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[Discussion] EU Regulation Prompts a Design Shift in Handheld Consoles: User-Replaceable Batteries by 2027

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Heralding a wave of change in handheld gaming, a recent regulation from the Council of the European Union demands that all devices, including handheld consoles, must have user-replaceable batteries by the year 2027. This measure is sure to impact the development of successors to existing devices like the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck.

According to Eurogamer, the regulations may not impact the current models of these popular devices but will certainly shape the next generation of handheld gaming systems. The EU Council, while acknowledging potential resistance from device manufacturers, assures that the given timeline until 2027 offers adequate time for them to adjust their product designs to meet this stipulation.

The new ruling describes a "readily removable" battery as one that an end-user can safely remove from a product using commonly available tools. Specialized tools, if required, must be provided with the product free of charge.

This change forms part of the EU's broader strategic move towards sustainable and eco-friendly practices. "Batteries are integral to the decarbonization process and the EU's transition towards zero-emission transport modes," stated Teresa Ribera, the Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition. The minister further stressed the importance of reusing valuable resources from end-of-life batteries, thereby reducing dependency on third countries for supplies.

While the timelines for the release of next-generation consoles from Nintendo or Valve remain unclear, this regulatory change might influence their launch dates. Valve's Steam Deck, being a recent entrant into the market, is unlikely to have a successor in the immediate future. Meanwhile, several other players like Sony are set to venture into the handheld market with innovations such as Project Q, a PlayStation 5 streaming device.

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