Xbox One: Microsoft explains why it lacks a headset

Wednesday, 26 June 2013 08:33 GMT By Dave Cook

Xbox One consoles will not be bundled with headsets because it comes with Kinect, Microsoft has said. The company has issued a statement on the matter

If you missed the initial headset announcement, check it out here.

In a statement to Ars Technica, a Microsoft official said, “Xbox One does not include a pack-in headset accessory.

“Each Xbox One includes the new Kinect sensor, with a highly sensitive multi-array microphones designed to enable voice inputs and chat as a system-level capability, both in-game and with Skype and other experiences. For gamers who prefer a headset, we have a variety of offerings that you can find on the Xbox Wire.”

Sold separately, the Xbox One Chat Headset has not been priced, but it is confirmed as having mono sound, a directional mic, volume control and a mute button.

Kinect does have cameras sure, but it’s no use to people who want to play a shooter and who doesn’t want to have the sound of gunfire blaring across their home while their kids are trying to get some kip.

What do you think of this matter? Let us know below.

Thanks Eurogamer.


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    Kinect does have cameras sure, but it’s no use to people who want to play a shooter and who doesn’t want to have the sound of gunfire blaring across their home while their kids are trying to get some kip.

    You can’t hear game audio through the headset, anyway, so having one bundled with an X1 isn’t going to solve that problem.

    If you don’t want other people to hear you gaming, you need some proper gaming headphones, not some mono-speaker, single ear headset.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    That’s a piss poor reason.

    One of the best things about the 360 was that it came with a microphone. While I dislike trash-talking as much as the next guy, the silence on PS3 multiplayer is often deafening. This is just an excuse to get more money out of people.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. dravenkaze

    All about money, silly xboner fail again

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Elaniel

    Such a stupid excuse from them, and will be extremely annoying to play online with.

    There’s plenty of people that use Kinect now all you end up hearing is their music or others around their homes talking or shouting.

    Not to mention, when I played Mass Effect 3 with it, Kinect constantly picked up the TV as if it was my responses!

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Francis O

    There is a problem, the Kinect might be too far away from the user…and if you have a surround sound, it can interfere with your voice.

    Nintendo experienced the same problems with Wii Speak on the original Wii.

    What is cool about the Wii U Gamepad is that it has a Mic built in. So you can speak just like you have a headset, but not have to wear one.

    Developers can even program touch to speak controls for multiplayer games like Mass Effect 3 has on Wii U.

    Microsoft will probably include a bundle with a headset for more money.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Quige

    @1 – and I think they’ve already gone on record as saying that existing gaming headset/mic combos won’t work with the Xbox One. I share the living room of a night with my other half. She streams TV on her laptop, I play on the TV. The sounds of constant warfare and grunts and death screams of opponents gets a bit much for her, so I often play with the sound down and the game sound coming through my Turtle Beach X11s. I also don’t want the voices of the friends I’m playing with coming through the speakers. My impression is that they are going to be pretty strict with the licencing with companies to be allowed to make add ons. Yet another cost to add onto the already expensive Xbox One.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. redwood

    meanwhile in the sony camp!

    not many people know this but the ps4 will have a mono head-set free with it.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Bomba Luigi

    In the Past the biggest Part of Kinect always was Voice Command, for the Future it can be the Same. So Microsoft maybe don’t want People to ask the Question “Why can’t I do that with my Headset and need to have this Kinect thing for Voice Command?”

    I could never understand why all these Voice Command stuff needed Kinect.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. FeaturePreacher

    All it takes is poor pre-order sales for this to change as well.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. dravenkaze

    Yeah ^^ but as seen with xbone fans they are like zombies will just buy what xboner tells them to

    #10 2 years ago


    Yeah, I have X41s, and they don’t work with the X1, either, which isn’t exactly ideal.

    They’re already advertising gaming headphones on the X1 accessories page, but I’ve yet to see a 7.1 set. They’re all just stereo so far.

    The thought of having to buy a brand new 7.1 headset is pretty annoying, actually. That’s about another £200, right there…

    #11 2 years ago
  12. DrDamn

    +1. When I game online with a mic I want to be able to quickly and easily mute myself too, so I can have conversations outside the game. Kinect won’t easily allow for that. It wouldn’t be so bad if the controller a) supported old 360 headsets or b) supported standard headsets. Proprietary connector says no.

    Not only that but the WiiU does support standard 3.5mm headsets which you may already have.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. machy

    @1 did u know that DS4 support 3.5 mm ”stander” ?

    another cost adds up and i dont like yelling at my tv all day

    #13 2 years ago

    Having said all that, I’ve just looked at the accessories page, and seen a pair that seem like they might be 7.1.

    They connect directly to the controller, too, so not having to deal with all of the separate receiver and optical cable hassle seems cool.

    I’m sure the price will still be high, though.

    #14 2 years ago


    Yeah, I know that. A nice move by Sony, there.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Christopher Jack

    @14, They’re not Microsoft’s own, they’re just made specially for the Xbone/360 headset port & come with a premium for that on top.

    #16 2 years ago

    ^ I didn’t say that they were.

    Turtle Beach is a completely different company.

    PS4 will probably have TB headsets of its own, too.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DrDamn

    7.1 delivered from the X1 straight to the controller and then the headset? Nice. Though I have X41s and I quite like the set-up I have. All my consoles/boxes connected via HDMI to the TV. Optical out on TV to X41 box. X41 box powered by USB port on TV. Works nicely.

    #18 2 years ago

    ^ Yep. It looks like a direct connection to the controller without the receiver.

    However, that makes me think of an instant plus and minus point for it. Looks like it’s as easy as plugging the wire into the controller for full surround sound, but that would mean that you’d only be able to use them with the controller.

    So that cool setup you’ve got right now probably wouldn’t work…

    Swings and roundabouts…

    #19 2 years ago
  20. NiceFellow

    Sigh another slight annoyance. I’m not talking out aloud to my TV which is a fair bit away (and presumably where I’d have this version of Kinect) – guess if I decide to try the new Xbox I’m going to have to stump up for a headset.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. viralshag

    This is really poor. I have a Kinect but I *hate* trying to use it for communication. There’s nothing worse to me than hearing people chat through your TV with the sounds of the game going on too.

    I would eventually buy a wireless headset like I did with the 360 and PS3 but not to have something basic included like you got with every 360 is ridiculous.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Wolrosh

    I think this reasoning is acceptable . why include 2 microphones in one package?

    and for the people who compare kinect on X360 with the one coming on X1, I think they didnt actually understand the diffrence…

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Fin

    How expensive is a cheap headset anyway? £2? £3?
    Seems stingy on MS’s part. One of the great benefits of 360 was getting the headset in the box, meant everyone could chat to each other without forking out more.


    You have a source about direct connection to the controller on X1?

    #23 2 years ago
  24. viralshag

    @22, For the very simple fact that some people don’t even want to use Kinect and other don’t like talking at their TV.

    Like #23 said, it’s being stingy and that’s all. The original 360 wired mics weren’t amazing quality but they got the job done. As I’m sure I can’t use any 360 accessories it just means I have to re-buy all the things I actually want to use.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. SplatteredHouse

    I find it difficult to participate with games where you can’t separate the game audio and the chat (speakers/headset) so this is not good news for me, especially because…
    (@23 – sourced)

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Fin


    That says stereo audio from the controller, not full surround.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. redwood

    they should allow people to talk to kinect via their headphones.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. OrbitMonkey

    Can someone please go round to microsofts house & explain to them the number of ways a headset is better than the kinnect bar… Preferable with a cricket bat :(

    #28 2 years ago
  29. silkvg247

    Why would they bundle one when they can charge the consumers daft enough to buy an xbone for one separately?

    It’s probably for the best anyway, the one you got with the 360 was some 99p cheap crap jobby.

    #29 2 years ago


    Was in my original link:

    “the pair of XO Ear Force cans will be available at the console’s launch and feature 3.5mm jacks, detachable boom mics and deliver surround sound through wired connections to controller adapters.”

    #30 2 years ago
  31. DrDamn

    “3.5mm jacks … wired connections to controller adapters.”

    Sooo … doesn’t that mean you could get an adaptor and use current headsets? Might have to stack ‘em a bit current connector is 2.5mm jack isn’t it?

    #31 2 years ago
  32. SplatteredHouse

    @31 I saw a story where it said that Turtle Beach would offer an adapter to allow their XOne headsets to work on 360, but nothing to suggest that current headsets will be usable on XOne (remember too, that Microsoft are doing the proprietary, competition diminishing dance this gen.)



    at all.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. noamlol2

    microsoft can go drown in their own greed

    check this out

    #33 2 years ago
  34. SplatteredHouse

    @33 and you can swap the hard drive out (if you feel like it, you know, on your console), whereas you can’t on XOne…Because: reasons??
    How much shit is one meant to put up with with this damn box! Never have I seen such a poor featured, ill-positioned, misguided platform as this.

    #34 2 years ago


    Hmm… Not sure. I think it would only work as a voice headset that way, because there’s no game audio coming through the 360 controller.

    I think the 3.5mm jack is where the mic goes, and you can swap it out, so that you can use the headphones with iPod/iPhone/etc.

    Anyway, check this out… It has to be one of the worst interviews I’ve ever seen!

    Guy is ‘trying’ to do some PR for the new Polk headsets…

    #35 2 years ago
  36. freedoms_stain

    I was hoping for generic USB headset support for the next generation of consoles.

    Most existing gaming headsets use USB for power (and voice on PS3) and require an additional output for audio (2 for xbox, one for game audio plus the controller port for voice), but at the same time these headsets support both game and voice audio via USB only on PC, was kinda hoping the consoles would support that standard.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. CyberMarco


    299$ for a pair of headphones?

    Like seriously, why not buy proper 5.1 surround audio system?

    #37 2 years ago
  38. monkeygourmet

    Also, the real reason they didn’t include a headset:

    (Puts on gold foil hat)

    By not inclusing a headset, MS guarantees a large number of people will start using ‘Kinect 2.0′ for online chat ‘out of the box’.

    This in turn helps kick start people using Kinect and makes them more comfortable using it for voice communication.

    By desensitising people in this way, a lot of people will just stick with Kinect rather than buying a seperate (and likely pricey) headset.

    Ultimatly this helps with MS and advertisers accruing data / information on multiple users at once…

    Wake up sheeple!

    (Takes gold foil hat back off…)

    #38 2 years ago
  39. CyberMarco


    Yeah, probably that too.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. Dark

    “Well if people want free headsets, we have a console for that.. it’s called the 360″

    #40 2 years ago
  41. TiAnPa

    So…… What’s happen when someone shouts the Xbox one off command in the most of a multiplayer match? Or, a change tv channel command? It reminds me that 30 Rock episode with the voice tv remote…..

    #41 2 years ago
  42. polygem

    #38 plus mofkcin ONE

    #42 2 years ago
  43. ysleiro

    Bunch of hypocritical buffoons in this thread. Even the writer.

    I’m not sure the writer understands use cases of the headset MS is discussing. THE HEADSET IS NOT FOR GAME AUDIO, it’s for chat audio.

    As for everyone else:
    #1 Turtle Beach and others have said adapters will be made

    #2 I’m sure a grand lot of you gamed on PS3 last generation and gave 2 shits about the fact the system SHIPPED with NO solution. At the very least this system ships with 1 solution. If you need a more dedicated solution you can pay for it.

    Interesting tidbit: some 360 models ship without mics to this day.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. azrael8577

    This right here is one thing that Microsoft shouldn’t have to explain. Use Kinect for voice chat is no brainer. When I heard that headsets wouldn’t be compatible with the Xbox One, I started using Kinect for voice chat on the 360 and my friend said I sounded better using Kinect than using my Turtle Beach mic.

    “Kinect does have cameras sure, but it’s no use to people who want to play a shooter and who doesn’t want to have the sound of gunfire blaring across their home while their kids are trying to get some kip.”

    ….What? Having a cheap mono headset isn’t gonna help with that either.

    And the other popular argument I see everywhere about Kinect picking up game audio and other people in the room. Everyone keeps saying something similar like this stuff doesn’t get picked up ALREADY. I hear game audio, people in the room talking to the person playing etc on PS3 so u can’t blame that on Kinect.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. ps3fanboy

    if you don’t like it xbots your more than welcome to buy a ps4. that don’t have kinect spycam and comes with a FREE headset included. it is only 349 dollars ;)

    #45 2 years ago
  46. hitnrun

    @40 +1

    Really, the trump card in this argument is that those dinky little headsets have a landed cost to Microsoft of about 75 cents. To not include one is insulting.

    @38 Social activist posture aside, that’s probably dead-on accurate. As well, they also want to make the contents more comfortable for the coveted Wii market (which has dictated everything about Xbox since 2008); including a headset makes it look like the console is for those creatures that play video games all day.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. CyberMarco


    Where did you find the PS4 for 349$ exactly?

    #47 2 years ago
  48. DrDamn

    “And the other popular argument I see everywhere about Kinect picking up game audio and other people in the room. Everyone keeps saying something similar like this stuff doesn’t get picked up ALREADY. I hear game audio, people in the room talking to the person playing etc on PS3 so u can’t blame that on Kinect.”

    Except headsets come with a handy and accessible mute button which means you can turn it off when you want to talk to someone in real life and not in game. How do you do that with Kinect?

    #48 2 years ago
  49. SlayerGT

    Wired mics on 360 are crap anyway. Especially the newer models. My launch mic lasted years. The two replacements..maybe two months each. The wireless one is good. Any word if the wireless one will work with XBOne??

    #49 2 years ago
  50. DrDamn

    I loved the mute button position on the older mics. Easy reach of a thumb without disrupting play.

    #50 2 years ago
  51. Gekidami

    Hilarity would then ensue, but obviously that isnt going to work.

    Considering how far i sit from where i would place a thing like Kinect (most likely at the base of my TV), it would have to have a really powerful mic to pick me up clearly, and if it can do that, it’ll most likely be picking up the sound from the game above me, because it would be closer to the TV’s (or in my case surround sound systems) speakers.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. TiAnPa

    @gekidami never got a 360, so I honestly don’t know how the kinetic voice recognization works, but I can guess that the audio recorder is built on the kinect… That is placed usually near the Xbox that, is also near the tv. When you play online (mind you, without using a surround system, just the tv like the majority of persons) the audio will come from the tv if you don’t have a headset, so, with what kind of magic can the kinect detect YOUR voice from the other voices? If there was a headset I can only guess that the multiplayer audio channel (the “talk”) could go only on the headset, preventing people to logging off your console with a command… But with only kinect I truly do t understand how.

    #52 2 years ago
  53. Arcnail

    Wouldn’t be a big deal if it wasn’t a proprietary connection, where I could use an existing headset I already own, but that’s not the case.

    So for me, who can get talking pretty stupid when online with buddies, I would now have to buy one of these things, so the rest of the house doesn’t hear me/us.

    PS4, regardless of the crappy one that comes in the box, isn’t proprietary. Dumb move for the Xbox One imo.

    #53 2 years ago
  54. MCTJim

    I would say, since I have a pre-order already…you cheap bastards. Now that thats said…it should have been included.

    Turtle beach wont even go on record to say if they are making the PX5′s a cable which makes them compatible.

    #54 2 years ago
  55. azrael8577

    @DrDamn #48.

    “Xbox mute” lol.

    But really, that’s actually a good point, but as far as PS3 voice chat goes, since everyone can use any bluetooth headset, not everyone has a mute button. Mine doesn’t.

    On the 360 side, the mute button works great when people remember to use it so we’re basically back to the same spot, non game conversations being picked up by the mic. That’s been happening long before Kinect came on the scene and it’s going to continue to happen although probably a lot more since many will use Kinect for voice chat.

    #55 2 years ago
  56. DrDamn

    But I want mute for me. I don’t care if other people don’t use it. If they have too much background noise I’ll mute them in game. I want to be able to turn off what other people can hear when I am talking, quickly and easily.

    #56 2 years ago
  57. jevonski

    it’s like they’re trying to get the highest stupidity combo they can.

    #57 2 years ago
  58. SplatteredHouse

    There’s going to be a comedy sketch in which a couple uses two of these machines in the same room, and records the outcome.

    #58 2 years ago
  59. ysleiro

    I’m certain some third party will take the opportunity and create the necessary adapters for Turtle Beach and other headsets.

    #59 2 years ago
  60. OlderGamer

    Spot on Arcnail.

    #60 2 years ago
  61. VibraniumSpork

    C’mon now guys…they backtracked on DRM and everything else, I’m pretty sure they can backtrack over an omitted Mic accessory. Give it a week ;p

    #61 2 years ago
  62. azrael8577


    I was half joking when I said “Xbox Mute” but if they intended for Kinect to be used for voice chat, then I’m probably not far off lol.

    #62 2 years ago
  63. fearmonkey

    Phoneixblight mentioned to me that because the PS3 had bluetooth, you can use your own wireless headset. I imagine the PS4 will be the same.

    This is another money grab from MS, change it so the old headsets dont work, no bluetooth so you can use your own wireless headset, no headset in the box, and you have to get one for online gaming.

    #63 2 years ago


    There are two issues here.

    1. This is obviously a money making exercise. Not including a mic in the box, and not adding a simple 2.5mm jack on the controller somewhere, so that we can use the old headsets.

    MS -1.

    2. There is actually a pretty cool innovation happening here.

    The new X1 controllers output both voice chat and digital game audio at the same time.

    That means that there is a simple 3 part system for a full, wire free, Surround sound experience:

    Headset -> controller adapter -> controller.

    The PS4 controller doesn’t do this (along with 360 and PS3). It only outputs mono voice chat, so the surround sound headset system works like this:

    Optical cable + USB cable -> Wifi/infrared receiver -> headset -> audio cable/separate bluetooth connection -> controller.

    Sure, MS wins no new friends for the money grabbing angle, but they have tried to add something better to use and innovate to compensate.

    #64 2 years ago
  65. Gigabomber

    Kinect voice chat already works decently (not great), so this is a good idea to keep the price of the console down. I like the bias in the article: it’s not as though a mono headphone is great for listening to games in any place and I appreciate the cheap shot.

    #65 2 years ago

    ^ Indeed.

    It’s not even possible to listen to games through the 360 headset, in the first place.

    #66 2 years ago
  67. SlayerGT

    Was it Vegas or Rainbow6 3 where you commanded your squads movements with the headset and they responded in the headset instead of the tv speakers? That was cool.

    #67 2 years ago
  68. SplatteredHouse

    Bluetooth = choice. It’s an easy decision.

    #68 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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