Microsoft

The Xbox One launch package is a mess of smart decisions

The Xbox One launch package is a mess of smart decisions

Microsoft has provided final details and images of what will come in the box when the Xbox One launches this November. I don’t think I need to go over everything that’s been said in the official release, you can read that for yourself, but let’s discuss some of the important things here. My gut reaction? This is a really great package, with some good decisions being made.

Giving all the components the same aesthetic design is a nice touch, as the power bricks for the original Xbox 360 were both large and ugly. Everything in this package looks like it belongs in this package, including a confirmed, included headset. This of course, goes against information Microsoft had given us in the past, but we're used to that by now.

That included headset is a big deal. Microsoft is all but requiring players to pick up an Xbox Live subscription if they hope to take advantage of most of the Xbox One’s more interesting capabilities, so giving us a way to chat while we play without paying extra is a smart move, especially when your system is $100 more than the competition, and you’re selling those same headsets for $25 separately.

The new controllers are also very cool, as you can use the Play and Charge kit and keep it powered with a micro-USB cable; there is no need for proprietary connections. That wired connection is important for other reasons as well. (Update: This post originally stated that the wired connection will charge standard reusable batteries. It will not.)

“When you plug a micro-USB cable into the controller for wired gameplay, the internal radio is actually shut off, transmitting data through the wire,” Albert Penello, the director of product planning for the Xbox One wrote. “You can even use the controller without batteries in this mode.”

So every wireless controller can also be converted into a wired controller, which means you should hypothetically be able to use it on your PC, or if you’re a crazy gamer who wants to remove even the tiniest hint of latency. This actually adds a significant chunk of value to each controller purchase, as wired 360 controllers were popular peripherals for PC gamers, and now every wireless Xbox One controller may be able to be used for the same purpose.

The inclusion of the HDMI cable is also a pleasant surprise. Yes, you can get one cheap online, but brick and mortar stores often jack the prices of the cables up way past what’s reasonable in order to increase the margins on hardware, and less-savvy buyers may not even understand that they need one while checking out.

Microsoft basically gives you everything you need to have to get the most out of the system in this package, including what seems to be good-quality cabling, and that can be rare in this business.

This is all good news for the Xbox One.