The lights are on
Yes. I used the word "missing" in the headline. As you may have already heard, the Xbox One will not come with a packed-in headset. Sure, the flimsy headsets that came with the Xbox 360 since launch weren't masterpieces of design, but they got the job done.
Given the change in how headsets will connect to the Xbox One controller (and the likely obsolescence of current headsets both inexpensive and opulent), one would assume that the peripheral would be in the box. That's just not so, as we revealed in this month's issue.
Instead, Microsoft claims that the Kinect's microphones will be just fine for chat purposes. Apparently, the Microsoft spokesperson who issued that statement to Ars Technica doesn't have children and has never been in a multiplayer game with someone who leaves a microphone open.
It pains me that, as of now, my Astro A50s and my older A40s and mixamp will only work for game audio (and not chat). After dropping $500 on an Xbox One, I'm going to need the least-expensive option. If the price of the Xbox 360 headsets are any indication, that will be $19.99 for a flimsy piece of plastic.
I'll spend that money, because I don't want to subject my multiplayer partners to barking dogs and loud children. I'll spend that money because I don't want my children to walk by my office and hear profanity spewing out of the mouths of people on the other side of the country.
I shouldn't have to make that expenditure, though. Microsoft continues to push its digital agenda, touting the "infinite power of the cloud" and feeling confident that people will flock online. Leaving the headset out of the equation inflates the cost of ownership, a comparison point Microsoft is already losing. More importantly, the company is making a clear statement that connecting users to services, and not each other, is the primary goal of its digital strategy.