Nintendo Switch OLED

Future Handheld Consoles Could Require Replaceable Batteries Thanks To New EU Legislation

Who said Switch has no AAAs??

New regulations have been revealed from the European Council (via Overkill) that are likely to have an effect on the manufacturing and/or sale of handheld gaming platforms in the future, including the likes of the Nintendo Switch and portable PC gaming machines like the Steam Dock and ASUS Rog Ally – or at least potential future iterations of them.

The new legislation, which is aiming to go into effect in 2027, is an effort to better regulate the manufacture, sale, recycling and disposal of batteries in all kinds of portable devices from laptops and tablets to smartphones and, as confirmed to Overkill by an EU official, handheld gaming machines. The new law will in essence require that all new portable device models (those released after it takes effect) have batteries than can be removed and replaced, as opposed to the currently-common practice of non-user serviceable batteries that encourage consumers to simply throw away and replace entire devices.

Although this law is specific to devices sold in the EU, and doesn’t require any devices already released before the 2027 start date to be redesigned to meet the new requirements even if they’re physically manufactured after the fact, it could very well have an impact on future gaming devices such as any potential new Nintendo handhelds released from 2027 onwards or future successors to machines like the Steam Deck. Manufacturers would likely opt to either offer a device with replaceable batteries across the globe to meet the EU requirement over splitting SKUs between regions, or even forgo releasing them in the EU at all depending on their view of the market.

Of course, it remains to be seen just how these changes take shape by the time they’re set to take effect, and how different manufacturers might work within the confines of the legislation. It seems fair to assume that something like a Nintendo handheld would have a somewhat more serviceable battery than before, but probably wouldn’t go as far as letting users pop off a plastic cover and switch in a proprietary battery sold on store shelves.

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You can read more about this new legislation from the European Council website here.