Here’s the real reason why Xbox controllers still use AA-batteries
The only reason why Xbox controllers still use AA-batteries is because of a long-standing agreement with Duracell. Or, at least that’s what a Duracell spokesperson will have you believe.
Running on fumes
Microsoft’s controllers for their consoles have always been highly-regarded as some of the best in the industry. They’re almost always ahead their competition when it comes to competition and performance. However, there’s one thing that Xbox controllers are lagging behind other brands. It’s that Xbox controllers still use double A batteries, instead of the industry standard of using lithium-ion batteries.
This is a weird design choice for Microsoft, to say the least. But it would seem like instead of being and deliberate design choice, it seems like the reason behind this is more on the business side of things. ”
In an interview with video game news website Stealth Optional, Duracell UK’s marketing manager Luke Anderson claims that it’s because of them. “There’s always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox,” says Anderson. “It’s a constant agreement that Duracell and Microsoft have in place.” What is this deal? Anderson reveals that they and “supply the battery product for the Xbox consoles and also the controller’s battery. So that [deal is] going to go on for a while… it’s been going on for a while, and… it needs to go for a while.”
So the only reason why Xbox controllers use primitive batteries is because they have a business partnership with Duracell.
Microsoft refuses to address the Xbox controller issue
Meanwhile, Microsoft is dodgy when it comes to answering whether or not the Duracell spokesperson’s statement is true. If you think about it, you can give the statement some credibility given how close the two are in working together. Xbox controllers come in bundled with Duracell batteries, and Duracell has also been promoting their batteries specifically to be used for Xbox controllers.
— Duracell (@Duracell) November 9, 2018
But when asked by MCV/Develop about this, Microsoft replied with a vague statement. “We intentionally offer consumers choice in their battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers.” They also cited that while Xbox controllers are most commonly used with AA-batteries, consumers have various ways to charge their controller. This includes the use of a rechargeable battery. Players can also charge via the use of USB-C power cables.
While Microsoft did not confirm the relationship’s bearings at all, they also did not deny anything.