The company says they look at it as more about choice.
While many companies have moved away from the use of disposable/rechargeable AA batteries in controllers, Microsoft is one of the few gaming companies keeping the tradition alive. The Xbox One controller had them as a standard, and the Series X/S continued that to the surprise of some. A recent report from earlier in the day seemed to indicate this was because of a deal with Duracell, but it seems as if some people took that report in a way that Microsoft was locked into some kind of deal. As it turned out, that isn’t the case.
Eurogamer spoke to a Microsoft spokesperson about the recent report to clarify some things. While they didn’t deny the partnership deal with Duracell, it’s clear from the language they don’t want to see it as some type of situation where their hand is being forced, instead talking about how it’s one of many choices you have with an Xbox controller that you may not have with other brands (Eurogamer also referenced an interview with Microsoft’s Jason Ronald from last year about why AA batteries are still used to broaden the context).
“We intentionally offer consumers choice in their battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
While some may still scratch their head about the use of batteries, there is logic here. Whether or not there’s some influence from their deal with Duracell or not, it’s clear there’s also a design choice at play.