF. These two devices are the only products on the entire market that offer this functionality, and it goes without saying that we want to see that change following the arrival of next-gen consoles.
The value of this function can't be overstated, especially in an age where streaming has become a dominant form of entertainment. Console streamers being able to utilize reliable PC chat platforms will save them a lot of headaches if they need to adjust their audio levels. In addition to that, regular players will have the ability to choose between Xbox Party Chat and PC chat programs. Not only does this provide you with a choice, but it also ensures that if one chat fails, the other will be there as a backup.
While traditional gaming headsets have unquestionably become the norm, there's still a place for monopiece devices at the table. If you have an elite external sound setup or you simply don't like having speakers right next to your ears, monopiece headsets like the LucidSound LS1X are your best option for a chat-only experience.
It would be fantastic to see more monopiece headset options emerge after next-gen consoles arrive, especially since putting together a quality home theater is more affordable than ever before. Some wireless ones would be sweet as well, as there currently are none available, and not everyone likes to use a wired connection.
What do you think? What are some of the things you want to see headset developers go for in the era of next-gen gaming? Let us know. If you're after the best Xbox headset around, make sure you check out our roundup of all the best options.
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