Microsoft has detailed the changes made to Xbox Live voice chat for Xbox One, revealing a much-improved level of audio quality.
As convenient as Xbox Live voice chat could be on Xbox 360, allowing players to chat with each other regardless of what they were playing or doing, the audio quality has never been great. Microsoft plans to change that on Xbox One by making use of Skype's audio codec and having dedicated audio processing for both multiplayer voice chat and Skype conversations on Xbox One.
Today's announcement also points to the Xbox One controller's expansion port and the system's new headset as part of the reason for the enhanced audio quality. As mentioned previously, thanks to this new technology, speech is captured and rendered at 24 KHz PCM, a 50% boost over the capture rate seen with Xbox 360 headsets.
Microsoft offered up a demonstration of what this actually means in practice with two short clips: one played back at the quality level on Xbox 360, and one at the level on Xbox One. You can listen for yourself Above or on Xbox Wire. The difference is very noticeable, and, provided this is an accurate representation of what gamers can expect to hear for themselves on Xbox One, they should be in for a much better voice chat experience than on Xbox 360.
These changes won't be available to Xbox 360 owners in any way due to the fact that, as Microsoft's Marc Whitten told Press, Xbox One and Xbox 360 users are unable to voice chat with each other. They can, however, exchange text messages.
The new and improved -- albeit familiar-looking -- Xbox One Chat Headset will cost $24.99 upon release. Despite Microsoft initially planning to make the headset available only as a separate purchase, every Xbox One will ship with a headset included.