Portable Gaming Consoles Will Soon Come With Replaceable Batteries

Handheld consoles like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch will be required to have batteries you can replace yourself under a new EU law.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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If you've been waiting to buy yourself a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck, you may want to wait a little longer. The next generation of handheld gaming consoles could all come with batteries that you can replace yourself, thanks to a new regulation in the European Union.

The rule, adopted by the European Council on July 10, as reported earlier by Eurogamer, is designed to improve sustainability and reduce battery waste.

"Batteries are key to the decarbonisation process," Teresa Ribera, Spanish minister for the ecological transition, said in a statement. "End-of-life batteries contain many valuable resources, and we must be able to reuse those critical raw materials."

The regulation "will apply to all batteries including all waste portable batteries, electric vehicle batteries, industrial batteries, starting, lightning and ignition (SLI) batteries (used mostly for vehicles and machinery) and batteries for light means of transport (e.g. electric bikes, e-mopeds, e-scooters)," the European Council said last week.

This would also include portable handheld gaming consoles, like those from Nintendo and Valve. 

What does the regulation require?

The new rule means you would be able to remove and replace your own gaming console battery by 2027 in the EU. Portable batteries must be "readily removable and replaceable by the end-user at any time during the lifetime of the product."

Companies will also be required to provide information on the carbon footprint of their batteries, including the battery's components and recycled content, a QR code with more info and a "battery passport." Labeling requirements will kick in during 2026, and QR code requirements by 2027.

While this new regulation will only apply in the EU, it could result in console makers ensuring replaceable batteries worldwide rather than making a separate device for the European market. Nintendo and Valve didn't respond to a request for comment.

The EU's crackdown on e-waste has also seen it make the USB-C charging cable standard across all devices from 2024. Apple will have to switch the iPhone from its proprietary Lightning cable to USB-C to comply.