The lights are on
In this month's issue, we revealed that the Xbox One won't come with a headset packed in. This news caught a second burst of attention this week, so we decided to catch up with one of gaming's premiere headset manufacturers to see how they are approaching next generation consoles.
We spoke with Aron Drayer, director of marketing for high end gaming gear manufacturer Astro, about his company's plans for the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. A lot of talk about voice chat on Microsoft's new console has been brewing, and our readers that use premium (expensive) headsets have expressed concern about how their devices will work in the next generation.
"Microsoft is pushing ahead with new technology that will change how things work," Drayer told us. "Everybody got locked out of Xbox One. For instance, the Madcatz guys make some great fighting sticks for the Xbox 360. Those aren't going to work with your Xbox One. It's the nature of moving from one platform to another."
Unfortunately, this is the exact same thing we've been hearing from Microsoft about chat. The company reiterated to us today that "Only Xbox One controllers and accessories will work with the new console."
You still can output game audio through Astro Gaming's mixamps and A50 transmitter. "You will definitely not be able to do voice chat," Drayer confirmed. This means that an adapter for existing devices simply won't work.
"Based on what Microsoft is doing, that's not what they want to allow anyone in the peripheral space to do," Drayer explained. "Everybody is introducing new products, because the experience that Microsoft is developing on the Xbox One demands a different type of solution. We love what they are doing, and it's super progressive, and we're really excited to potentially partner with them."
Astro is currently seeking a license to develop on the Xbox One and is confident they'll be brought on sometime in the near future. This also likely means that the company will have to break from its universal approach. "I definitely think it's going to demand developing a specific product for Xbox One," Drayer speculated.
In all likelihood existing headsets with a 3.5mm connection (like the A30 and A40) will continue to operate and the new tech will be incorporated into a new mixamp or similar product. However, Astro is biding its time and waiting to hear from the competitive gaming community, its original audience, what features are required. From there, Astro will let those sensibilities "bleed down to the hardcore."
Drayer speculates that, because we aren't hearing about the same type of licensing and new products for the PlayStation 4 that Sony is aiming for the status quo. "Based on what we've heard (and a lack hearing from anybody else), our assumption is that things are very likely going to work as they do today," he told us.
This means that chat output via USB will likely be consistent from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 4. We've reached out to Sony for details, but at the time of publication are still awaiting response.
As for the overall market, Drayer remains positive despite a weakening of the video game sector. "We're selling more product right now than we did at this time last year," he shared. "The softness of the industry has an affect on us, too, but we're really happy where we are given that it's a transition year."
Even though he doesn't expect things to turn around in the console market until Christmas 2014, he revealed some good news about other segments. "We'll have some stuff in-between in spaces where we see high growth," Drayer said. "One is the PC pro space, like League of Legends and Starcraft II and the live streaming behind that. The mobile gaming space is really interesting, too. A transition year in one space doesn't necessarily mean that PC and mobile are slowing down. They're growing super rapidly."
Since publication, Microsoft has provided Game Informer with an updated statement on headset compatibility. You can read that story here.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
Why do people act like these mics won't work anymore. They will still work on your 360 or whatever you currently own just fine, I assume most of you weren't getting a X1 anyways. Microsoft actually claims that the Kinect will be advanced enough to distinguish between chat and background noise. Hey it's cool if you don't believe them, but you have to remember that Sony is no more trustworthy than MS so why believe their lies and not MS huh huh huh? That's right, neither console is out yet so all we can go by is a companies claims from both sides.
Good one GI...you just keep TROLLING TROLLING TROLLING TROLLING!!!
Get over it man!! if a MIC is that serious to you get job!! Get off the headset subject!! Give us some gaming news!! Jeesh, gaming is not a cheap hobby, if it's that big of a deal to you buy a *** PS4 and get of MS nuts!! Now any updates of Battlefield 4?,Killer Instinct?,Infamous? The south park game? No? The please stop writing these *** "articles" about petty *** or start saving now and buy a headset and now your little dreams wont be crushed. :)
Take a look at the link below, that's the piece of *** everyone is making a big fuss about LOL!!! And ppl talk *** about the 360 headset lol, good GI well played sir.
Why all the fuss with the headsets. Everyone is going to end up buying third party. weather it be on the ps4 or xbox180. xbox180 users will use the kinect until they have recouped from their 500 dollar investment and the ps4 users will most likely spend another 100 on a nice headset or use one they already have.
Overpriced headsets for an overpriced system. Nice one.
I LOVE YOU XBOX!!!!
I have never had any need for a headset. I play with surround sound.
So, someone help me out here. Headphone models that work with the current systems will be incompatible with the next gen systems. Did I follow that correctly?
Darn, sucks that thifs is a reality