The New Xbox Series X Controller Still Uses AA Batteries, and Here's Why

When it launches later this year, the Xbox Series X just might end up being the most powerful console on the market. While Microsoft has announced a number of features that put the system on the cutting edge, the system does have one inclusion that seems a bit antiquated: controllers powered by AA batteries. Considering that Nintendo and PlayStation both ditched batteries for rechargeable controllers a long time ago, it seems a bit odd that Microsoft will continue to stick with the less environmental friendly option. However, the company does have their reasons for doing so, and it apparently comes down to user preference. During a press briefing attended by Eurogamer, Jason Ronald, partner director of program management at Xbox, said that doing so allowed allowed the company to please both sets of fans.

"What it comes down to is when actually talking to gamers, it's kind of polarising and there is a strong camp that really want AAs. So just giving flexibility is the way to please both [sets of] people... You can use a rechargeable battery pack and it works just like it does on the Elite, [but] it is a separate thing."

Xbox does sell an officially licensed rechargeable battery, but it costs an extra $24.99. It's interesting to hear that Microsoft believes half the fanbase prefers batteries, but batteries do have their advantages. During the press briefing, John Linneman of Digital Foundry pointed out that sticking with AA batteries makes the Xbox controller capable of working longer overall, as the lithium batteries inside rechargeable controllers will eventually die over the years. It's a rather compelling argument, particularly given the fact that the video game industry is notoriously bad at finding ways to preserve their games and peripherals for future use. Given how popular retro gaming continues to be, sticking with AA batteries might not be the worst idea.

It's interesting to see just how much Microsoft is looking for ways to appeal to the widest possible fanbase with the Xbox Series X controller. The design of the controller features a number of minor changes, meant to simultaneously make it more comfortable, while still feeling familiar. At the end of the day, it shows just how seriously Microsoft is about keeping their current base happy.

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