Handheld game consoles will need replaceable batteries by 2027

New regulation laid out by the Council of the European Union aims to regulate the entire life cycle of batteries.
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The Council of the European Union has laid out new regulation for electronic devices, with the aim to ‘regulate the entire life cycle of batteries’ in a way that is sustainable for the future. By mandating replaceable batteries, the EU hopes to reduce electronic waste, and ensure longevity for modern electronics.

According to details posted on the European Council website, this regulation will apply to all batteries ‘including all waste portable batteries, electric vehicle batteries, industrial batteries, starting, lightning and ignition batteries, and batteries for light means of transport.’

As Eurogamer points out, these bounds include handheld gaming consoles, like the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck. While the ruling only applies to EU countries, it does appear it’ll be enforced on any goods sold within the EU market.

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‘The new regulation aims to reduce environmental and social impacts throughout the life cycle of the battery,’ the EU says. ‘To that end, the regulation sets tight due diligence rules for operators who must verify the source of raw materials used for batteries placed on the market.’

Depending on the strictness of this implementation, it could mean companies like Nintendo, Valve, and ASUS are forced to reconfigure their handheld game offerings by 2027 – or otherwise, adapt their product for the EU market.

The European Union believes the timeline delivered is sufficient for ‘operators to adapt the design of their products to this requirement’. While the ruling will only come into effect in 2027, there is now increased pressure on manufacturers to ensure environmental sustainability in their future plans.

‘Batteries are key to the decarbonisation process and the EU’s shift towards zero-emission modes of transport,’ Teresa Ribera, Spanish minister for the ecological transition detailed in the EU announcement. ‘At the same time end-of-life batteries contain many valuable resources and we must be able to reuse those critical raw materials instead of relying on third countries for supplies.’

The move follows similar legislation to ensure portable electronic devices do not have proprietary charging cables that may breed unnecessary electronic waste. From late 2024, manufacturers of portable electronics hoping to gain a foothold in the EU will need to include USB Type-C charging as standard.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.