Reviewed: June 11, 2005
Leave it to Mad Catz to find and fill a need for every gamer on every system. There is no denying that Xbox Live is a dominating force in online console gaming and anyone who plays online will eventually require a headset. Of course, if you get the Xbox Live Starter Kit youíll get a headset, and while there are several other third-party headsets available, youíve always needed that communicator device that only came with the Xbox Live Starter Kit, until now.
The Mad Catz Xbox LiveCon is not just a quality controller; itís a complete Xbox Live package with everything you need to get online. You start with the now-famous gamepad which is basically their Control Pad Pro, only slightly altered to accommodate the communicator device near the back of the controller. This gives the gamepad a slight bulge near the back of the gamepad where is used to go straight across between the grips.
I wonít go into detail on the quality of the gamepad. Suffice to say it has all the features and durability of the Control Pad Pro, only now with the S-configuration, and you are welcome to read that review for all the details.
You also get a very nice over-the-head, operator-style headset with cushioned earpiece and boom mic that extends about six inches down your cheek. This mic plugs directly into the jack located at the rear of the controller. The immediate benefit is that you now, no longer have two cables stretched across your living room.
To complete the package the LiveCon comes with a Free 2 month subscription to Xbox Live (new accounts only) so you can jack into the net and take this baby for a test drive without having to buy anything else.
As for value, you can get the LiveCon for $40 (probably cheaper if you look hard enough), which is what a 3-month starter kit would cost with a game. So basically you are trading a free game ($19) and a month of service ($5) for a gamepad that would normally cost you $20.
My only caveat with this controller (and the reason it canít get a perfect 10) is that it is a ďwiredĒ controller and we are officially in a wireless world. I review dozens of game controllers every year and while I use them all extensively during testing, when it comes down to playing games for recreation I always go right back to my trusty wireless gamepads.
Then again, unless you plan on getting a wireless headset, you are still going to have at least one cable tethering you to your Xbox, so why not let it be the cable that connects you to one of the best Xbox controllers on the market and a very comfortable headset.