You may have read reports that suggested that Microsoft was forced to use AA batteries in Xbox controllers due to a long-term agreement with Duracell.
Eurogamer understands that this is not accurate.
The story was triggered by Duracell UK’s marketing manager Luke Anderson, who said the following in an interview with the Gfinity blog Stealth Optional:
“It’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 to the Xbox consoles and also the controllers battery. Saw it [deal is] going to go on for a while … it̵
It’s true that Xbox uses Duracell batteries in the controllers, and that the two brands have appeared together in Duracell marketing materials.
But reports today suggested that Microsoft’s hand was forced to demand that controllers use batteries instead of built-in rechargeable packages just because of this partnership. That’s not the way it is.
Mark the person you love deeply, trust fully and play @ Xbox games with all the time. #XboxElite pic.twitter.com/zcYbI2haYQ
– Duracell (@Duracell) November 9, 2018
In a Digital Foundry interview last year with Microsoft veteran Jason Ronald, Xbox’s Program Management Partner Director, the company discussed its decision to reuse AA batteries in its Xbox Series S / X controllers while competitors use rechargeable battery packs as standard.
“What it comes down to is when it’s actually talking to players, it’s a bit polarizing, and it’s a strong camp that really wants AAs,” Ronald said. “So just giving flexibility is the way to satisfy both [sets of] folks … You can use a rechargeable battery and it works just like it does on Elite, [but] it’s a separate thing. ”
Simply put – there are still a large number of Xbox owners out there who prefer to use batteries, and it is this mindset that guided Microsoft’s decision. Batteries, although short-lived, can also be replaced more easily than an internal power cell, which will fade and die over time.
Today, Microsoft issued a statement that said similarly – that the decision to use batteries was about customer choice.
“We intentionally offer consumers choices in battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers,” a Microsoft spokesman told Eurogamer. “This includes the use of AA brands of any brand, the rechargeable Xbox battery, charging solutions from our partners or a USB-C cable, which can power the controller when connected to the console or PC.”
Notice the mention of “any brand” there. Despite its ever-energetic rabbit mascot, hopefully this Duracell report has gone its way.