June 17, 2013
Xbox One to have Charge and Play Kit, Why?
Last week during E3, we found out several details about Sony and Microsoft’s next generation consoles. We were told everything from price, launch windows, and even the price of these new controllers we will be using. Each of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers will retail for $59.99. That is $5 and $10, respectively, above their predecessors and while with new hardware we typically see a rise in price of input devices because they have grown in either tech or functionality. The PS4 controller will have a added light bar, built in speaker, a headset input, and a touch pad that has the ability to be “clicked” in much like an analog stick. The Xbox One will have the comfort and feel of the 360 pad, with triggers that have rumble feedback, and a less intrusive battery pack. It’s that last feature that still gets me, less intrusive battery pack, is this 2005? The Xbox 360 ushered in the era of wireless controllers as a standard right out of the box. The Wii had wireless as well (well due to the design there was no other option) and the PlayStation 3’s original wafer that was the Sixaxis, came wireless as well. Both of the PS3 controllers, the Sixaxis and later the Dualshock 3, came with a in controller housed battery. The battery was integrated into the controller, eliminating battery packs or complicated charge and play kits. Some could argue that this is a bad idea and you have to send it into Sony to get a new battery or throw away the controller and spend $54.99 on a new one. I would then have to argue that my $54.99 Dualshock 3, which I bought back in 2008 when they launched, and after years of ample use, still works like it came out of the package. The Xbox 360 went a different route with a standard AA battery compartment and selling rechargeable battery packs at a separate cost to the consumer. Now granted, those were only $20 to pick up and they came with a battery pack and a charging cable, but the life you got from them was no where near what I have received from my DS3. With this new generation of consoles, I was expecting integrated batteries across the board. Nintendo struck first with the Wii U and the larger Gamepad came with an integrated battery, though the charge span can vary between 3-5 hours. The console came with a charging cable and if you bought the deluxe set, a charging cradle as well. The PlayStation 4’s new controller the Dualshock 4 will have a integrated battery that charges via USB 3.0 and a micro USB charger will be in the box. The Xbox One will not have this. The Xbox One controller does have a more receded compartment but will not let go of the AA batteries. Above is the new charge and play kit from Microsoft. There is no retail for this kit yet, but if there are any indications from the previous set up, it will run you somewhere between $20-$30. Now I am not saying all of this to pick a fight with Xbox One supporters or choose sides. I am saying this as a consumer. Why am I going to pay $59.99 for a controller, then sell out extra money for batteries (whether they be disposables, rechargeable, or a Charge and Play kit) when the competition is charging the same and giving me more? This just feels like a antiquated business practice that has no real application any more. 5 years my Dualshock 3 has lasted and I still get 20+ hours out of it’s battery, my 360 battery packs may make it just over a year with my latest only garnering about 8 hours of play time. I understand making these input devices takes a lot of man power and time. They are though out, and planned to be what we use for years, but I feel somewhere during the Xbox One’s controller timeline someone infused it with a rechargeable battery, and a higher up said yank it. The Xbox One Charge and Play kit will be on sale alongside the launch of the Xbox One this November. There will also be a special controller + Charge and Play kit, I don’t know if that is the $59.99 controller or will run you extra.