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Xbox memory cost is turning heads

Pre-orders for the Xbox Series X and Series S began earlier this week, and they sold like gangbusters. While there have been reports suggesting that some people may have ordered the wrong Xbox, many fans are secure in the knowledge that they managed to snag one of the next-gen systems. Now, pre-orders have become available for an external solid-state drive (or SSD) that is causing a bit of an uproar among Xbox fans.

A 1TB external SSD from Seagate is currently available for pre-order from Best Buy. This is an exciting new accessory, since it will allow gamers to expand the SSD storage of their Series X and Series S consoles. However, the Seagate SSD is currently priced at $219.99, which is quite a bit higher than some people were apparently expecting.

According to The Verge, Microsoft intends to announce SSDs with different sizes and price points further down the road. At the moment, however, Seagate is the only manufacturer that has access to the proprietary technology that makes the next-gen SSD tick. For now, it's this Seagate model or none at all, at least if you plan on putting next-gen games on an external drive.

On Twitter, Xbox's Larry Hyrb cleared up a bit of the confusion that may have stemmed from the reveal of this storage drive. Hyrb tweeted, "You can continue to use your USB 3.1+ external hard drives on Xbox Series X & run Xbox One, 360 and OG Xbox games directly from the external USB HDD. Games optimized for Xbox Series X & Velocity Architecture need to be run from the internal SSD or the Expandable Storage Drive."

Basically, Hyrb wants gamers to know that their current external hard drives won't be rendered completely obsolete when the Series X and Series S come out. However, their use will become a little more limited in scope. The USB drives that many gamers currently use to run games from Xbox One and earlier consoles will still work for those games when plugged into an Xbox Series X. However, these older drives are not able to run Xbox's new Velocity Architecture, which has been described as the "soul" of the Series X. In other words, if gamers want an external drive capable of running new games optimized for the Xbox Series X, then they will need to make the upgrade to this new Seagate drive.

At the moment, the SSD's price tag appears to be the main sticking point for fans. On its face, the $219 cost is already a bit steep for some budgets, but when you add it onto the overall cost of the console it's meant to be paired with, it comes to a pretty hefty sum. And unfortunately, this external SSD is looking more and more like a necessary component for the new Xbox consoles, particularly the Series S.

Ever since the specs for the Xbox Series S were officially released, it has been assumed that gamers would want some type of storage expansion to go with it. The console's NVMe Solid State Drive is only 512 GB. Given the large file sizes of many modern games and the console's all-digital nature, gamers don't have too many alternatives if they don't want to delete a game every other time they want to install a new one. At that point, the external SSD seems like a sound investment.

However, some fans seem to be shocked by the fact that they have to purchase a brand new storage drive in order to play newer games. This has really rubbed some people the wrong way. Some fans have expressed feeling tricked by Microsoft, since this Seagate SSD wasn't even announced until after pre-orders for the Xbox Series X and Series S were announced and sold.

While this may be a frustrating aspect of the product rollout, there is one thing about the Series S that will help with storage issues. During a recent interview with GameSpot, Xbox's Jason Ronald explained that game files on the Series S will be roughly 30% smaller than those seen on the Series X. This is because the Series S aims for a lower level of graphic fidelity, and as Series S fans were recently dismayed to learn, the console doesn't automatically upscale backwards-compatible games. While this will aid gamers in being able to store more games on the Series S's smaller internal SSD, it's still not a total fix. For the people who don't like deleting any of their gaming progress, it seems like this pricey expandable storage drive is the only way to go.

Then again, the reason this SSD drive is expensive is because of its capabilities. A lot of work and ingenuity has gone into the SSD for the new Xbox consoles. The results can be seen in such awesome features as Quick Resume, which allows players to swap between multiple games on the fly without any long load times. So yes, it's a pricey proposition, but it may prove to be worth it for gamers in the long run, particularly if they are set on getting the Xbox Series S.