Microsoft put both its Xbox One controller and headset up for preorder on Monday, charging the same amount as Sony for a single controller. A rechargeable option, however, will cost significantly extra.
The Xbox One Wireless Controller, which will officially be released on Dec. 31, according to Microsoft, will be priced at $59.99. But the rechargeable Xbox One Wireless Controller with Play and Charge Kit will cost $74.99, Microsoft said. Sony, for its part, only offers a single version of its PlayStation 4 DualShock Wireless Controller for $59.99, and it includes a rechargeable battery.
Microsoft claims that the redesigned Xbox One controller is "simply the best controller Xbox has ever made," with redefined thumbsticks, an all new directional pad or D-pad, and Impulse Triggers, which deliver vibration feedback in supported games.
Microsoft began offering the choice of either a battery-powered or rechargeable controller with the Xbox 360: The basic, AA-based version of the Xbox 360 controller lists for $49.99, and the Play and Charge lithium-ion option is available for a list price of $69.99. (Amazon and others currently offer the Xbox 360 with the Play and Charge Kit for $53.49.)
Microsoft has said, however, that the older Xbox 360 controllers will not be compatible with its latest Xbox One hardware. While the upcoming console ships with one controller, you'll need to invest in some additional hardware if you want to play the latest copy of "Madden" in your living room, head to head against a friend.
The $74.99 price tag for a rechargeable controller is also more than what TechHive expected for the price of the Xbox One controller, which we predicted to be about $50. That extra $25 means that once you factor in the hardware, games, and online services, the Xbox One carries a premium of about $65 over Sony's PlayStation 4--a figure that drops to $50 if you opt for the standard, disposable AA battery-powered option for your second Xbox One controller.
Microsoft also said that it would charge $24.99 for the Xbox One Chat Headset, a wired headset with mute and volume controls. Unlike the controller, Microsoft hasn't said whether or not older Xbox 360 headsets will be compatible with the Xbox One, so it might be worth waiting until closer to launch before diving in with a preorder. (Update:Microsoft has said that older headsets will work with the Xbox One via an adapter, but hasn't released further details.)
The Xbox One made waves early on when Microsoft touted the console as a set-top box first and foremost, with services like Skype and Internet Explorer built in. Gamers really became annoyed, however, when Microsoft revealed its restrictions on game rentals, resales, and the need to "check in" via an online connection--especially when rival Sony rather humorously highlighted that it was taking a different tack. Microsoft later backtracked, provoking yet another backlash by those who had favored its cloud-centric approach--although those features could in fact be added back in, Microsoft executives said.