Xbox Series S Will Only Have 364 GB of Storage Free For Games

Xbox Series S Will Only Have 364 GB of Storage Free For Games

A large chunk of the digital-only console's drive is dedicated to the operating system.

With Xbox Game Pass and the simultaneous launch of a cheaper, digital-only alternative to the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is poised to focus even more on subscriptions and digital purchases in the future. Then again, folks who buy the Xbox Series S will likely find themselves in need of additional storage for all those downloaded titles.

Reviews for both the Series X and Series S went live today, meaning outlets that received the smaller, $299 Xbox model (see Polygon and IGN) can finally confirm that it only has 364 GB of usable space on its 512 GB drive. In contrast, the $499 Xbox Series X comes with a 1 TB drive that ends up having 802 GB of space left over once the operating system is accounted for.

To break down the numbers a bit, while the Xbox Series S uses less hard drive space for the operating system than the Xbox Series X does, it ends up losing a larger percentage of its built-in storage. About 29% of the Xbox Series S hard drive's space is unusable compared to around 20% for the Xbox Series X (leaks suggest that about 20% of the PS5's 825 GB of storage is off-limits as well).

Even before knowing how much space on the 512 GB drive wouldn't be usable, the reduction in storage on the Xbox Series S was a potential cause for concern. With a launch window title like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War weighing in at 136 GB on next-gen Xboxes, an average Xbox Series S buyer could easily see their entire built-in storage consumed by a handful of games installed within weeks or days of getting the console.

Both next-gen Xbox consoles support different forms of expandable storage, but it'll cost quite a bit for added space that's compatible with newer titles. You can hook up an external hard drive (solid state or otherwise) to an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S for game storage and backward compatibility titles, but Microsoft has decided to make its expandable, fast-loading NVMe storage solution a proprietary add-on. At launch, the only option for this will be a 1TB Seagate drive that costs $219.

The folks at Digital Foundry tested a range of external drives to find one that'll work best for the next-gen Xbox consoles when it comes to backups and older games, and lots of folks with Series S will surely make do with that before getting a proprietary drive. Microsoft also promises that some titles will take up less space on an Xbox Series S than they do on Series X. Still, 364 GB isn't a lot no matter how you slice it, and it could be a long while before we see cheaper expansion drives coming from Xbox.

For more on where Microsoft's next-gen hardware stands, read USgamer Editor-in-Chief Kat Bailey's review of the Xbox Series X.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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