Xbox Series X/S Gets Custom Storage Options, Pre-order Seagate Storage Expansion Card

For eighteen years and three console generations, the Xbox community has shown us the power both games and fun can have on all of us. As we enter a new generation of gaming, we see a future where you’re instantly absorbed in your games – where worlds are even more […]

For eighteen years and three console generations, the Xbox community has shown us the power both games and fun can have on all of us. As we enter a new generation of gaming, we see a future where you’re instantly absorbed in your games – where worlds are even more lifelike, immersive, responsive and surprising – and where you are at the center of your gaming experience. With the new Xbox Series X, we will realize that vision. 

Xbox Series X will be our fastest, most powerful console ever and set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility, allowing you to bring your gaming legacy, thousands of games from three generations and more forward with you. Its industrial design enables us to deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way, something that is critically important in delivering truly immersive gameplay. We also designed Xbox Series X to support both vertical and horizontal orientation. It’s bold and unique, very much like our fans around the world and the team of collaborators and innovators who built it.

Alongside Xbox Series X, Microsoft also unveiled the new Xbox Wireless Controller. Its size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people, and it also features a new Share button to make capturing screenshots and game clips simple and an advanced d-pad derived from the Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller. The new Xbox Wireless Controller will be compatible with Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, and will be included with every Xbox Series X.

Games today deliver amazing visuals and tell an array of different and deep stories.  That’s why, when we started work on Xbox Series X, it was vital we continue to advance state-of-the-art visual capabilities for developers, while also ensuring they could realize even greater feeling, emotion and empathy in their games. With Xbox Series X, we will elevate the way games look, play and feel. We will also remove the technical barriers faced in previous generations and enable developers to create more expansive, immersive gaming worlds that invite more players to play. 

To complement Xbox Series X and invite more players into the next generation sooner, we built Xbox Series S—an all-digital, next-gen console designed to deliver everything that is core to next-generation gaming – faster load times, higher frame rates, and richer, more dynamic worlds – in our smallest, sleekest Xbox ever. Developing two consoles in parallel from the beginning enables us to deliver the most powerful console ever in Xbox Series X and make next-gen gaming available and affordable to more players on day one with Xbox Series S.

Empowering you with freedom and choice is core to everything we do at Xbox. In addition to the traditional option of purchasing the new generation of Xbox Series X and S at $499 (Estimated Retail Price) and $299 (Estimated Retail Price) respectively, we’re expanding our Xbox All Access program to 12 countries this holiday, with more to come in 2021.

For Xbox players, backwards compatibility and Xbox Game Pass have made it possible for us all to have libraries of games at our fingertips at the beginning of the new console generation. One of the promises of Xbox Series X|S is the ability to play four generations of games: favorites, those we’ve yet to discover, the next generation games we can’t wait to play and those we can’t yet imagine are possible.

Therefore, decisions relative to storage, both internal and expansion, were a critical element of the design of Series X|S. Our teams focused on three storage priorities: performance, choice and accessibility. 

The Xbox Velocity Architecture is at the core of our next generation consoles. In addition to providing a massive leap in performance and reduction in load times, the Xbox Velocity Architecture provides the foundation for new levels of innovation and transformative game design and experiences. At the heart of the Xbox Velocity Architecture is our custom NVME SSD to store and play all your games at their best.

We also wanted to make it seamless to bring the large libraries of Xbox games you’ve already downloaded forward. The USB 3.1 storage you use today will be plug and play compatible with Xbox Series X|S. Support for high speed USB 3.1 storage was important to make the storage and transition of large game libraries easy and accessible to everyone.

You can also use USB 3.1 storage to store next generation games, optimized to take full advantage of the Xbox Velocity Architecture, for quick transfer and play on Series X|S.

And, for those who want to expand the total capacity of the custom NVME SSD of Xbox Series X|S we’ve collaborated with Seagate on a custom 1TB Storage Expansion Card, designed using the Xbox Velocity Architecture API, to deliver the exact same consistent, sustained, gameplay performance of our internal SSD. And, backwards compatible games played directly from the Storage Expansion Card will see significant improvements in load times due to the next generation performance of Xbox Series X|S.

Many of you have had questions about storage for Xbox Series X|S so here’s a quick Q&A with Jason Ronald, Director of Program Management, to dive deeper into the technology and options:  

Xbox Wire: Let’s start with the size of games and how that relates to Xbox Series X|S?

Jason Ronald: A significant portion of the overall size of a game is comprised of texture data. As Xbox Series S was designed with a performance target of 1440p at 60 FPS with support for up to 120 FPS, many games will not require their highest level of 4K textures resulting in smaller game sizes overall, often up to 30% smaller on average.

Xbox Wire: Is my existing USB-based HDD/SSD with my library of games compatible with Series X|S?

Jason Ronald: Yes! It is easy as unplugging your existing external USB 3.1 HDD or SSD from your Xbox One and connecting it to your Xbox Series X | S and all your games are instantly available. You can continue to play your favorite Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, directly from the external hard drive.

Xbox Wire: How will the Storage Expansion Card work with Xbox Series X|S?

Jason Ronald: It’s pretty simple: just plug the Storage Expansion Card into the Storage Expansion port on the back of your Xbox Series X|S and you can use it just as you would with any external storage solution. You can choose to install games to the expansion card by default, play games directly from it, move or copy games between local and external storage, or do anything you already do today with an external hard drive. The only difference is that the expansion card is designed to match the exact performance of the internal storage of the Xbox Series X|S .

Xbox Wire: How does the Storage Expansion Card enable the use of Xbox Velocity Architecture?

Jason Ronald: The foundation of the Xbox Velocity Architecture is our custom, internal SSD delivering 2.4 GB/s of raw I/O throughput, more than 40x the throughput of Xbox One. The Seagate Expandable Storage Card was designed using the Xbox Velocity Architecture API to deliver the exact same consistent, sustained performance of our internal SSD ensuring you have the exact same gameplay experience regardless of where the game resides.

Xbox Wire: Will you be able to play games right from the Storage Expansion Card or do they need to be copied to the internal storage?

Jason Ronald: You can play directly from the Storage Expansion Card and you will have the exact same experience and performance as if the game was running from the internal SSD. Not only does this apply to games optimized for Xbox Series X|S, but also your favorite backwards compatible Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. When backwards compatible games are played directly from either the internal SSD or the Storage Expansion Card you will see significant improvements in load times due to the next generation performance of Xbox Series X|S.

  USB 3.1 HDD Seagate Expansion Card
Stores any Xbox game Yes Yes
Plays Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Original Xbox games Yes Yes
Plays games optimized for Xbox Series X|S No Yes
Replicates speed and performance of internal SSD No Yes

Xbox Wire: Why did you decide to create a custom solution rather than enabling users to install off-the-shelf SSDs?

Jason Ronald: The Xbox Velocity Architecture delivers over 40x the performance of a standard hard drive, unlocking a new level of speed and performance that will virtually eliminate load times and enable new levels of innovation. To make this simple for both gamers and developers, we partnered closely with our friends at Seagate to deliver the very first 1 TB expandable storage solution that matches the exact performance of our internal SSD. This means that you can be confident you will receive the exact same next generation experience regardless of whether or not you are playing your games from the internal SSD or the Seagate Storage Expansion Card. Working with Seagate also enabled us to have a custom storage solution that is super compact, plug & play, and available at the launch of Xbox Series X|S . 

Xbox Wire: Will all Storage Expansion Cards come from Seagate or could we see them from other companies as well?

Jason Ronald: Seagate, with a storied history as a critical innovator in the storage industry, was our first choice to collaborate with to provide expandable storage solutions for the Xbox Velocity Architecture. Xbox is continuing to invest in the Expandable Storage category on Xbox Series X|S with goal of offering choice for Xbox fans, including additional capacities and implementations in the future.

Xbox Wire: Can I connect the Storage Expansion Card to any Series X|S?

Jason Ronald: Yes! Both Xbox Series X and S provide the same Storage Expansion Ports for the expansion card and the exact same card will work in both consoles. Simply plug it in and you’re ready to play! No setup required. The Storage Expansion Card is also a great way to bring your game library with you, to a friend’s house or wherever you choose to play on your next generation Xbox console.

Xbox Wire: How will the Storage Expansion Card work if I have games on discs versus digital format?

Jason Ronald: It works the same as it does on Xbox One today. When you insert a game disc, the game data is installed to the internal SSD or expandable storage. When you play the game, the game runs directly from local storage, but you must still have the disc inserted as the disc provides the license for the game.

Xbox Wire: Does Quick Resume work with the Storage Expansion Card?

Jason Ronald: Quick Resume is powered by the Xbox Velocity Architecture and game state data is persisted on the internal SSD so Quick Resume will work regardless of whether you are playing a game from the internal SSD, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card or an external USB 3.1 HDD or SSD drive.

Xbox Wire: Where can I get/pre-order the Storage Expansion Card?

Jason Ronald:  The Seagate Storage Expansion Card will launch for $219.99 USD alongside Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S on November 10 and will be available in all Xbox markets, worldwide. You can also pre-order now at Microsoft Store or select retailers in select markets worldwide. Check your local retailer for product and pre-order availability.

Xbox Wire: Why does the 1TB Storage Expansion Card cost $219.99?

Jason Ronald: The Xbox Velocity Architecture is a key innovation of our next generation consoles, delivering unprecedented speed and performance enabling transformative gaming experiences never before possible on console. This level of consistent, sustained performance requires advanced components which comes at a higher cost than traditional hard drives or SSDs often found in PCs. By partnering with an industry leader in Seagate, we worked together to deliver an expandable storage solution which delivers identical performance at the lowest cost possible and available this holiday.

Whether you’re upgrading to the newest consoles or joining the Xbox family for the first time, Xbox All Access is the easiest way to get the best of Xbox. Xbox All Access provides an Xbox Series X, or Series S, along with 24 months of the full Xbox Game Pass Ultimate experience. In total, that means you get access to:

  • The next-generation Xbox console of your choice
  • Over 100 high-quality games to play on console, including next-gen Optimized games
  • Over 100 high-quality games to play on PC
  • An EA Play membership to play more than 60 of EA’s biggest and best console and PC games
  • And over 100 games to play from the cloud

That’s all with no upfront costs and a low monthly price. Xbox Series S will be available starting from $24.99 a month for 24 months and Xbox Series X will be available starting from $34.99 a month for 24 months.

To provide even more value, we are teaming up with Electronic Arts to provide Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PC members with an EA Play membership at no additional cost starting this holiday. This means Ultimate members can enjoy EA Play on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Windows 10 PCs, and Xbox Game Pass for PC members get EA Play on Windows 10. In addition to the 100+ games in the Xbox Game Pass library today, Ultimate and PC members will be able to play more than 60 of EA’s biggest and best console and PC games like FIFA 20, Titanfall 2 and Need for Speed Heat, as well as titles from some of EA’s most popular franchises like Battlefield, Mass Effect, Skate, and The Sims. Some of the best EA Play games will also be available for Ultimate members to play on Android devices from the cloud at no additional cost.

And we’re continuing to add great games and experiences to Xbox Game Pass for PC. Game Pass for PC and the Xbox App will become generally available on September 17.

Optimized games for Xbox Series X and Series S coming this year are built to take full advantage of our fastest consoles ever. On day one you will be the first to enjoy next-gen versions of the most anticipated games of the year such as Gears Tactics, Tetris Effect: Connected and Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion. Ubisoft is known for leveraging new technologies and the power of new hardware to deliver groundbreaking games, and we think you’ll be blown away by the experience you’ll have playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion on Xbox.

Xbox Series S is designed around the same technology that will make these games and so many others look and feel incredible. In speaking to game developers, we identified the areas that are most difficult to scale effectively, including the CPU and I/O, and made it easy to include Xbox Series S for developers who are targeting their experiences for Xbox Series X.

The Xbox Series S is an all-digital next-gen console designed to deliver everything that is core to next-generation gaming – faster load times, higher frame rates, and richer, more dynamic worlds – in our smallest Xbox ever. Available at $299 (Estimated Retail Price), Xbox Series S will join Xbox Series X this holiday giving you another way to jump into the next generation.  

Featuring a compact new design in Robot White, Xbox Series S is the smallest Xbox ever created and was built to easily fit into your home and lifestyle. Xbox Series S is also perfect for digital-first gamers and our fans who want to bring their games with them wherever they play. Xbox Series S includes our new Xbox Wireless Controller, also in Robot White. This controller will also be available as a standalone purchase this holiday and includes all of the same features we’ve detailed to date such as improved ergonomics, our hybrid D-pad, textured grip on the triggers, bumpers and back, as well as the new dedicated Share button. 

Xbox Series S delivers the same next generation speed and performance that define Xbox Series X. It is similar in CPU and has the identical I/O performance as Xbox Series X, making it easier for developers to deliver the same great performance, while rendering at a lower resolution. Xbox Series S delivers 4x the processing power of an Xbox One console and supports experiences up to 120fps, more immersive and responsive gameplay with support for hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing and Variable Rate Shading. In addition, Xbox Series S includes 512GB of custom SSD storage and is powered by the Xbox Velocity Architecture, delivering more than 40x the I/O bandwidth of an Xbox One resulting in faster loading times, steadier frame rates and Quick Resume for multiple titles.

You’ll also experience the same great audio on Xbox Series S that you will on Xbox Series X with Spatial Sound, including support for Dolby Atmos. What’s more, support for Dolby Vision via streaming media apps like Disney+, Vudu and Netflix will be available across Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X at launch, and Dolby Vision support for gaming will come first to our next-gen Xbox consoles in 2021.

The primary difference between Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S is in resolution. Through talking to our customers, we found that many of our fans prioritize framerate over resolution, so we wanted to build a console that didn’t require a 4K TV. Xbox Series S delivers approximately 3x the GPU performance of Xbox One and was designed to play games at 1440p at 60 frames per second, with support for up to 120fps. With the increased efficiency we get from the next generation AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture combined with the virtual memory multipliers enabled through the Xbox Velocity Architecture, Xbox Series S will deliver performance and experiences well beyond the raw specs. In addition, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S share the same development environment, tools and capabilities, all of which enable developers to build and release their content across consoles more easily while still taking advantage of the unique hardware capabilities of the next generation. 

In addition, games built for the next generation will be Optimized for both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Titles that support Smart Delivery will automatically detect what device you are playing on – Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X or Xbox One – and deliver the best version of the game available to you, ensuring you only ever have to purchase your games once. Like Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S supports the Seagate Storage Expansion Card where you can add 1TB of additional storage with the full speed and performance of the Xbox Velocity Architecture. While your previous generation Xbox titles can still be played directly from your existing external USB 3.1 hard drives, to receive all the benefits of the Xbox Velocity Architecture and optimal performance, games Optimized for Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X must be played from the custom internal SSD or a Seagate Storage Expansion Card.

We’re expanding Xbox All Access this holiday to bring you more ways to jump into this next generation. With Xbox All Access, you can get a next generation Xbox with 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with no upfront cost, for just $34.99/month for 24 months for Xbox Series X and $24.99/month for 24 months for Xbox Series S. If you are already an Xbox All Access customer, you can take advantage of our flexible upgrade options. We’re expanding Xbox All Access to fans in 12 countries this holiday, expanding to Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, South Korea and Sweden. For details and supporting retailers and partners visit Xbox.com/XboxAllAccess.

From a technical standpoint, this will manifest as world-class visuals in 4K at 60FPS, with possibility of up to 120FPS, including support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and 8K capability. Powered by our custom-designed processor leveraging the latest Zen 2 and next generation RDNA architecture from our partners at AMD, Xbox Series X will deliver hardware accelerated ray tracing and a new level of performance never before seen in a console.  Additionally, our patented Variable Rate Shading (VRS) technology will allow developers to get even more out of the Xbox Series X GPU and our next-generation SSD will virtually eliminate load times and bring players into their gaming worlds faster than ever before.

We are minimizing latency by leveraging technology such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and giving developers new functionality like Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) to make Xbox Series X the most responsive console ever.  Xbox Series X is also designed for a future in the cloud, with unique capabilities built into the hardware and software to make it as easy as possible to bring great games to both console and elsewhere. Xbox Series X will deliver a level of fidelity and immersion unlike anything that’s been achieved in previous console generations.   

One of the things we’re most proud of with Xbox Series X is the promise we’re delivering to our fans who have and continue to invest with Xbox. Thanks to backward compatibility, you can expect your gaming legacy, thousands of your favorite games across four generations of gaming, all your Xbox One gaming accessories, and industry-leading services like Xbox Game Pass to be available when you power on your Xbox Series X in Holiday 2020.

Building on our compatibility promise, with Xbox Series X we’re also investing in consumer-friendly pathways to game ownership across generations. Leading the way with our first-party titles including Halo Infinite in 2020, we’re committed to ensuring that games from Xbox Game Studios support cross-generation entitlements and that your Achievements and game saves are shared across devices.  As we branch out and extend gaming to more players around the world, console gaming will remain at the heart of our Xbox offering.  Game creators around the globe are already hard at work building content for Xbox Series X and our 15 Xbox Game Studios are developing the largest and most creatively diverse lineup of Xbox exclusive games in our history. On behalf of Team Xbox, we’re excited to enter the future of console gaming with you and can’t wait to share more in 2020.

Xbox Series X will be available November 10, 2020 for $499, whiole the Xbox Series X will retail for $299

More articles about Microsoft

Next Post

Amazon reveals cloud gaming service Luna

Amazon is diving into the world of cloud gaming with their own service that will let players game on different devices. Amazon has made it abundantly clear that they intend to extend their empire into the world of gaming. With their own studio and original titles in development, the company […]