The next Xbox 360 update overhauls how Live delivers voice chat, allowing you to hear other players curse with crystal clarity.
Every Fall, Microsoft releases a large firmware update for the Xbox 360, adding new features and fixing problems with the existing ones. While this year's update is largely intended to ready current systems for the Kinect add-on, it will also address at least one outstanding complaint about the Xbox Live service. According to Xbox Live Studios head Jerry Johnson, the next system update will overhaul the service's audio infrastructure, leading to a significant improvement in the sound quality of voice chat.
The sound quality delivered through headsets has long been a complaint from outspoken gamers, with some even preferring to chat on a separate laptop through a voice client like Skype or Ventrilo.
Johnson noted that the choice of the current low bit-rate codec was motivated by average internet speeds when Xbox Live launched in 2002. He explained, "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."
He added, "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."
The Xbox 360 Fall update is scheduled to launch just prior to the November 4th release of the Kinect.