On the heels of a $220 price point for Xbox Series X and S storage cards, Microsoft has released (opens in new tab) a boat-load of details regarding new and existing storage options.
After the price, the biggest news is probably that all existing USB hard drives will be supported on Xbox Series X and S at launch. Here's a handy chart breaking down what each storage option can do:
One critical detail not mentioned in this chart is that, while USB hard drives can't play Xbox Series X games, they can store them temporarily. As Xbox explained in a blog post, "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."
Said differently, you can put a next-gen game on your USB hard drive and then transfer it to your console's main SSD or storage card when you want to play it. This will still require moving some big files around, but it will save you space on your main drive and prevent repeat downloads. This feature will be especially valuable for users who are concerned about their internet speed or data caps. If you're looking to find the best Xbox One external hard drive as a backup, we've got some recommendations.
Speaking of big files: due to the resolution gap between Xbox Series X (targeting 4K) and Xbox Series S (targeting 1440p), install sizes on the latter will be "up to 30% smaller on average," according to director of program management Jason Ronald. One of the primary concerns with the Xbox Series S is that its reduced price may be offset by its smaller 512GB SSD, as limited drive space could quickly force players to purchase a $220 expansion card. Smaller install sizes will help prevent any overflow and make the most of the console's smaller SSD.