Microsoft is 'looking into' adding headset to Xbox One bundle

Earlier this month, there were rumors that Microsoft was going to add a headset to all of their Xbox One bundles, but that rumor was quickly discounted by the company. Now the head of product planning for the Xbox division hints that Microsoft could change their minds on this issue.

Microsoft's Albert Penello was asked a question on his Twitter account Monday about possibly adding the headset to the Xbox One, with that person saying they didn't want to hear kids screaming on their TV speakers. Penello's response on Twitter was short but interesting: "We've heard the feedback. Looking into it."

If Microsoft does indeed add a headset to all Xbox One bundles, it would represent yet another 180 in the company's launch of its next generation console, following feedback from their customers. Previously, Microsoft has said they want the Kinect sensor to act as their main way for Xbox One owners to communicate with other people on Xbox Live.

Microsoft recently started taking pre-orders for their official Xbox One headset, which is now being sold for $24.99. A number of companies have also announced plans to launch their own headsets for the Xbox One, including Turtle Beach.

Source: Albert Penello on Twitter | Image via Microsoft

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This what Microsoft should do at launch:

Option 1: Console + 2 Controllers + Kinect
Option 2: Console + 1 Controller + Headset + Kinect

Simple.

Kinect and its ability isolate sounds is cool and all (especially when making commands when listening to loud music), but the headset allows you to communicate privately in that the sounds you receive are only being heard by you, not the entire room (although some people do like the voice chat sound to output on their TV speakers/sound system on the 360).

Good move if they do. Kinect may be an amazing piece of tech but i actually do prefer to have the voices right there in my ear as it's easier to distinguish them background booms.

Mikeffer said,
Good move if they do. Kinect may be an amazing piece of tech but i actually do prefer to have the voices right there in my ear as it's easier to distinguish them background booms.
Are you sure you don't also hear voices in your head telling you "MS is god, MS can do no wrong, it's all the customer's fault for not buying MS products", etc?

I agree that a headset is just going to be more reliable in all conditions for voice communication. Kinect may end up doing fine for many applications and users, but I personally like having that guaranteed reliability.

Regarding MS 'voices', I get a chuckle out of people trying to troll or start something. People go way too far.

startscreennope said,
Are you sure you don't also hear voices in your head telling you "MS is god, MS can do no wrong, it's all the customer's fault for not buying MS products", etc?

What the flip are you talking about?
I've stated plenty of times that i'm open to whichever console will be my next buy, it all depends on which one impresses me the most. Stating that i like the idea of MS including a headset makes me some sort of fan boy does it?

Keep trolling mate, keep trolling. It impresses no one.

A recent pew poll shows that more americans are concerned about privacy/NSA than terrorist attacks. This is a great time for Microsoft to release something that listens to everything you say, is always on, cannot be disabled, and sits in your living room.

greenwizard88 said,
A recent pew poll shows that more americans are concerned about privacy/NSA than terrorist attacks. This is a great time for Microsoft to release something that listens to everything you say, is always on, cannot be disabled, and sits in your living room.
What are you, some kind of tinfoil hat wearing lunatic? /shill

startscreennope said,
What are you, some kind of tinfoil hat wearing lunatic? /shill

Uhm no, a lot of people, many average Joe's are concerned about this PRISM scandal
This is very strong in the EU, and surely not just tinfoil hat hippies.
You have missed the protests in Germany? And this is probably just a start.

Um, it can be disabled. Kinect and all of its voice features can be turned off. Of course the easy thing to say is that MS are lying and will offer a fake setting to disable it, but the reality is that they would be in a lot of trouble for doing something like that.

Yes but this 'scandal' of every government in the world spying us everywhere, the idea of a (in their mind) so called disabled Kinect which can record your every move and sound in the (often) family room isn't helping.

Ain't talking about those a bit more knowledgeable about tech here. As for us its obvious, if they will be recording us, people will find it out. Especially considering the MS haters out there every bit and byte will be checked(like Vista time when Windows Customer Experience became default, haters claimed all the spying MS did and could never find a single trace of it in the bandwidth.)

People easily see it as a mandatory spying device, and if I look around... It is an active issue. The timing of MS is just horrible.

Its unfair to be honest. MS will just have to push through the bad pr and hammer home the point that its optional as often as they can. Dropping Kinect is an option, but that would be a huge waste. I would hate to see the tech abandoned for that reason.

trooper11 said,
My point is it can be disabled.

But the point you are missing is public perception. Doesn't matter if that's not how the Kinect will work; right now you have Microsoft's name tied up with the NSA.

I personally am not worried about all of that, but if you talked to the people I did each and every day... you might understand what I'm talking about. Already have had conversations about spying in regards to Google as it stands.

That's unfortunately evidence that many people simply don't care to know the truth and would prefer to take whatever is said via game news 'headlines' as the gospel.

Of course, I guess that isn't too shocking today. The question is how can MS combat that. If their own pr is not enough, that means its up to someone in the gaming media or community to get the real info out there.

They can add whatever. I don't pay 100$ more for an inferior, spying console. And I'm pretty sure the majority thinks alike and thus MS is trying to avoid the inevitable failure.

Just get the PS4 which already includes headset and you're done. MS is gonna make you pay for this headset eventually.

PC EliTiST said,
They can add whatever. I don't pay 100$ more for an inferior, spying console. And I'm pretty sure the majority thinks alike and thus MS is trying to avoid the inevitable failure.

Just get the PS4 which already includes headset and you're done. MS is gonna make you pay for this headset eventually.

I like how you say 'inevitable', and when that inevitability fails to materialise i hope you apologise.

The ps4 packed in headset is a joke honestly. Its an earbud for goodness sake. I know some don't mind that style, but its so uncomfortable to me for any long play session. It is also about as cheap as you can get. For me, the X1 headset actually looks more comfortable and better quality.

The reality is that anyone that is serious about a headset will buy a better third party model for either console, but if MS decides to bundle their headset, it will be clearly superior to the ps4 earbuds to me.

I'm not sure why you assume that. With the recent trend of positive news/announcements for the X1, I think we are looking at a launch that will be pretty crazy for both consoles competition wise.

PC EliTiST said,
They can add whatever. I don't pay 100$ more for an inferior, spying console. And I'm pretty sure the majority thinks alike and thus MS is trying to avoid the inevitable failure.

Just get the PS4 which already includes headset and you're done. MS is gonna make you pay for this headset eventually.

I suggest you recheck your facts. At the moment there are more pre-orders for X1 than PS4.

shinji257 said,
I suggest you recheck your facts. At the moment there are more pre-orders for X1 than PS4.
The facts we have regarding preorders are mainly Amazon sales charts, and those have been overwhelmingly in favor of the PS4. But I can already tell by your vague claim that doesn't mention any business reporting pre-orders this is a drive by misinfo.

trooper11 said,
I would be really wary of using pre-order numbers or Amazon chart numbers to engage in console war arguments
Those are the only reliable stats we have at the moment.

The problem is they aren't reliable. They haven't been reliable for any console comparison. I just think its silly to get all worked up and argue over the consoles this way.

If the Kinect microphone is up to the task then I dont see the point. But if that was the case then why did they make a headseat in the first place? If the kinect microphone isnt enough then hopefully they'll add it. One of the things that makes XBLive better is that most people have a headset and thus the place is more alive then on PC/PS3.

Ronnet said,
If the Kinect microphone is up to the task then I dont see the point. But if that was the case then why did they make a headseat in the first place? If the kinect microphone isnt enough then hopefully they'll add it. One of the things that makes XBLive better is that most people have a headset and thus the place is more alive then on PC/PS3.

It can do a decent job but it's never going to be as good as a headset. Playing voice and game sounds through the same speakers will just not work as nicely as voice through a headset. It just won't.

Ronnet said,
If the Kinect microphone is up to the task then I dont see the point. But if that was the case then why did they make a headseat in the first place? If the kinect microphone isnt enough then hopefully they'll add it. One of the things that makes XBLive better is that most people have a headset and thus the place is more alive then on PC/PS3.

Some people like the privacy of being the only one listening to their friends, so a headset makes sense. The Kinect is not able to channel sound into a person's ear, but will (apparently) work well to isolate a person's voice when communicating and making commands. I am looking forward to seeing this in action.

Could be a necessity rather than listening to consumer feedback after they actually starting thinking about real world situations. Sure Kinect would be fine for Skype and commands but actual multi player gaming, I think it would run into simple problems like wanting to hear through a headset rather than the TV and not having to shout at your TV.

I don't know why you assume otherwise, but MS does in fact listen to feedback and even incorporate changes based on that.

Argue that they don't follow ALL feedback all you want, but they clearly listen as much as any other company.

eilegz said,
now unbundle kinect and lower the price and they will mantain US market at least...

Give. It. Up.
Removing the Kinect is NEVER going to happen.

"Removing the Kinect is NEVER going to happen."

I will say I agree w/ this b/c they want devs to use the Kinect. BUT, MS has Reversed their policies so many times, I think if enough people bitched about the Kinect, they would offer the Xbox w/o it. Kind of funny how this comment is being added to a post about ANOTHER reversal in policy (if it becomes true that they add a headset).

ahhell said,

Give. It. Up.
Removing the Kinect is NEVER going to happen.
You do realize the people telling MS to unbundle kinect and fix the Win 8 start screen want to see the company succeed, while zealots like yourself are encouraging the company to go bankrupt?

startscreennope said,
You do realize the people telling MS to unbundle kinect and fix the Win 8 start screen want to see the company succeed, while zealots like yourself are encouraging the company to go bankrupt?

Just shush. One person knows what they want; people don't. Unfortunately Microsoft listens to people; not a person. We had a bunch of people asking for DRM to be removed. When Microsoft conceded and took it out (along with region locking... yay!) now people want it back. I can go with the headset being included but we will probably never see the Kinect go away.

I'm not looking for Microsoft to go bankrupt. I'm just looking for Microsoft to make the right choices to benefit the audience they are targeting. The device is being advertised as an entertainment unit; not a game console.

I agree to a certain point, but the problem is there is no central authority on what would be best for MS. Removing Kinect would be welcome by some, but not all. Plus, then the argument would be that the X1 is just a ps4 clone, having less to set it apart.

I just think its unfair to claim the high ground on this point. Kinect in or out has its share of downsides.

Leaving it in will be fine if MS can grow the games library imo.

ahhell said,

Give. It. Up.
Removing the Kinect is NEVER going to happen.

why not? after E3 i could said that anything could happen, and microsoft if they want to mantain its position changes will be needed and gamers in general dont care about kinect.

There are too many cons by having kinect forced there, from the high price, privacy issues and games that take advantage of that gimmick iits just not worth it

Having an option its always the best thing, they dont need to get rid of kinect they just unbundle it make it optional so people that want it could get it i dont see any inconvinience.

Unbundle kinect its a good thing and im hopeful that microsoft do it

greensabath said,
"Removing the Kinect is NEVER going to happen."

I will say I agree w/ this b/c they want devs to use the Kinect. BUT, MS has Reversed their policies so many times, I think if enough people bitched about the Kinect, they would offer the Xbox w/o it. Kind of funny how this comment is being added to a post about ANOTHER reversal in policy (if it becomes true that they add a headset).

Including the headset hits their cost structure. Removing the Kinect changes their entire release dynamic: developers no longer have the same number of customers facing their products. Having it as only an optional accessory guarantees that it will remain a gimmick.

And, possibly most importantly, Microsoft has already dedicated hardware assets to the Kinect (e.g., RAM and CPU). They cannot take those back now because games close to launch depend on them; they're set.

Technically, they could launch an Xbox One without the Kinect and simply leave those system resources untapped. However, the users that honestly won't buy the Xbox One because of the Kinect, which can be turned off, is unlikely to be a meaningful number to Microsoft.

After all, it seems obvious that Microsoft has plans to push an app store onto the Xbox One, and providing the capability to use the Kinect to control those apps seems logical. "Xbox, Set Nest to 72 degrees" sounds like a pretty neat and useful function for a wired house like mine.

trooper11 said,
the problem is there is no central authority on what would be best for MS

You nailed it. MS doesn't have a true vision that they stick to, and their customers realize it. There is probably no other technology company as uncertain as MS.

Actually I was referring to posters on the net, we all seem to be 'experts' on what MS should do.

I'm not really sure why you think MS doesn't have a vision though. If you read up on all the stories lately, I think its clear MS' vision is a unified ui and platform infrastructure across all of their devices. That means a common app model and more common features. That's not easy to do though, so its not shocking that it doesn't happen overnight.

RommelS said,
Sorry, but all that technologies for an additional $100, I will pay for it.

*scratches head* Their current model allows you to do this already, except that you have the choice...

dead.cell said,
*scratches head* Their current model allows you to do this already, except that you have the choice...
His point is that it's worth the $100 to him, and apparently the lack of choice.

I tend to agree actually. If the choice was offered, then the Kinect 2.0 would remain a gimmick on the Xbox One exactly like the original Kinect. By requiring it, developers can accurately assume that the device exists with the console and add features for it.

I am most keen on apps existing that use the Kinect to do stuff within the house.

dead.cell said,

*scratches head* Their current model allows you to do this already, except that you have the choice...

*also shakes and scratches head + palm to the forehead because +dead.cell didn't think of the following*
can 360 accept HDMI input?
can 360 play Blu-ray?
can 360 support 4K resolution?
can you easily switch between movies, games, live TV, and music with the 360?
can the 360 switch channel by just calling out the channel name?
can the current Kinect track your heart rate? Will be awesome for new fitness games
the new Kinect tracks more points in your body for better tracking and movement
the new Kinect can see you in the dark
the new Kinect has better resolution for its camera and has a wider field of view
can you watch movie or live TV and Skype with 360 or watch and surf with the 360?(pinning apps)
Did I miss anything else?

Oh yeah, what $100 more can do.

Edited by RommelS, Jul 31 2013, 6:34pm :

pickypg said,
His point is that it's worth the $100 to him, and apparently the lack of choice.

I tend to agree actually. If the choice was offered, then the Kinect 2.0 would remain a gimmick on the Xbox One exactly like the original Kinect. By requiring it, developers can accurately assume that the device exists with the console and add features for it.

I am most keen on apps existing that use the Kinect to do stuff within the house.

Yeah, and we'll have to see if it really plays out to their benefit. Ultimately, the ball is in the developers court now really.

And thanks RommelS for missing the point and stating the obvious.

dead.cell said,

Yeah, and we'll have to see if it really plays out to their benefit. Ultimately, the ball is in the developers court now really.

And thanks RommelS for missing the point and stating the obvious.

Ahh ...apparently, you Sir are the one that missed the point since you didn't figure out what I said in the first place. So yeah, I have to state the obvious to you just to make sure.

I think it's great that Microsoft may be rethinking bundling a headset. It is/was a serious misstep to not include one and rely on the Kinect's mic.

spacer said,
I think it's great that Microsoft may be rethinking bundling a headset. It is/was a serious misstep to not include one and rely on the Kinect's mic.

Agreed, even though the Kinect has outstanding voice input... I still prefer a headset

I would say I wouldn't have a problem with the mic being on the kinect per-say. I have a bigger issue though with my friends voices coming through my surround sound along w/ the game's audio.

Personally, I think they should reward everyone who got a Day 1 edition and possibly pre-ordered an XBox One with a free headset and 6 months of XBox Live. It would easily offset the price difference between it and the PS4, and reward those who are loyal to the MS ecosystem. I also hope they bring back the Chat Pad since I don't want to have to repeat myself 3 time to get my text message input right.

Drewidian said,
I also hope they bring back the Chat Pad since I don't want to have to repeat myself 3 time to get my text message input right.
I never got into the Chat Pad on the 360, but I kind of wish that I had. With that said, I hope that they are smart enough to integrate the Bing Voice to Text service into the Xbox One for that exact purpose, as that works quite well on my Windows Phone.

I can understand hardware (headset) costing them more money in adding it. Granted, the $25 retail cost is complete rip-off, it should be more like $5. But I totally agree w/ them giving 6-months (or even a full year) of Xbox Live to quiet the cost-conscious people. They aren't really 'losing' any money that way. I feel they will actually make more money with EVERYONE having Gold (at least for the first year) and buying Digital content/games.

greensabath said,
I feel they will actually make more money with EVERYONE having Gold (at least for the first year) and buying Digital content/games.
I bet you're right. Particularly early adopters, like myself, that would use the free Gold membership (or extension, as the case may be) to justify spending money on digital content.

They seem to be desperate. This competition between PS4 and Xbox One looks tight , rumors saying that people aren't that interested in Microsoft's device. After the RAM management competition and many other features "added" in the last few months people are still waiting for a solid platform. Before releasing testosteron trough the keyboard , the text above was a simple opinion.

deadheadline said,
They seem to be desperate. This competition between PS4 and Xbox One looks tight , rumors saying that people aren't that interested in Microsoft's device. After the RAM management competition and many other features "added" in the last few months people are still waiting for a solid platform. Before releasing testosteron trough the keyboard , the text above was a simple opinion.
What RAM management competition are you referencing? The 4.5 GB versus 5 GB given to games via the console's OS? If so, then that was more of a revelation than a real competition considering that those numbers were likely solidified before those consoles were officially announced. As for the rumors, it's never a good idea to depend on sales rumors before an actual launch because it's either from the competition or the seller, and neither are trusted.

deadheadline said,
They seem to be desperate. This competition between PS4 and Xbox One looks tight , rumors saying that people aren't that interested in Microsoft's device. After the RAM management competition and many other features "added" in the last few months people are still waiting for a solid platform. Before releasing testosteron trough the keyboard , the text above was a simple opinion.

What you see as desperate I see as a company listening to feedback from their customers and making the platform more enticing. I mean really, MS does something people don't like so they say they aren't going to buy it. MS changes these policies to appease these people and they then say MS is desperate. I thought the goal of being a vocal consumer is to encourage this type of response from a company?

Microsoft is being a bunch of fools with the XB1. Kinect as the main way to communicate is just terrible. Even if they have awesome noise cancelling, it doesn't solve the issue of the voice being mixed in and lost with all the other sounds coming from the same speakers, especially if they're terrible built-in TV speakers that most people use. The headset solves noise coming into the mic by making the mic less sensitive and closer to your mouth and by playing the voice right into your ear.

If you properly calibrate your Kinect, that is to run the Audio configuration, the Kinect does a fantastic job of cancelling any unwanted sound emitted by the device speakers. And that is whatever the speakers quality.

TheCyberKnight said,
If you properly calibrate your Kinect, that is to run the Audio configuration, the Kinect does a fantastic job of cancelling any unwanted sound emitted by the device speakers. And that is whatever the speakers quality.

Right. As I said, even if they have awesome noise cancelling it STILL doesn't solve the issue that its hard to hear people's voices when they get mixed in and confused with all the noise the games make. And it's especially hard if the speakers are of low quality. If I'm playing Halo or CoD and someone is talking and there are explosions happening then it's just hard to hear them talking. They can fix this by automatically turn down the game volume when someone is talking but that is annoying. The headset solves all of these issues and will do a better job at noise cancellation.