Just like Sony's PlayStation 5, Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S consoles support SSD upgrades. There is a catch, though: the storage expansion card comes in a proprietary form-factor, so it is only available from one manufacturer and is rather expensive. However, according to a new report, there is a cheaper yet less capacious version incoming: Microsft and Seagate are preparing a new 500GB storage upgrade for the Xbox Series X | S consoles for roughly $150 USD.
Storage expansion cards for Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S are mandated to support the Xbox Velocity Architecture for storage and be just as fast as an internal SSD. At the moment, Seagate's 1TB storage expansion card is the only upgrade option, and it's available for $219.99 in the U.S. and €209 in Europe. In contrast, standard 1TB M.2 NVMe SSDs cost $100 – $130, so the value isn't exactly great, which is frustrating (there is a way to make a DIY card for Xbox X|S, though).
To make storage upgrades cheaper, Microsoft and Seagate are preparing to launch a 500GB expansion card that will be available in Europe starting November 14, 2021, reports XboxSquad.fr. Several stores in France have already listed the unit but had to remove the listing because the product has not been launched yet.
Seagate's 500GB storage expansion card for Xbox Series X|S consoles is set to cost €154.99 ($151 without VAT) at Micromania.fr, which is evidently cheaper than the 1TB version. However, that's still too expensive compared to standard 500GB SSDs (meaning that the 500GB drive is even less of a value than the 1TB model).
For Seagate, making the Xbox Series X|S storage expansion cards isn't cheap. The SSDs have to support a very specific set of features (i.e., specific components and firmware), meet certain performance standards (requires validation), and use a proprietary form-factor. Finally, Microsoft wants a portion of the profits for every drive sold. If there was more competition, such as having several different suppliers, perhaps those expansion cards would be at least a bit cheaper. For now, it doesn't seem that Microsoft will open production up to more partners.