Microsoft confirming the Xbox Series S and a price tag of $299 might have been a damaging blow to the PlayStation 5, at least in terms of players still on the fence about what console to go for this holiday season. That smaller console with a significantly smaller price tag ($299 vs. $499), however, means you have to trade off built-in storage space, the high-end GPU, and just a bit of system memory. That 512 GB hard drive was probably the biggest blow, given the size of games for current-gen systems, but now we know why – according to Microsoft, reducing the size of the HD was the primary factor in shaving cost.
This confirmation comes via a leaked Xbox press briefing, where Liz Hamren – Head of Platform Engineering and Hardware – went into depth on the subject:
“When we move to SSD technology we get much, much higher performance, but of course that performance comes at a higher cost. Of course, more storage is always better, so we were trying to balance storage drive size as well as cost and we landed on 512[GB].”
Of course, you’re just not out of luck when it comes to storage, as the Xbox Series X – just like the Xbox Series X – will be compatible with Microsoft’s new proprietary Seagate expansion card. It will also support USB 3.1, which means you can connect a normal USB expansion drive.
“The Series S also supports the Seagate expansion card, and you can always connect your USB 3.1 drive for additional storage. And we’ve been working on a number of software features to help you more seamlessly manage your game library between the cloud and your console.”
Some have already tried to come out and say that your current USB 3.0 hard drives won’t be compatible with the new Series X and Series S, but Microsoft knows better and has already promised that won’t be an issue. There are two problems with this, however. The first problem is that next-gen games must be loaded from the SSD, so without the expansion card, we’ll be forced to transfer games from external drives to the internal drive any time we want to play. The other problem is that the 1TB Seagate expansion card is rumored to have a price of $220 – something that, when packaged with the Series S, would drive the price up to $520. In that case, you might as well just buy an Xbox Series X.
So, what gives? Well, as you know, Microsoft’s big push right now isn’t necessarily next-gen console but game streaming. And, that’s a big part of what its next-gen consoles are about. So, the Series S, while technically a next-gen system (without 4K hardware capability) is more for people that want to stream games than people who want the best hardware. The real take away here is how the faster SSD really impacting pricing of the next-gen Xbox as opposed to anything else, and that is kind of a big deal.
Until we learn more, be sure to check out everything we know about Series X pricing, launch date, and pre-ordering!