Microsoft has announced yet another difference between the original version of the Xbox One console and the version you'll be able to buy on store shelves come late November. When it announced the console, the company stated that the Xbox One
ship with a headset. The reason for this, supposedly, was that Kinect's speaker and microphone would be more than good enough to pick up on the player's speech.
Now, the company has reversed that decision. The Xbox One now comes with an included, minimalist 44 gram headset. The blog post from Major Nelson also includes a full console unboxing and highlights another feature -- controllers will plug in via standard micro-USB cables and will run off system power in this configuration. The new headset hooks directly to the controller with an included set of audio buttons (Volume up, down, and mute).
The controllers themselves will hook to the console via standard micro-USB rather than proprietary connector, but if you want to play and charge simultaneously you'll still need a separate kit. Standardizing on micro-USB does at least reduce the cost of buying a replacement cable, however.
As for Microsoft's decision to include a headset, we're very much in favor. The idea that Kinect was sufficient for gaming was mind-boggling, not so much because of the camera's audio capabilities, but because the comments during an Xbox
multiplayer session are often NSFL -- Not Safe For Life. God knows my poor mother would likely have a stroke if she found out the entire world was aware of her sordid past (sorry Mom). While high-end peripheral manufacturers still intend to offer headsets for the Xbox One, broadcasting to the house on default was insane. Microsoft made the right decision on this one.