Handheld consoles will be required to have replaceable batteries by 2027

consoles batteries

Handheld consoles sold within the EU, such as Nintendo Switch, will be required to have replaceable batteries in four years’ time.


 

A new regulation set out by the European Council could have a far-reaching impact on how the next generation of handheld devices – such as Nintendo’s successor to the Switch – will be designed.

As first reported by Overkill on 14 July, a new EU regulation will require all devices to have replaceable batteries by 2027. Designed to reduce the amount of waste batteries and their heavy metals from going to landfill, and encourage recycling, the regulation will apply to everything from toys to mobile phones to handheld games consoles.

The European Council’s incredibly wordy, 366 page document doesn’t specifically mention gaming devices, but an EU source has confirmed to Overkill that “the batteries of gaming handhelds are covered by the batteries and waste batteries regulation.”

The new legislation also stipulates that batteries should be “readily removable and replaceable by the end user”, adding that manufacturers should make the removal process a simple task requiring readily-available tools.

Or, alternatively, said manufacturers will be required to provide the necessarily tools – such as those tiny, tiny tri-wing screwdrivers Nintendo likes so much – that will allow a consumer to, say, replace the batteries in their Switch 2:

“A portable battery shall be considered readily removable by the end-user where it can be removed from a product with the use of commercially available tools, without requiring the use of specialised tools, unless provided free of charge with the product”.

The regulation won’t apply to existing products, so devices like Valve’s Steam Deck or the current Switch will be unaffected. Their successors, meanwhile, could well be required to comply with the new law – if Nintendo put out a Switch 2 next year, for example, then it would only be part-way through its life-cycle by 2027. Theoretically, Nintendo will have to design the Switch 2 so that it has accessible battery compartments, or put out a revised version of the device that complies with the regulation before it comes into effect on 31 December 2027.

How hardware manufacturers will react to the legislation remains to be seen. But given the amount of toxic chemicals that reside in batteries – such as cobalt and lithium – any move that will reduce their environmental impact is surely a good thing.

Read more: Sharp deletes mention of ‘new gaming console’ after Switch 2 speculation

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