Western Digital has officially announced its expandable storage cards for the Xbox Series X/S consoles, introducing some much needed competition into the market. Since the fourth generation of Xbox hardware was revealed in 2020, one major sticking point for consumers has been the incredibly expensive Seagate expansion cards for the Xbox Series X/S, which at the time cost up to $399.99 for the 2 TB version, nearly the price of the console itself.
That price tag, combined with the fact that the expandable storage card is proprietary and therefore unusable for any other application, has caused many gamers to forego purchasing the Seagate card. Some people have opted to install their Xbox Series optimized games internally while all other titles are relegated to a slower, and less expensive, external drive. So a lot of people were excited when rumors began circulating that Western Digital would be releasing a third-party option for Xbox Series X/S storage expansion.
Western Digital has now officially launched its WD_Black C50 expansion cards for use with Xbox Series X/S consoles. It comes in two models, 500 GB for $79.99 and 1 TB for $149.99, and is already available to purchase directly from Western Digital and Best Buy. On other storefronts like Amazon, the expansion card can be preordered for a July 7, 2023, release.
Shortly after word began spreading that a third-party competitor would soon be on the market, Xbox announced a price reduction for the Seagate expansion cards. For comparison, the new prices are: 500 GB for $89.99, 1 TB for $149.99, and 2 TB for $279.99. It’s currently unclear whether Western Digital also plans to release a 2 TB competitor for the Seagate card. With either brand, the concern remains that the cards only have one feasible use case, and there’s no guarantee that the proprietary format will carry over to future iterations of Xbox.
Although many aspects of the ongoing “console wars” are negligible in the grand scheme of things, for many gamers there’s little question that Sony came out on top with its storage expansion choice. Microsoft attempted to throw shade at the PlayStation 5, touting the simplicity of a hot-swappable card. But the fact that PS5 owners can purchase any SSD with a read speed of 5500 MB/S and a heat sink, benefitting from the more digestible prices of a competitive market, is definitely a plus.
And anybody looking to save even more money should keep in mind that, while current-gen consoles make great use of a fast SSD, it’s entirely viable to opt for a regular external hard drive for storage on both PS5 and Xbox Series. It’s just important to remember that Xbox One games upgraded for the new consoles and those labeled Xbox Series X/S can’t be played directly from an external drive.
Sources: Western Digital, Xbox