Seagate’s stranglehold on Xbox's expandable storage cards might be coming to an end. While the company has had a monopoly on Xbox Series X and Series S SSD expansion cards since the consoles’ launch, a cheaper alternative may finally be on the way.
A Best Buy listing (which has now been removed) revealed that Western Digital has a 1TB Xbox Series X/S expansion card on the way — priced at $179.99.
While still rather expensive for a single terabyte, it marks the first time an Xbox-compatible SSD has been manufactured by anyone other than Seagate. It's also $40 cheaper than Seagate's MSRP.
Currently the only way to play Xbox Series X games from expandable storage is to buy one of these proprietary cards. While the console does support external hard drives and SSDs, those can only be used to play games from Xbox One and older consoles.
The latter is also true on PS5, but Sony doesn’t impose the same SSD expansion restrictions as Microsoft. In fact any M.2 SSD that meets various basic requirements, like minimum read/write speed, can be installed on your console. While not as simple as plugging in an expansion card, it’s not a hugely difficult process.
As a result, the cost of PS5-compatible SSDs has dropped dramatically since launch. In fact the WD Black 2TB SSD, our current favorite model, has been sitting at $179 for the past few weeks — its lowest ever price. Meanwhile the 1TB Xbox expansion card has yet to drop below $189, and a 2TB card will cost you almost $360.
It’s unclear why Seagate has been the exclusive provider of Xbox SSDs for so long, but we couldn’t be happier this monopoly is seemingly ending.
Not only is the Western Digital card cheaper, it opens the possibility for other Xbox-friendly SSDs to hit the market in the near future. Without any competition Seagate has had no reason to lower the cost of its cards to a more reasonable level, after all.
In theory, the more companies get involved in manufacturing Xbox Series X expansion cards, the lower the price should drop. We’ve seen it happen with Sony, and these days you’d be very unlucky to not get an expansion SSD for less than the retail price.
Hopefully Xbox expansion card prices will start enjoying similar price cuts over the coming months. Though, here’s hoping it doesn’t take quite as long to get to a more reasonable level. I’d rather not pay more than two-thirds the cost of a brand new Xbox Series X just to add 2TB of storage.