June 6, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Xbox Series X | S: Storage woes

In my reviews Xbox Series X. And Xbox Series S., I pointed out that the ballooning size of modern video games can be problematic for forward consoles. Well, I’d like to prove it correctly, I’m afraid to tell you that it’s already stored on the Xbox Series X. And this is a very stored console.

That should be a reason for the celebration: Yesterday, I got a call from Activision, My Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Preorder is now pre-loaded on my console so I can start playing it as soon as it is released next week, on November 12th. So I empowered the Xbox Series X, searched for the title, navigated to the store link and clicked “Install Now”.

I was told that there was no storage space and that apps and / or games would have to be removed to make space.

Not good. What exactly is installed, you ask? Only six games: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (from multiplayer beta), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Dirt 5, Gears 5, and Hollow: The Master Chief Collection.

I uninstalled the next title because it takes up 100 GB of space and I’m playing those games on PC anyway. I later realized that I was able to remove the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War beta and save the G77 GB there, because the full game was downloaded next to it and now I have two entries for the same game in my list of games.

Anyway, that’s next to the point. With just 802GB of free space on 1TB of internal storage, my Xbox Series X is installed with just six titles. Six. This problem may be another reason why Microsoft is pushing cloud game streaming these days: games are not stored locally on the console. And on the Xbox Series S this problem is even more acute, which comes with 364 GB of available space.

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I know what you are thinking. Since Microsoft uses a technology called smart delivery, it’s not too much of a problem to ensure that optimized games download only the resources needed for a particular console. That is, the on-disk space used by optimized games is less for the Xbox Series S than for the Series X, as previously only required 1440p assets. These take up less space than the 4K assets available to Xbox Series X users.

Is good. According to Microsoft, these optimized games take up 30 percent less space in the Series X than in the Series X. And non-optimized games take up the same amount of space on both consoles. Looking at the list of six games, four are not optimized and two (Dirt 5 and Gears 5) are optimized. Optimized games, collectively, use about 150 GB of storage space, so they take up to 105 GB on the Xbox Series S. Other titles take up approximately the same space. So I can not install all these games in Series S.

Obviously, your mileage will change. Yes, there are some small things you can do to save some space.

Storage management in the settings has a “free up space” option, which allows you to remove leftover add-ons and “shrink” custom games, but neither applies to this particular console.

You can delete local game savings or clear Xbox 360 storage, but in most cases there are no major savings and they are nothing in this case.

You can attach a USB 3.0 hard drive, move the installed game effortlessly, and free up space on internal storage. If the game is backwards compatible (i.e. Optimized OG Xbox, Xbox 360, or Xbox One game), it should be able to play from there and I need to test it now. Xbox Series X | If the game is optimized for the S, you will not be able to play it from a USB drive: you will need to move it back to internal storage in order to actually play it.

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You can buy a Seagate 1TB internal expansion card, but it costs $ 220.

Or you can delete a game like I did and wonder anew about the magic of cloud-based game streaming.

Maybe that’s all there is to that point.