And the deal is apparently going to go on for a while.
Since the days of the Xbox 360, right up to now with the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox’s wireless controllers have stuck with AA batteries. Even though there are options and alternate peripherals that allow users to switch to rechargeable batteries, AA batteries have been the default for Xbox. It’s something that many have questioned over the years, especially with Xbox’s competitors having long since switched to rechargeable batteries.
If you’re among those that have questioned this choice, the reason for the same is… probably not what you’d expect. As it turns out, Microsoft have a long-term deal in place with Duracell, one that’s supposedly going to go on for a while longer, that stipulates that Xbox controllers have to ship with AA Duracell batteries by default. Duracell UK’s marketing manager Luke Anderson confirmed the same in an interview with Stealth Optional.
“There’s always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox,” Anderson said. “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,” he added. “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].”
It’s worth mentioning that a controller with AA batteries does have its own advantages over rechargeable batteries in controllers, especially in the long-term, though it does make things a bit inconvenient at times. Based on Anderson’s words, it’s probably going to be a while before we see a standard Xbox controller that ships with a rechargeable battery.