According to Microsoft’s Jason Ronald, it’s all about flexibility.
Microsoft have, by now, dropped a great deal of info on the Xbox Series X’s new controller, and we know quite a bit about the iterative improvements it will be making over its predecessor, from the inclusion of a share button to the upgrades its making to things like the d-pad and the analog sticks. One quite interesting piece of info that has emerged about the new controller is the fact that, much like the Xbox One controller (and the Xbox 360 controller before it), it will use AA batteries.
For many, that is a baffling decision, owing to how PlayStation controllers – to name just one of many others – have been using rechargeable batteries for a while- so why is it that Xbox continues to insist on using batteries? Well, according to Microsoft, it’s all about giving players options and being flexible.
Speaking to Digital Foundry, Jason Ronald – partner director of program management at Xbox – said that the split between people who want a rechargeable controller and those who prefer batteries is roughly 50/50, and so giving players a separate option to use a rechargeable battery pack if they want strikes a best of both worlds situation.
“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,” he 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.”
It is, of course, worth mentioning that rechargeable battery pack is a separate purchase, which means those who want it have to spend extra money on it. Then again, a rechargeable controller would run the risk of having a short battery life – down the road if not right off the bat – so both options present potential issues.
Either way, the Xbox Series X – along with its controller (obviously) – will be launching this Holiday, so we’ll know just how well it works soon enough.