You may have read reports which suggested Microsoft is forced to use AA batteries in Xbox controllers because of a long-standing agreement with Duracell.
Eurogamer understands this is not accurate.
The story was sparked by Duracell UK’s marketing manager Luke Anderson, who said the following in an interview with Gfinity blog Stealth Optional:
“There’s always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox… it’s a constant agreement that Duracell and Microsoft have in place.
“[The deal is] for OEM to supply the battery product for the Xbox consoles and also the controllers’ battery. So that [deal is] going to go on for a while… it’s been going on for a while and I think it needs to go for a while [more].”
It is true that Xbox does use Duracell batteries in its controllers, and that the two brands have appeared together in Duracell marketing materials.
But reports today suggested Microsoft’s hand was being forced into requiring its controllers used batteries instead of built-in rechargable packs simply because of this partnership. This is not the case.
— Duracell (@Duracell) November 9, 2018
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In a Digital Foundry interview last year with Microsoft veteran Jason Ronald, partner director of program management at Xbox, the company discussed its decision to once again use AA batteries in its Xbox Series S/X controller while its competitors use rechargable battery packs as standard.
“What it comes down to is when actually talking to gamers, it’s kind of polarising and there is a strong camp that really want AAs,” Ronald said. “So just giving flexibility is the way to please both [sets of] people… You can use a rechargeable battery pack and it works just like it does on the Elite, [but] it is a separate thing.”
Simply put – there’s still a large chunk of Xbox owners out there who prefer to use batteries, and it is this thinking which drove Microsoft’s decision. Batteries, while short-lived, can also be more easily replaced than an internal power cell, which will over time fade and die.
Today, Microsoft issued a statement saying similar – that its decision to use batteries was about customer choice.
“We intentionally offer consumers choice in their battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Eurogamer. “This includes the use of AA batteries from any brand, the Xbox Rechargeable Battery, charging solutions from our partners, or a USB-C cable, which can power the controller when plugged in to the console or PC.”
Note the mention of “any brand”, there. Despite its ever-energetic bunny mascot, hopefully this Duracell report has run its course.