Xbox Controllers Still Use Replaceable AA Batteries Due to a Long-Term Deal with Duracell

Nathan Birch
Xbox Series X GameStop

It’s been a long time since replaceable batteries were the norm for video game controllers, with most modern gamepads including built-in rechargeable battery packs. The exception to this rule are Xbox controllers, as even the new Xbox Series X/S controller runs on good, old-fashioned AA batteries. Granted, you have the option buy rechargeable battery packs separately, but the controllers still just come with a pair of AAs standard.

Well, apparently, there’s a reason for Microsoft’s dated approach. According to a recent interview with Duracell marketing manager Luke Anderson, they have an agreement with Microsoft that will ensure you’ll be able to pop AAs into Xbox controllers for some time to come.

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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].

The folks at MCV asked Microsoft whether the Duracell deal was legit, and they largely dodged the question, insisting still supporting AAs is simply a case of giving the consumer more options…

We intentionally offer consumers choice in their battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers. 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.

Okay, sure, I suppose that’s one way to frame it. But come on, AA batteries are a lousy, dated option in 2021, and having to buy separate battery packs for your controllers is a pain in the butt, and I think Microsoft knows that. Personally, I believe Duracell’s story.

What are your thoughts on this? Anybody out there still switching out AAs in their Xbox controllers?

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