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Duracell isn’t secretly paying Microsoft to put AA batteries in Xbox controllers

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Microsoft still uses batteries because it likes to offer players a choice

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

“Xbox Controllers Still Use AA Batteries Due to ‘A Constant Agreement’ with Duracell,” Stealth Optional’s headline reads. The headline spotlights the outlet’s recent interview with Duracell’s UK marketing manager, Luke Anderson, who told Stealth Optional that there’s “always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox... It’s a constant agreement that Duracell and Microsoft have in place.”

After this interview was published, several outlets cited the article, theorizing that this could be the reason why Microsoft still uses AA batteries to power some of its wireless gaming controllers.

This isn’t true. “We intentionally offer consumers choice in their battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Eurogamer as a reason why its standard wireless Xbox controllers still use AA batteries instead of building a battery inside the controller.

“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.”

Of course, this is not the first time Microsoft has mentioned its decision to stick with AA batteries for some of its wireless controllers. Speaking with Digital Foundry in April, Xbox partner director of program management, Jason Ronald, explained that a “large chunk of Xbox owners” still preferred to use batteries. Microsoft even told The Verge in 2018 that the standard controllers' reliance on batteries is because the company likes to offer a choice to its player base.

I don’t mind using AA batteries in these controllers; I can understand the confusion some could have on why Microsoft relies on batteries in its controllers when its competitors have turned to built-in batteries that charge using cables. It’s certainly not the most environmentally friendly option, yet it provides a happy medium for those who still prefer batteries while also having an option for those who prefer using a rechargeable battery pack instead.