With the Series X removing the optical audio port, ASTRO is partnering with XBOX to bring its existing high end headphones to the new console.
When the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 arrive around the same time this holiday wallets will be stretched. We are all prepping our plans on what games to pick up at launch, but what about accessories? What about headphones?
It may initially come off as an odd question, but the Xbox Series X when it ships later this year, will be the first Xbox (since the original 360) to ship without a S/PDIF optical audio out port. An odd exclusion considering how many existing Xbox accessory partners — and customers — rely on that connectivity for superior audio. In hopes to remedy the situation, ASTRO Gaming is among the first to officially partner with Xbox to support Series X owners.
We are working with our partners at Microsoft to roll out a firmware update for MixAmp Pro TR, A50 + Base Station and A20 headsets by launch of Xbox Series X. This update will include the ability to deliver game surround sound & voice chat via USB. Stay tuned for future updates. pic.twitter.com/W65AXflRvk
— ASTRO Gaming (@ASTROGaming) March 31, 2020
In a conversation with IGN, Xbox head of Gaming Phil Spencer discussed the decision to remove the audio port. It all came down to basic economics as the company weighed the cost of including the hardware over time.
“So if you look at a part on a console that’s maybe one, or two dollars and you say, ‘okay, how big of a deal is that inside of a console?’ That’s a few hundred dollars. But then you say, ‘okay, we’re going to plan to sell, you know, 100 million of these consoles.’ So you take two bucks over 100 million now you’re $200 million over the life of the program.”
Despite the reasoning, ASTRO is preparing accordingly. As they should. The company’s top tier lineup of headphones are not exactly cheap. With this announcement existing owners will have one less purchase to make this holiday. The question remains: will ASTROs competitors, like Turtle Beach, follow suit and shift to USB for audio as well?