Microsoft's decision to ship the Xbox Series X controller with AA batteries has sparked plenty of debate. We've heard from many Pure Xbox commenters and voters on both sides of the argument, and now, in a conversation with Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, the company has addressed the decision directly.
The comments come from Partner Director of Program Management at Xbox Jason Ronald, who suggests customer feedback is very much 50/50 on the subject:
"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..."
An expected response then, and Digital Foundry even indicates that opinion was split during its hands-on event at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA. Apparently, tech YouTuber Austin Evans felt it was potentially time to move on from AA batteries, while Digital Foundry's John Linneman suggested AA support means the controller will still work perfectly in years to come, while "internal cells fade and die".
Where do you stand in the argument? Let's re-open the debate in the comments below.
having an internal battery is fine, but they just need to make sure that the batteries can be easily replaced and at least with MS doing it like this you can do that easily, you put in a plug and play kit if you want a chargeable battery and when it dies you can easily replace it or use AA batteries in an emergency
This really should please most people, so the debate is odd. Disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries or a battery pack. The choice is yours. MS has the best solution.
I’m totally fine with MS still giving us the choice of either batteries or battery packs (I always use battery packs, it’s just cheaper than constantly buying and changing AA batteries) but in this day and age of modern technology I’d of thought they’d of made a controller that’s capable of being charged wirelessly by now.
I would agree. There are countless options to get rechargeable batteries for your controllers. AA's future proof the controller. Wish the Elite Series 2 had a AA slot. And the Switch Pro Controller too!
I prefer using regular AA batteries. At least when those die I can run to a dollar store and get replacements. If a priority battery dies (to the point of not charging) you have to either buy a whole new controller or a replacement battery and those are usually expensive as hell.
I usually buy the play and charge kit for my Xbox controllers. Best option, imo. Paid $20 for the first one I got for the 360 in 2005 which lasted me until 2011 and got another that is still going. Bought one for the Xbox One controller in 2013 and that's still working fine.
I don't see why we can't go the 360 route, having a rechargeable battery that can be swapped out with AA batteries.
The lack of this option is one of the only issues I have with the Switch Pro-controller.
Choice > No choice
I totally agree with Digital Foundry's John Linneman who suggested AA support means the controller will still work perfectly in years to come, while "internal cells fade and die". NONE of my DS3 controllers will now work wirelessly because the built in rechargeable batteries are dead and will NOT hold a charge. All my 360 controllers will still work wirelessly - even if the rechargeable battery packs die. I do have a few packs of standard AA rechargeable batteries too or can use just regular AA's as well - point is, they are still 'wireless' whilst NONE of my DS3 controllers are.
Choice is ALWAYS better than NO choice. Its not as if you can't use rechargeable AA's and no doubt, play and charge battery packs too. Its MUCH cheaper to replace the battery pack than replace the whole controller too...
@Gamer83 I just use rechargeable batteries from Energizer. I have about 20 or so laying around the house.
I prefer the AA batteries.
AA batteries are absolutely the right call. I can buy a play and charge kit, and when it won't hold a charge anymore, I can replace it with another one. With an internal battery I would have to replace the actual controller, which is a lot more expensive than a play and charge kit
What's dumb is that they won't do like the 8bitdo SN30 Pro+, it has an internal rechargeable battery that can be taken out and replaced with AAs if it dies or goes bad, the most annoying thing about Xbox (other than the god awful offset sticks) is the fact that you have to buy batteries (whether AAs, rechargeable AAs, or a rechargeable pack) no matter what
I think the choice is fine but should come with rechargeable AA batteries in the box.
I do the same. I have been buying the charge & play kit for years (going back to the 360 days). It’s better than replacing a controller. And the cord is so long that if I have to charge while playing (it’ll charge overnight if plugged into the Xbox, even if the console it turned off), I can still enjoy myself.
"So just giving flexibility is the way to please both [sets of] people..."
Apparently not. 😒
And also a battery charger, I assume? 😕
@gingataisen some way to charge them, perhaps a cable that can be plugged from the controller to the system to charge them. Would have to set up the Xbox controller to be able to recharge AA. Could also just make the controller a little cheaper than the competition and that would also be fine (which is the case currently around me with the Xbox one controller right now, just want them to continue that onto the series x controller). Addition: the advantage of having AA rechargeables over a battery pack would be the ability to still use nonrechargeable AA batteries. Let’s say your chargeable AA died, then you could put in your regular AA and keep playing cordless. When done playing, you could put back in the chargeables and plug the controller to the system via cable. You may be thinking cost, but from what I found a AA battery charger that charges two batteries can run $5. If incorporated into the controller and mass produced, that price can be driven way down and perhaps some of the components are already present in the existing controller to begin with.
I just don't see how incorporating a charging mechanism into the controller would end up not making it more expensive. Like you said, a charger can be secured for just $5, so going that route seems more practical.
@gingataisen with what I’ve seen with the Xbox series x I’m very happy with (as long as it hits that $499 price point which I’m confident it will). Additionally, I’d be very happy if additional controllers for the series x were $5 cheaper than the PS5 controller (like the current Xbox controllers are right now) but if they are the same price as PS5 controllers (and PS5 controllers come with a rechargeable option) than I would like Xbox to include something rechargeable as well (but ultimately it’s fine and my money is already set aside for it). I feel if Sony can charge $5 more for controllers, I would happily pay the same for Xbox controllers that came with the rechargeable AA batteries and a way to charge them. I really believe that Microsoft could incorporate a way to do it and still make it the same price as a PS5 controller though it’s really alright with the way they decided to go.
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