Xbox Series S customers beware: you’ll only have about 364GB of useable space on the console’s 512GB SSD.
As reported by Kotaku, the lower-cost Series S console, which is meant as a cheaper alternative for people who don’t want all the power available in the Xbox Series X, has some unfortunate storage limitations. The news follows previews of the Series X from earlier this year where it was revealed that of the 1TB of storage built into the console, gamers would only have access to about 800GB. The other 200GB was set aside for the operating system and other files.
Although the Xbox Series S console reserved about 50GB less space for these same files, it also starts with about half as much storage as the Series X. And with the growing size of game files, 364GB of useable space won’t last long at all. Plus, the only way to get games on the Series S is to download them since it’s digital-only. I’d argue the 1TB on offer in the Series X is about the minimum the console should offer — anything less is practically criminal. The Series S’ 512GB storage is like Apple launching an iPhone 12 option with 16GB of starting storage — it just doesn’t make sense.
Kotaku helpfully lays out the storage requirements for several Xbox games to illustrate just how little 364GB really is. Halo: The Master Chief Collection clocks in at over 100GB. Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4 aren’t much smaller. Destiny 2 is set to shrink its file size when its Beyond Light expansion drops, putting it somewhere between 59 and 71GB (at the cost of several in-game locations, which has caused some controversy in the community). Currently, Destiny 2 uses about 109GB.
Activision announced its new Call of Duty: Cold War game will clock in at 136GB on the Series X and Series S, while the PlayStation 5 will be 133GB and older consoles will be between 93 and 95GB. On PC, it’ll be 125GB, but players can choose to uninstall certain chunks of the game, like the campaign, to save space.
While that definitely sounds bad, it’s also worth noting that game files could be smaller on the Series S compared to the Series X. One thing that really helps balloon the storage is high-res textures. With the Xbox Series X targeting 4K and the Series S aiming for lower resolutions, it’s possible developers could optimize their games to use less space on the lower-spec console. Whether developers actually make that happen remains to be seen.
Kotaku compared game file sizes on the Xbox Series X and S as well. It found that some games have identical sizes, or minimal differences of a few gigabytes. Other games, like Gears 5 and Sea of Thieves, have massive differences with the Series S file clocking in at as much as 30GB smaller.
Of course, you can expand the storage in both the Series X and Series S with a 1TB expansion card, but in Canada it costs $299 for the card. That’s a steep ask, especially when you consider the price of each console. An Xbox Series S with a storage card will cost you almost $80 more than the Xbox Series X. And considering the size of the storage on offer, you’re going to need that expansion card.