*****According to the Xbox update today, Microsoft has hinted at the future implementation of support for an external hard drive. This is welcome news and something that many Xbox fans will be thrilled to know. Details on the support are unknown at this time, but should become clear in the coming months. Stay tuned to Gamesided for updates. ******
I can remember the days when if you heard someone say that they had a 500 GB hard drive, then it seemed like they would never be able to fill it up. Fast forward to 2014 and it won’t be long before all of our phones have 500 GB hard drives. With that said, do we really think that the 500 GB drives in the Xbox One and PS4 are enough? In fact, is it even remotely close?
When the announcements of the new consoles started coming in, I was most curious as to the size of the hard drives. Knowing that the sizes of 1080p games were going to be at least 35 gigabytes, I made numerous estimations as to the eventual size of the drives. Mind you, none less than 750 gigabytes. Even at that size, if we assume the life expectancy of the new consoles are seven years, and assume we purchase a very conservative 10 games per year, the hard drive would be full sometime around the end of year two. Now call me crazy, but that does not sound like the best plan for the overall longevity of the consoles. When the actual numbers came in, and the hard drives were only 500 gigabytes, you can imagine my shock and disappointment.
The Playstation 4 has shed some positive light on this conundrum. The PS4 will permit the consumer to upgrade their systems to larger hard drives, but it is an “after-market” adjustment. A small acknowledgment, that the standard size hard drive is unrealistic, and not likely enough space for the life expectancy of the console. Once I read about the upgrade ability of the PS4, I immediately assumed the Xbox One would follow suit. Well, as we all now know, the Xbox One did not, and therefore will not allow hard drive upgrades.
Just for one moment, let us consider this simple question. Why would you not allow this? What is the reason? I can only speculate, so take this for what it is, speculation, but it seems likely that Microsoft is really counting on “cloud” computing to compensate for this issue. In theory, this is perhaps the future of console gaming and something that will greatly expand the capabilities of the industry. The glaring issue with “cloud” storage is the limited download speeds most of us have. Most of us have some form of cable internet or DSL, neither of which permit speeds necessary for being able to quickly access games that are nearly 50 gigs. I, for one, don’t really like the notion of paying for a game, storing it in a “cloud” and having to incur one, or perhaps worse, download times to play it. Hence the reason it is unrealistic. It is a nice gesture to the way gaming might be seen in the future, but as it stands now, internet speeds aren’t really conducive.
Microsoft, I implore you to do as your competitor has done. Relinquish some control over the console. Let me buy an external drive and store some of my games on my own storage device. It really is in your best interest. The easier it is to buy more games, the more likely I would be to purchase them. I sure hope that when my hard drive space runs out, which won’t take long, there is a better solution than what is currently available.