Xbox One news: Updates, headsets and the leaked media remote
By Chris Wood
February 14, 2014
Microsoft has made a number of recent announcements regarding its next-gen console, including an all new headset and a pair of updates that aim to streamline the service. The software fixes and hardware releases combined, should solve a number of the Xbox One's early issues such as the lack of a storage management utility and an inability to use third party headsets.
The news came in last week that Microsoft's new system will receive its first major updates by mid-March, adding a number of much needed utilities to the system, and streamlining it in other areas.
The first update, scheduled to arrive this week, features a number of behind-the-scenes changes for developers, stability improvements and, most crucially, improvements to the quality of Kinect voice commands and a storage management utility. The latter of these was one of the most notable omissions at launch, as game install sizes are significantly larger on next-gen systems, making effective file management essential.
Titanfall design lead Justin Hendry revealed earlier this week that the update will also patch controller sensitivity, informing The Verge that "it was a little overly twitchy with the current controls. Now it's fixed. We're happy with it."
Other improvements include a controller battery power indicator on the home screen and the ability to use USB keyboards with the system.
The second update, scheduled for March 11, is designed to prepare the system for the launch of multiplayer-only shooter Titanfall. The most significant changes will be made to party and multiplayer systems. Users will be able to say "Xbox, go to Friends" to view who is online, party chat audio will be on by default, cross-game chat enabled and the option to invite friends to a game will be present in game menus.
Stereo Headset announced
Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled its new Stereo Headset for use with the company's next-gen console. The over-ear design features a full range audio spectrum (20 Hz - 20 kHz) and a unidirectional microphone.
The headset will ship with a detachable Stereo Headset Adapter which is similar to the non-detachable version found on the basic headset that comes bundled with the console, but with a greater selection of controls.
The adapter will also be sold separately and will be fully compatible with third party 3.5 mm stereo headsets.
Both items will be available worldwide in early March, with the Xbox One Stereo Headset shipping for US$79.99, and the Stereo Headset Adapter for $24.99.
Official Media controller leaked on Amazon
An official Xbox One Media Remote appeared on Amazon's Canadian site earlier this week. The devices features a slick design in line with Xbox One hardware, and looks to provide users with yet another means of controlling their media-centric system.
The listing, which has since been removed, showed a price of $22.69 and a release date of March 4.
With both the Xbox One and Sony's PS4 still very early in their life cycles, it's likely that we'll see a series of updates, peripherals and other tweaks in the coming months and years. These early updates are certainly a step in the right direction for Microsoft's system, improving upon several issues suffered at launch.
For more on the Xbox One, check out our full review.