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Steam Deck and all gaming handhelds will need replaceable batteries by 2027 due to new EU regulations

"Batteries are key to the decarbonisation process"

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor running on a Steam Deck.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

The European Council of the European Union has set out new regulations on the production and recycling of portable batteries that means all devices and appliances - including gaming handhelds such as the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally - will need to have removable and replaceable batteries from 2027 onwards. The recently adopted regulation aims to “strengthen sustainability rules for batteries and waste batteries,” according to the European Council's press release, as well as ensuring that they’re “safe, sustainable and competitive.”

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The European Council’s recently published document doesn't mention gaming devices specifically, but an 'EU source' speaking to Overkill has reportedly confirmed that “the batteries of gaming handhelds are covered by the batteries and waste batteries regulation.”

According to the document, a device’s portable battery can be considered “readily removable and replaceable” when it can be removed “with the use of commercially available tools” or specialised tools that are packaged with the product at no extra cost. The aim is to “regulate the entire life cycle of batteries - from production to reuse and recycling,” since you can just replace your device’s faulty batteries, rather than replacing the whole device.

"Batteries are key to the decarbonisation process and the EU's shift towards zero-emission modes of transport,” Spanish minister for ecological transition Teresa Ribera said in a statement. “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."

These requirements will only affect new devices released after 2024, which means any future versions of the Steam Deck sold in Europe, for instance, will more than likely include the option.

Our hardware editor James found that the Steam Deck’s battery life varies wildly depending on the game. In his Steam Deck review, one worst-case scenario had the handheld last only one hour and 23 minutes before running out of power. Luckily, there are plenty of games with more staying power than that, and you can check out our picks of the 30 best Steam Deck games here. It’ll be a while until you can “readily” crack open your handhelds like a clamshell, after all.

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