Xbox Controllers Apparently Still Use AA Batteries Due To An Ongoing Deal With Duracell

Xbox Controllers Apparently Still Use AA Batteries Due To An Ongoing Deal With Duracell
Photo: Microsoft

While every other console controller on the market uses internal rechargeable batteries, Xbox’s still let you use AA batteries to power them, and new remarks by a Duracell spokesperson possibly shed some light on why this is.

“There’s always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox…it’s a constant agreement that Duracell and Microsoft have in place,” Duracell UK’s marketing manager, Luke Anderson, told Stealth Optional in an interview spotted by VGC.

Anderson goes on:

[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].

This partnership seems to be backed up by Duracell’s online marketing campaigns which frequently feature Xbox controllers. The new Xbox Series X and S which launched just last November also both come with two Duracell AA batteries, rather than Microsoft’s Xbox-branded rechargeable battery packs,

There Are Never Enough AA Batteries Around To Power My Xbox One Controller

Two AA batteries. That’s all I recently needed to turn my Xbox One controller on and get back to steaming dumplings in Overcooked 2. It was around 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday, though, and I didn’t have any left.

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Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request by Kotaku for comment, but told MCV/Develop in a statement,

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.

I was surprised when Microsoft revealed last year that its next-gen controllers would still come pre-packaged with AA batteries. It’s true that the option to choose between using removable, rechargeable battery packs and pre-packaged disposable batteries on the fly offers some nice flexibility.

At the same time, I’ve already run through several packs of AA batteries since I got my launch Series S, and the fact that the rechargeable packs need to be bought separately is another barrier to actually taking advantage of that freedom. Why not package new controllers with both options?

Microsoft’s premium controller, the Xbox Elite Wireless 2, costs $250 and doesn’t come with either. Like the DualShock 4, Dualsense, and Nintendo’s Switch Pro controller, it just has an internal battery you charge by plugging it in. No freedom to choose, but straightforward and convenient enough. Potentially less wasteful too.


    • I think it comes down to ease of use.. If you have batteries that die not only do you have ongoing cost, but you also have that feeling, mid match that you will have to disconnect your controller completely to change them out as opposed to internal battery just being able to be plugged in with a cord and keep going.

      I will say though that internal batteries do have their own problems. 2 of my Ps3 controllers (at the beach house not my primary console) have to be plugged in constantly to work and the third one gets about 1-2 hours of use and then is dead. Similarly my main PS4 controller only has around 3 hours of use before it’s gone.

    • I agree with djbear (sudden pain in chest).

      But yeah, batteries in general seem to be the way to go. I find every time I get the urge to play my PS4 the damn controllers are flat and have to be recharged. Which I guess is fine because I have to wait for the new, long-ass update to process anyway.

      The only rechargeable controller I have found that is decent is my Series 2 Xbox Elite. That thing just powers on and on. But otherwise, I just buy a 20 pack of good batteries every 6 months for about $10 (on special at Bunnings or somewhere) and I’m good.

      • Batteries are annoying, but you get better longevity from devices as a result. Until we get some kind of proper advancement in battery storage, that’s not going to change.

        • I think I also have bias because I remember all the way back to my GameBoy (Original) that I bought a recharge pack for. It was always a bit loose and would disconnect. Had to tape it down (wrapping around the device) each time. After that, I had a few other devices that had similar issues with battery packs. Always drove me up the wall.

          Not so much of an issue with the PS controllers as they are contained, but they still irk me. And yes, as you said, they seem to deteriorate in charge quality quickly.

  • Its almost like for $30 bucks (and frequently cheaper) you can grab a really good and user replaceable rechargeable battery pack and a pretty good tbh USB-C cable.

  • Why not package new controllers with both options?

    There are a lot of people who use AAs, pure USB, third party packs or already have a pack that will assume they’d get the controller at half price if it didn’t come with the official battery pack. They already view the battery pack as a separate add-on so to them it’d be an optional extra they’re forced to buy.

    Just look at the XBOX One’s Kinect. People saw it as an add-on like the 360’s and were outraged because they felt like it was adding hundreds to the cost of the console. The reality was that at launch the Kinect wasn’t an add-on and it probably wasn’t even factored into the launch price. Changing how gamers perceive things they’re familiar with is risky business.

  • “I agree with djbear (sudden pain in chest).”

    Yeah sorry, I have that effect on people, Take some panadol and you’ll be right.

  • Wasn’t this first brought up by some conspiracy theorist?

    Either way, it’s stupid. Having replaceable batteries is so much better. Although ditch Duracell AA’s and include the recharge pack ffs

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