Xbox Wireless Controllers may still use AA batteries because of partnership with Duracell

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S Controllers
Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S Controllers (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • With the release of new gaming consoles like the Xbox Series X|S and PS5, we also got new controllers to go with them.
  • However, Microsoft surprised gamers by continuing to stick with outdated AA batteries for their newest Xbox Wireless Controller.
  • The refusal to move to integrated rechargeable batteries has baffled players for years, especially when moving into a new generation of console gaming.
  • However, an interview with Duracell's UK Marketing Manager may reveal that a partnership with Duracell is to blame.

With the release of the powerful and slick Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, players also got their hands on the latest iteration of Microsoft's excellent Xbox Wireless Controller. However, Microsoft made the strange decision to stick with aging AA batteries as the default source of power for their new controllers. This choice continues to confuse gamers when every other competitor has long since moved to rechargeable batteries and cables. While Microsoft has touted several reasons for this continued decision, a new interview with Stealth Optional may reveal the biggest reason behind AA batteries and the Xbox Wireless Controller.

In an interview, Luke Anderson, the UK Marketing Manager for Duracell, revealed the following:

"There's always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox… 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. 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)."

Apparently, Duracell, the colossal battery behemoth that's been around for ages, has an ongoing partnership with Microsoft on all things battery-powered. However, it's not all completely clean-cut, as Microsoft responded to a query from MCV with the following statement, which suggests Duracell has nothing to do with Microsoft's decision:

"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."

Since the days of the Xbox 360, when wireless controllers became the standard, the argument has always been such:

  • AA batteries allow for player freedom with the addition of rechargeable battery packs, rechargeable AA batteries, and more.
  • Having a removable battery allows for hot swapping for players in the middle of a heated gaming session.
  • Removable batteries also can encourage better long-term controller health, as a dying battery can be easily replaced.

The truth might lie somewhere in the middle, but, either way, Microsoft is sticking with AA batteries in their controllers for a little while longer. If you're looking for a different kind of controller, check out our recommendations for the Best Controllers for Xbox Series X|S, and the Best Charging Accessories and Batteries for Xbox Controllers. While Microsoft may not be intending to change their battery stance, they are asking users about interest in new controller features found in the PS5's DualSense.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.