Players who’ve been struggling with a handheld gaming device that won’t hold a charge anymore may soon be in luck. A new law passed by the European Council will require user-replaceable batteries in all portable electronics sold in the European Union, including handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch, beginning in 2027.
Future versions of systems like the Steam Deck and Switch will be required to have replaceable batteries
As noted by GamesIndustry.biz, a new law passed by the European Council meant to shore up sustainability rules for batteries is set to have a major impact on handheld gaming machines. Under the new regulations batteries in consumer devices, including products like Valve’s Steam Deck and the ROG Ally gaming handheld, will have to be easily accessible and replaceable by consumers. Gaming site Overkill spoke to an E.U. source who confirmed that gaming handhelds fall under the new law and “are covered by the batteries and waste batteries regulation.”
The new law seeks to “reduce environmental and social impacts throughout the lifecycle of the battery” and was initially proposed in late 2022. The law also introduces new regulations regarding the recycling of batteries from consumer devices. Current handhelds don’t appear to be affected by the new E.U. regulations, which means that users hoping to pick up the new Nintendo Switch OLED Splatoon 3 edition and quickly swap in a new battery down the line are probably out of luck.
Though it applies only to E.U. countries, the new law will potentially impact future gaming handhelds worldwide when it takes effect in 2027. Rather than releasing different versions of successors to the Switch and Steam Deck for different regions, which could prove costly, companies like Nintendo and Valve will likely implement replaceable batteries in the devices worldwide. Current handhelds often require users to either void their warranty in order to replace the battery or use a service like Valve’s Steam Deck repair centers, so this new law should come as welcome news for fans of gaming on the go.