Xbox Series X controller is keeping the worst Xbox One feature

Xbox Series X controller
(Image credit: Xbox)

One of the biggest frustrations with the Xbox Wireless Controller will continue with the Xbox Series X. While the Series X controller brings some notable improvements, we've just learned that it will also stick with AA batteries over rechargeable ones. 

Why would Microsoft continue down this path that makes us have to keep buying more AA batteries (or a rechargeable battery pack) separately? Speaking to Digital Foundry, Xbox partner director of program management Jason Ronald says it's because some folks actually prefer just buying more batteries.

"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," said Ronald. Which leads to Microsoft's end result, a compromise that allows people to buy and use a rechargeable battery pack (Microsoft's costs $25).

Meanwhile, in the world of PS5 rumors, we've seen reports that Sony's doubling down on the internal batteries inside its controllers. A recently-revealed patent shows that game titan's considering wireless charging for its next-gen console gamepads.

The argument for controllers with replaceable batteries is simple: you just swap in new ones and you're good to go. Also, devices with internal rechargeable batteries typically get shorter and shorter battery life over time. Just look at your smartphone.

That being said, the inherent waste of cycling through AA batteries continues to feel as unfortunate and unnecessary as it is to pay for each new set. And since Microsoft packed a rechargeable battery into last year's Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, this move back to AA feels like a step backwards.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.