WTF?! When practically everything has a built-in rechargeable battery these days, it is somewhat odd that the Xbox Series X|S controllers are powered by two AA batteries. Microsoft does have an Xbox rechargeable battery pack users can buy separately, and the Xbox Elite Wireless 2 sports an internal power cell. However, the standard gamepads have come with replaceable batteries since going wireless with the Xbox 360. Why?
According to remarks made in a recent interview with a Duracell executive, Xbox controllers always come with replaceable batteries due to a long-term deal between Microsoft and the "Copper-Top" company. Duracell UK's Marketing Manager Luke Anderson told Stealth Optional that "there's always been this partnership with Duracell and Xbox."
Essentially, Duracell has agreed to provide Xbox with batteries indefinitely, presumably for the exposure it provides. The idea is that when players replace the controller's batteries, they are much more likely to replace them with the same brand. But the agreement goes beyond the controllers.
"[The deal is] for [Duracell] OEM to supply the battery product for the Xbox consoles and also the controllers' battery," said Anderson.
He added that this agreement has been going on for "a while" and will continue for the foreseeable future. It seems a strange claim that Microsoft would allow itself to be strapped into a long-term deal like this, considering all of its competitors use internal rechargeable batteries.
MCV Develop reached out to Microsoft for an explanation and received the following 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 into the console or PC."
Microsoft's statement indicates that its decision to use AA batteries was "intentional," rather than being dictated by some deal. However, when pressed further, the spokesperson would not confirm or deny whether the company had or has an agreement with Duracell.
However, all the evidence points to a partnership existing. Aside from Anderson's claims and Duracell double-As being the default choice in Xbox controllers, the two companies have cross-promoted on multiple occasions, including an Duracell-branded Xbox controller and the "marriage proposal" tweet from the Copper Top's official Twitter account (above).
Image credit: quangmooo