Xbox One May Soon Get External Storage

With 500 GB of internal storage and game downloads that often top 50 GB, an Xbox One can hold somewhere between 10 and 15 big-budget games. New evidence from a confirmed Xbox One developer suggests that users will be able to add external hard drives in a future update, increasing available storage space by a theoretically unlimited amount.

The information comes via a thread in Reddit's Xbox One section. User "XboxOneDev," who is indeed a confirmed developer for the Xbox One, added a photo of the Xbox One interface with a notification that reads "External Drive: External Drive Ready."

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The drive in question is 29.4 percent full and still has 585.9 GB free, indicating that an "empty" drive would have about 830 GB storage available. Given space for system files and Xbox One formatting, this seems to suggest that the Xbox One will be able to support drives up to at least 1 TB.

The developer does not share when the update will hit consumer Xbox Ones, but promises "Soon…" Given the photograph, the "soon" timeframe and Microsoft's lack of a crackdown on the supposed leak, there's every reason to believe that the update will be out sometime in the near future.

What consumers don’t know yet is what kind of external hard drives will receive support — the Xbox One has three USB 3.0 ports, fast enough for rapid data transfer — and what the upper limits of storage space might be. If you plan to amass an enormous Xbox One library, it would be easier and arguably cheaper to buy a single 4 TB drive rather than four 1 TB drives, for example.

The Xbox One's nearest competitor, the PlayStation 4, does not support external storage, but does allow users to replace its internal 500 GB hard drive with up to 2 TB of storage. Replacing the internal hard drive on the Xbox One is possible, but voids the warranty.

Buying Xbox One games on discs does not save much space, either: Each game still installs completely to the hard drive for an optimal play experience.

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Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.