The MajorNelson.com blog has announced yesterday a new Xbox One Stereo Headset. It looks like a solid piece of hardware, offering a 20Hz-20kHz frequency range and a unidirectional microphone — along with what appear to be large ear cups for what is likely a comfortable fit. Included is a pretty cool adapter peripheral that allows for independent control of game and chat audio as well as a handy microphone mute button. Though, the headset also comes with a fairly substantial price tag of $79.99/£59.99 MSRP.
Here’s the rub: That pretty cool adapter peripheral? It’s necessary because the headset port on the Xbox One controller is proprietary. If you’ve been itching to hook up your expensive Turtle Beach or Tritton headset to your shiny new Microsoft console, you’ll need to fork over $24.99/£19.99 for that little thing.
A visit to the Xbox Support website confirms that even the Xbox 360 faithful will be held to these restrictions. Xbox 360 Wireless Headsets are not compatible with the Xbox One at all, and due to the audio port design on the new controllers, the wired adapter needed for last generation’s console also “will not work due to the design of the connector.” Yes, even if you want to use your Xbox 360 wired headset with the Xbox One, it’ll cost you an additional $24.99/£19.99 for the privilege.
It also appears that the USB ports on the Xbox One console can not be used for an in-game audio feed to USB headsets. According to the support site, the only way to get in-game audio to your headset is using “the audio output on the TV, monitor, or console” using RCA cables or an S/PDIF audio cable. To top it off, it’s confirmed that the popular Tritton Warhead and Primer headsets for the Xbox 360 are flatly incompatible with the Xbox One.
From the sound of this, many Xbox One owners are going to need to cough up some extra cash for a quality in-game chat experience, regardless of any previous investments.
However, crafty gamers haven’t taken this lying down. Less patient modders weren’t going to wait for another peripheral announcement to use their existing headsets with the Xbox One, and they’ve pulled it off with a little elbow grease. A step-by-step guide at instructables.com outlines how to modify the included Xbox One headset to act as an adapter for a standard headset with a 3.5mm connector. It does require some soldering so it’s not for the squeamish, but if you’re not planning on using the included headset anyway, why not give it a go and potentially save some money that you’d otherwise spend on the official adapter?
Workarounds aside, this is yet another Xbox One feature put behind a paywall, and isn’t the best press for a company whose would-be fans are still looking for signs of a little goodwill.
Both the Xbox One Stereo Headset and the Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter are targeted for availability in all Xbox One markets worldwide in early March.