Microsoft denied a rumor claiming that Xbox controllers still come with Duracell AA batteries because of a “constant agreement” with that firm. I had decided not to report on the original rumor because it seemed unlikely if not completely bogus.
Yesterday, a random tech blog reported that Microsoft has stuck with old-school AA batteries in its Xbox controllers for over 15 years because of a “constant agreement” with battery maker Duracell. Meanwhile, its competition has been using more modern rechargeable internal batteries instead.
“There’s always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox,” a Duracell marketing manager in the UK told the blog. “It’s a constant agreement that Duracell and Microsoft have in place. [The deal is] for [partners] 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].”
Not true, says Microsoft.
“We intentionally offer consumers choice in their battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers,” a Microsoft statement says, correcting the bogus report. “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.”
Microsoft had previously explained its continued use of AA batteries as it moved from Xbox 360, the first Xbox console with wireless controllers, to Xbox One and now Xbox Series X|S as a way to please everyone, since some gamers apparently still very much want to use the old-fashioned batteries for some reason. But come on: This is about cost. Microsoft bundles AA batteries with its controllers, and also its consoles, to save money. It then sells rechargeable batteries and packs to customers separately.