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Single-Use vs. Rechargeable: The Real Xbox Battery Debate

Posted by Tom Bishop on
Single-Use vs. Rechargeable: The Real Xbox Battery Debate

There is an ongoing debate in the gaming world over whether or not Microsoft continues to pack single-use disposable batteries with its Xbox controllers because Duracell is paying them to do so. The company's competitors, at least in the gaming space, have mostly transitioned to built-in lithium-ion batteries charged with a power cord. But there is actually a bigger issue at hand: whether single-use batteries should be used at all.

Multiple outlets recently ran with a statement suggesting that Microsoft and Duracell have an ongoing agreement to sell Xbox controllers packed with single-use batteries. No one denies the agreement is in place, but Microsoft insists their decision to include Duracell batteries has nothing to do with money or a promotional deal with Duracell. They say it is about choice.

The company claims that they have stayed away from hard-wired batteries in order to give consumers a choice. And in fact, their newest Xbox controllers can be operated without batteries at all. Gamers can plug the controllers into their Xbox units the old-fashioned way.

Battery Technology Is Important

From our perspective, battery technology is as important to gaming as anything else. Gamers want reliable batteries they know are not going to quit in the middle of their favorite games. They also want batteries that do not gradually fade as they discharge. Both single-use alkaline and USB rechargeable batteries provide the performance gamers need.

Batteries are preferred by gamers who don't want to be constrained by wires. Microsoft's strategy of giving gamers a choice between wired and wireless operation really fits that bill. Yet it still does not explain why Microsoft offers single-use batteries instead of their rechargeable counterparts with new Xbox controllers.

Rechargeable Batteries Are Better

It is our contention that rechargeable batteries are better for game controllers. Furthermore, we believe lithium-ion batteries capable of being charged with a standard USB cord are the best possible choice. Here's why:

  • Optimal Performance – Modern lithium-ion technology has proven itself. Our USB rechargeable batteries offer optimal performance from start to finish. Gamers don't lose any gaming performance by choosing PBE batteries over single use alkalines.
  • Over 1,000 Charges – Single use alkaline batteries are a one-and-done deal. Use them once and throw them away. USB rechargeables can be charged more than 1,000 times. In the end, this saves gamers a ton of money and it saves the world a lot of waste.
  • Gaming Convenience – With two sets of batteries for each Xbox controller, gamers enjoy unparalleled convenience. Gamers charge one set while the other is being used. Then they always have batteries ready to go. That means not having to run to the store every time single use batteries run out.
  • Environmental Friendliness – Today's gamers are more environmentally conscious than you might think. Moreover, they use a lot of battery power. Choosing USB rechargeable batteries keeps tens of thousands of alkalines out of landfills every year.
  • Recyclability – with regards to controllers with built in batteries, the product is harder to recycle when it reaches it’s end of life. Also, if you controller has an issue, you will be tossing a good battery, or if the battery has an issue, you’ll be tossing a good controller. By de-coupling the controller and the battery, Microsoft allows for better servicing and end of life recyclability of the controllers and batteries.

We commend Microsoft for a design centered around consumer choice. For our money, the best battery choice for Xbox controllers is non-integrated rechargeable batteries. They offer everything gamers need along with lower long-term costs and the opportunity to contribute to reducing environmental impact.

Technology Is the Real Debate

While the gaming world debates whether or not Microsoft has a secret deal with Duracell, the real debate is one of technology. USB rechargeable batteries are state-of-the-art, giving gamers a better option for powering their controllers.

We think Microsoft should consider rechargeable batteries from Pale Blue Earth. Switching over doesn't hinder giving consumers the options they want; performance, convenience, and improved sustainability. But it would replace inferior alkaline technology with a superior alternative. To us, it is well worth doing. What do you think?

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