Microsoft is shipping the Xbox Series X — its brand new game console — with AA batteries, which feels cheap and out of date in 2020.
- The Xbox Series X is shipping with AA batteries for the controller.
- AA batteries work fine, at least before they die and you have to throw them out. But they feel dated, cheap, and out of place for a device that's meant to control a sophisticated and powerful gaming machine.
- A rechargeable battery pack would have been better. Sony has been using rechargeable battery packs in its console controllers since 2007 with the PlayStation 3's DualShock 3 controller.
- Microsoft says it includes AA batteries with the Xbox Series X to offer its customers a choice of what kind of battery they want to use.
- It makes sense, but it also means the price tag for an Xbox Series X controller isn't final. Either you need to keep buying AA batteries, buy rechargeable AA batteries, or buy a rechargeable battery pack, which adds to the cost of the standard Xbox Series X controller.
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I had to rewind YouTuber Austin Evans' video about Microsoft's new Xbox Series X after he said something about the battery situation on the Xbox Series X controller.
Yep, I heard correctly: Microsoft is shipping the Xbox Series X controller with AA batteries.
I thought we were over this. Sony has been over this for 10 years, back since 2007 with the PlayStation 3's DualShock 3 wireless controllers, which shipped with a rechargeable battery pack.
In the grand scheme of things, AA batteries get the job done. But the single-use and disposable nature of these batteries feels out of place, cheap, and low-tech in the year 2020. When I go online to buy AA batteries and I think about the devices that use them, the Xbox controller will stick out like a sore thumb:
TV remote, kitchen digital thermometer, smart thermostats, the controller with improved latency for the Microsoft Xbox Series X with ray tracing and 12 teraflops of power and 8K ready and 120 frames per second gameplay.
Regardless, here's Microsoft's reasoning behind the decision to ship the Xbox Series X controller with AA batteries instead of a rechargeable battery pack, according to a Microsoft spokesperson:
"The Xbox Wireless Controller uses AA batteries in order to offer choice to players. As with all our work at Xbox, we place the player at the center of the gaming experience, and so we decided to maintain AA batteries for choice. This way, gamers can choose whether they use disposable AA batteries, rechargeable AA batteries or a rechargeable battery pack."
The logic is sound. Choice is good. But also, c'mon. It means the final price tag of an Xbox Series X controller is never "final." You have to keep buying AA batteries, or buy rechargeable AA batteries, or buy a rechargeable battery pack.
AA batteries are cheap, but I'd suggest Xbox One and Xbox Series X owners just bite the bullet and buy a $25 rechargeable battery pack for their Xbox controllers. Over time, the cost of replacing AA batteries in your controllers will go beyond the cost of a rechargeable battery pack.