Ok, so here’s an update that I didn’t really expect to see. To be honest, it’s more that I just never really thought about it.
The voice quality over Xbox Live has never been great, heck… when I think about it, it actually took me a while to understand what people were even saying when I first got my Xbox 360. When the service was released with the original Xbox, people were just so happy they could chat to each other that no one really cared.
That however, was back in the day of SUPER HIGH SPEED 64K internet lines that could handle such witchcraft.
While the upgrade sounds cool, I do see a few issues regarding bandwidth starved countries such as ours.
Xbox Live Studios head honcho Jerry Johnson (sounds like a pr0n name) announced that they will be updating the Xbox Live voice communication system towards the end of this year along with Kinect’s release, saying:
“The codec we used when we first launched was a low bit rate codec and we stuck with that,”
“We launched and we said we required broadband. We required a 64k connection, which not many people think of as broadband any longer. But that was the minimum requirement to run the service at the time.
“It’s time for us to move on. Especially if we want to think about broadening – a crackly headset on the top of your head – not what people think of when they talk about popular entertainment.”
Ok… so here’s the issue. Being someone who know runs on an uncapped account, I’m pretty happy about the upgrade. The problem comes in with all of those folks out there who are still using capped, prepaid or 3G connections to get their online fix.
Clearer voice quality means more bandwidth, and more bandwidth being used for voice means less bandwidth being used for the important stuff, like actually playing games. This also means that slower connections that were just fast enough to handle online gaming now have to dedicate line speed to the voice, which means that games may become laggy.
If we are lucky, Microsoft will be smart enough to give people the option to choose what sort of voice quality suits them best. If not… let’s just hope it doesn’t piss on some people’s online parade.
It also makes sense to me that if Microsoft want the Kinect microphone to work like a conference call system for your room they need to vastly improve the quality otherwise ain’t nobody gonna hear nuttin’.
So we get a nice upgrade, I just hope that it doesn’t cause issues for a lot of you folks out there.
Last Updated: August 27, 2010