While the Xbox One is currently struggling with the fact that current headset tech will not work on the eighth generation console due to differing data processing speeds, the PlayStation 4 is bundling their own unique mono headset with every purchase of their console. The inclusion of a headset that plugs directly into the DualShock 4 is another cherry in Sony’s sundae where the sprinkles are cross-game chat options and the fudge sauce is the shiny “share” button.
Terrible analogies aside, the PS4 is betting big on social gaming and giving owners the ability to chat right out of the box means a positive shared experience that eventually or immediately leads to online friendship. Either that or you’re going to hear some pretty mean comments about your mother’s weight and/or sexual activities from a 12-year-old boy. Yeah, it’s going to be that. You do get a neat-o headset (really a earphone with a mic attached to it) out of it though.
Although the Xbox One does not come with a bundled headset like the 360 before it, you can totally get told “you suck” in a plethora of different hyperbolic outbursts through the Kinect’s built-in speakers. When you’ve had the proper amount of time to digest the insult and think of a comeback, you can yell back into your Kinect’s microphone. The trick is doing it without looking like an idiot. If you want a headset and be all traditional on the Xbox One, it’s going to cost you more.
Sony’s PS4 is $100 cheaper than the Xbox One and comes with its own mono headset. It also plugs into a headset audio jack so most current generation devices will be supported unlike its main rival. Since it’s a proprietary high data port on the Xbox One controller, there are going to be limited options available at launch. While this might help Microsoft in the future, Sony wants broad connectivity and functionality on its console. Although Sony has not officially confirmed this, developer kits can use current generation headsets and do not require any new tech in the audio department.
The PlayStation 3 was notably silent in the online world mainly because people didn’t use microphones and headsets for gaming. You can also blame the latency issues on PSN for the crappy experience overall that made Xbox Live the go-to console for multiplayer. This generation could potentially spark an actual rivalry between the two services as the PSN is going pay-to-play in an effort to deliver a better online experience. Since Sony charges more or less what Xbox Live does depending on the plan, it should be enough to improve some basic features and make PSN good enough to revisit. Anyone remember that hilarious security breach?
In the most basic sense of console gaming, a headset is not really a must-have accessory. Most games can be played without one with the exception of games developed specifically with a voice recognition feature. The inclusion of a headset simply makes it easier to communicate with other players who may find your banter witty enough for a friend request. The Xbox One has the Kinect and promises to be able to hear your commands and recognize your voice as you play. In this sense, the PS4 is sticking to an old school social model.
The mono headset is nothing special and that’s kind of the point when it comes to a general purpose game device. Players with the means and the motivation can opt to buy a higher quality headset that boosts sound and drops the bass while cleaning up voice clarity. Since any current generation device can plug into the DualShock 4 controller, you can view the PS4 headset like the earphones given to you with every purchase of an iPod. They can deliver music, but you’re not going to choose them over a SteelSeries or Turtle Beach model.
The PS4 currently has a distinct advantage over the Xbox One when it comes to headsets. Microsoft requires you to buy a headset on launch day either from them or a third party manufacturer if you want to talk about some bitch-ass bitch’s mother. Since the tech is newer, you can’t use any headset lying around your house and you specifically have to buy one of the few currently in production for the console.
The PS4 comes with a headset and while it’s nothing flashy, instantly gives you communication options over PSN. This is a major role reversal from the PS3 and could be a sign of good things to come for online gaming with a Sony console. Yes, you do have to pay a monthly fee for online access. However, the money would be going towards stronger server stability and tougher security measures. Xbox Live slaps the current PSN system across the face simply because no one wants to use its crap-ass service. Sony is looking to change this with the PS4.
The quality of the PS4 headset will not wow any serious gamer who loves sweet audio and telling anonymous people online to go have sexual relations with themselves. However, it is functional and will allow you to do talk trash straight out of the box for the price of the PS4. Yes, you don’t get the Playstation Camera with the bundle, but you do get to communicate nonetheless.
The upside is that you can pretty much swap out the headset for a better pair you already own on launch day while the Xbox One requires you to purchase a new one. In the short term, assuming you’re willing to pay the monthly fee for PSN, you get more for less. On launch day, that could be the difference between buying an Xbox One and a PS4. OK, not really. They’re headsets.
Article by - Collin Mak
Insert Date: 7/8/2013