Back in March, we warned you that the proprietary NVMe storage expansions used in the Xbox Series X (and now the Xbox Series S) could be quite a bit pricier than more traditional storage options. Today, we got apparent confirmation of that fact as Microsoft and Best Buy have listed Seagate’s “Game Drive for Xbox Series X and Series S” as a $220 pre-order ahead of its launch Nov. 10.
For comparison, Seagate’s own 1TB external USB 3.0 hard drives are listed on Best Buy for just $57.49. A 1TB external solid state drive from Seagate will run you $160, still 27-percent cheaper than the NVMe Game Drive.
The Seagate Game Drive is cheaper than a comparable microSD card, though; Best Buy is asking $299 for a 1TB SanDisk card compatible with the likes of the Nintendo Switch.
A standard external hard drive or SSD will work with the Xbox Series S/X, but only backward-compatible games from earlier Xbox systems will run directly from that drive. Games designed for the Series S/X can be stored on external hard drives as backup, but these games will need to be transferred to NVMe storage (such as Seagate’s Game Drive or the system’s internal storage) to run. That’s to enable the quick-loading and efficient texture-streaming technology Microsoft is branding as the Xbox Velocity Architecture.
The cost of NVMe expansion could be particularly important for players considering the Xbox Series S, which only comes with 512GB of internal storage (compared to 1TB on the Series X). Many major Xbox One games are already pushing well past the 50GB functional limit of a single Blu-Ray disc, thanks to “day one” downloadable updates and patches. Games that are “optimized” for Series S/X could end up even bigger, thanks to the level of texture detail needed for detailed 1440p or 4K images, respectively.
The storage expansion situation may not be too much better on the PS5. Sony said in March that the upcoming system would support “certain M2 SSDs” that support the system’s 5.5GB/s internal spec. That would likely require drives that meet the new PCIe 4.0 standard, which currently run roughly $200 for 1TB of storage.
Sony says it has been conducting benchmarking and PS5 compatibility tests on multiple drives. Public confirmation of the first such drives that are officially certified as PS5 compatible will “likely be a bit past that [launch],” Sony said in March.
Listing image by Microsoft / Eurogamer