Xbox Series X's expandable storage is very expensive, but Microsoft says an SSD is necessary for new games


$220 for 1TB

As predicted, an extra terabyte of storage for the Xbox Series X won’t come cheap. You’ll have to pay nearly half the price of the Series X just to double the amount of space you’re working with.

Microsoft has been touting the Xbox Series X’s 1TB expandable storage card for a while now. It’s a proprietary PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD which is top of the line right now in terms of speed. It’s also very expensive, as Microsoft confirmed today that the official Seagate SSD will retail for $220. However, that’s in line with what PCIe 4.0 tech costs for now.

For anyone who’s looking at the Series X’s base 1TB internal SSD (or the Series S’ 512GB) and realizing it’s not enough for next-gen’s inevitably huge file sizes, biting the bullet on the external SSD isn’t the only option. USB 3.1 HDDs are supported on Xbox Series S/X, just as they were on Xbox One.

Going that route will require some install location Tetris, though. Microsoft presented the capabilities of HDDs and SSDs with this table:

The gist of it is that an external USB hard drive can store your Xbox Series X games but it can’t actually run them. When you want to play something, you’ll have to transfer it to the SSD. An HDD can play any of the backward compatible stuff from previous generations, but it needs to be on the SSD for new games.

The Seagate expansion card, however, exactly matches the performance of the internal SSD. It makes use of the Xbox Velocity Architecture, enabling it to deliver much quicker load times than games installed on a hard drive. In a perfect world where money is no constraint, it’s the optimal solution.

There’s hope for more options on the horizon, though. It’s tough to say how this pricing will hold up because PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs are so new. There’s no guarantee the cost will ever drop because this is a proprietary card. Fortunately, Microsoft tells The Verge that more expansion card manufacturers and sizes will be available in the future. Once the Seagate deal expires, it’s possible that third-party suppliers will launch their cards at prices that reflect the then-current cost of PCIe 4.0.

But, for now, the additional storage options boil down to paying a mint for the official SSD or make do by juggling installs from a USB HDD.

A Primer on the Simple and Custom Storage Options Available for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S at Launch [Xbox Wire]