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Xbox Series X pad still supports AA batteries, Microsoft explains why

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X will offer bleeding-edge graphical and processing power, but within the controller, there’s tech that’s been around for more than a century.

Yes, the new-generation controller can still be powered by AA batteries first used in 1907, if not hooked-up to a rechargeable battery pack or connected directly to the console.

An interview with Jason Ronald, who is a director of program management at Xbox, said it all comes down to giving gamers the flexibility to play their way. Speaking to Eurogamer, Ronald says their was an 50/50 split among customers and the Xbox team on whether to support AA batteries.

He said: “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… You can use a rechargeable battery pack and it works just like it does on the Elite, [but] it is a separate thing.”

Some have argued that support for AAs preserve the longevity of the controllers, when internal cells die off, which is a pretty good point all things considered.

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The report also touched upon why Microsoft has opted to keep the controller design largely the same as the Xbox One model. The company has made small changes to make the controller a little more accessible to smaller hand sizes, but the basic design is the same.

“They’ve got a lot of muscle memory in there,” says Microsoft senior designer Ryan Whitaker.¬†“Some of the ways that we’ve found that we could increase accessibility is by rounding those corners on the bumper. We’ve taken in the opening by a few millimeters and the angle of attack there has changed by a degree. There are things that we knew we didn’t want to change, that includes things like thumbstick heights, we want to make sure that people’s muscle memories still there.”