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Opinion: Why Not Including a Headset With the Xbox One is a Bad Idea

So Microsoft recently announced that Xbox One bundled will not be including headsets, unlike almost every Xbox 360 bundle that is currently on the market. Why? Well the Kinect 2 of course. The Kinect 2 has a built in HD camera and microphone. So why would anyone need a headset when you can just shout at your Kinect all day?

Wrong! Unfortunately the Kinect itself doesn’t make a good headset replacement for a number of reasons, the first of which being that it’s an ambient mic, not a dedicated mic. By that, I mean it will pick up all the ambient sounds of the room, including the sound of your video game coming out of your TV speakers! This is bound to cause serious feedback.

Even if it doesn’t cause feedback, you have the issue of the Kinect picking up literally every sound in the room. You don’t want to be in the middle of a hardcore Call of Duty match only to be interrupted by your dog barking, or by your Mom calling you down for dinner.

Then there’s the fact that you can’t turn the Kinect off! Many headsets will have a simple on/off button whenever you want to mute yourself, say for phone calls or when you have to put your headset down to go to the bathroom. The Kinect has to always be on and always be connected, so you don’t have this split second muting capability.

In fact, people have been complaining that their Xbox Ones will end up picking up ambient noise and start doing things they don’t want to do when they just participate in casual conversation. A headset can solve all this. It won’t pick up things like “Xbox On” or “Xbox Movies” by just being in the room, you have to actually wear it for it to be detecting your voice.

Finally, the biggest reason why Microsoft should include headsets with the new Xbox One is that gamers are afraid of change. Right now, they are already trying to earn goodwill with the gaming populace after pulling a complete 180 on their DRM policies. Withholding features that we had from the Xbox 360 is not a way to do that. At this point Xbox users are going to be expecting their Xbox One to come with a headset. If they open the box only to find nothing there, there are going to be a lot of disappointed gamers.

What do you think? Should a headset be included with your purchase of an Xbox One?

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