Microsoft suggests the reason is to offer consumers a choice
The Xbox’s use of batteries in its controllers is claimed to be the result of a long-running deal between the company and Duracell, according to the latter.
In an interview with Stealth Optional, Duracell’s UK marketing manager Luke Anderson was quizzed on why the controller supports AA batteries, opposed to simply having an internal rechargeable battery much like the PlayStation controllers.
Anderson stated that “there’s always been [a] partnership with Duracell and Xbox in place” and it’s due to a “constant agreement” between the two companies.
The deal also extends towards Duracell, too, as Anderson fully explained the deal that transpires between the two companies:
“[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].”
However, Microsoft have reportedly issued a statement to Eurogamer stating otherwise and that the reasons behind keeping batteries an option is to give “consumers [a] choice”:
“We intentionally offer consumers choice in their battery solutions for our standard Xbox Wireless Controllers,” a Microsoft spokesperson told the publication. “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.”
It seems Microsoft also tried to strike up a deal with Nintendo many years ago, according to a recent report. However, it was said that Nintendo simply “laughed their asses off” at the proposition.