Seagate and Microsoft have teamed up before to offer Xbox-branded external storage options, and the storage manufacturer has recently refreshed its product line to match the style of last summer’s Xbox One S. Beyond that, however, these new drives also offer a several-month subscription to Microsoft’s new Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
We haven’t covered Game Pass before, so let’s take a moment to do so. Game Pass is, to some extent, an answer to Sony’s PlayStation Now game-streaming service, but there are some key differences between the two. Like the Sony program, Microsoft’s has a monthly fee attached — $ 9.99 — but unlike Sony, these games aren’t streamed to you as you play them. Instead, you download them directly, which is where Seagate comes in. With game download sizes ballooning in recent years, it’s not exactly difficult to fill the base storage that modern consoles ship with.
While the Xbox One is compatible with any standard external USB drive, the new Seagate Game Drives (available in 2TB and 4TB capacities) also ship with a free month of Game Pass (on the 2TB version) and two months free (on the 4TB version). MSRP on the two drives is $ 89.99 and $ 129.99 respectively, so there’s a bit of a premium (2TB drives can be had starting around $ 70 online, while 4TB external USB 3.0 drives start around $ 110, not including shipping). If you like to have your peripherals match your console as far as style, you won’t pay much of a premium for the privilege. And the 1-2 months of access to Microsoft’s new Game Pass program is a decent way to check out the option if you’re curious about it.
Both drives are apparently backwards compatible with the Xbox 360’s USB 2.0 ports, but the latter only supports hard drives up to 2TB in size. If you want a drive you can carry between last-gen and current systems, you’ll want to buy with that in mind. Seagate also offers a 512GB SSD option as an Xbox One external drive, if you prefer to swap some storage space for faster access speeds. Eurogamer did some comprehensive testing on this option roughly a year ago, and the benefits of an SSD can be significant. It does, however, depend on the game. Some titles speed up quite a bit, while others see more modest improvements.
Personally, I’d either opt for the 4TB option or the SSD. The first is the most useful generally, and the second could play well with the Xbox Scorpio when that platform becomes available a few months from now. With a faster CPU and tweaked storage controllers, I/O performance should get a nice boost when the updated console hits store shelves.
Now read: The Best Free Games on the Xbox One