Pay To Use Your Own Headset on the Xbox One
Xbox One

Do you have a gaming headset that you love? Maybe it’s one of those special limited edition Call of Duty headsets that are only available through tournaments and media events. Maybe it’s a swanky sound canceling headset designed for voice acting work. Maybe it’s just your first headset and you are the sentimental type? Heck, there are plenty of gamers out there that still use their old Karaoke Revolution mics as hardcore gaming headsets.

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Unfortunately, you can’t use any of these on the Xbox One. Why? Because Microsoft decided to make their microphone and headsets proprietary. That doesn’t mean that the console can’t read the input from a plain old USB mic. It means it just doesn’t want to. Microsoft is doing this specifically to limit your headset selection. Business is business after all.

Luckily, there is an alternative, which just so happens to also be provided by Microsoft. If you really want to use your old headsets, you can purchase a headset adapter for $24.99. The adapter comes with controls that allow you to adjust the volume of both the chat and in-game audio independently. However, the adapter does not actually allow you to send game audio to the headset. Instead, you’ll have to connect your headset directly to the Xbox One or the TV to get game audio. Otherwise you’ll just be getting chat audio.

Xbox One

It’s… an OK fix, but it still feels like a cash grab. Especially when you consider Microsoft’s alternative. Microsoft is releasing a stereo headset in March for the Xbox One. "The Stereo Headset pairs a premium, full-range (20Hz-20kHz) audio experience with a unidirectional microphone taking advantage of Xbox One’s Skype-powered chat audio codec," said Major Nelson. However, this new headset doesn’t use Microsoft’s proprietary headset port either! Instead, it just comes with an adapter! So Microsoft is adapting its own technology. There has to be something wrong with that.

Simply put, this has to be nothing more than an attempt to make money. The Xbox 360 handled generic USB headsets just fine. The PS3 explicitly handled generic USB headsets and Bluetooth headsets. The fact that Microsoft wants us to pay for the privilege to use headsets that we already have is maddening. Yet, let’s be real with each other, we are all mostly going to do it. That is unless someone decided to create a soft hack using the exposed Xbox One development console. Just wait, some hacker is going to figure this out in the next few months.

What do you think? Is this adapter a truly needed piece of Microsoft technology or is Microsoft just squeezing us for more money? Let us know in the comments.

Angelo M. D'Argenio
Angelo M. D'Argenio

Senior Contributing Writer
Date: 02/11/2014

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