Microsoft still uses AA batteries for its Xbox controllers and, according to a very odd interview with a Duracell spokesperson, the battery manufacturer may have something to do with why.
Take this one with a pinch of salt. Luke Anderson, Duracell's UK marketing manager, said to 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."
"[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].”
Duracell has long provided the batteries that come with the controllers in new Xbox consoles, and also regularly promote the use of their batteries in Xbox controllers on Twitter (opens in new tab). But it seems bizarre that a partnership with a battery company would halt Microsoft's move to the more widely-used lithium-ion batteries, and it is possible that Anderson gave a misleading impression, and simply means that Duracell supplies the batteries Microsoft wants.
Tag the person you love deeply, trust fully, and play @Xbox games with constantly. #XboxElite pic.twitter.com/zcYbI2haYQNovember 9, 2018
Microsoft responded to a query made by MCV/Develop and rather annoyingly dodged the question, saying, “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.”
While Microsoft wouldn't discuss any deal they may or may not have with Duracell, they seem to be framing their use of removable batteries as a free choice rather than the result of an agreement.
Controllers might not be the peripheral of choice for many PC gamers, but they're becoming increasingly common to have one as part of your gaming setup. When you don't need the precise aim of a first-person shooter, they can provide a more comfortable, relaxed experience. We've put together a list of the best PC controllers, for when your mouse and keyboard simply won't do.
Update: This story was expanded to add clarification to Duracell's statement.