The Xbox Series S SSD only offers 362GB for game installs

Xbox Series S console exploded into parts
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Update: Following the publication of our Xbox Series X review, we can also now confirm that the Xbox Series S does come with only 362GB of usable storage out of the box.

Original story: The more affordable next-gen console from Microsoft, the Xbox Series S, is fitted with a 512GB custom NVMe SSD, which is once again bragging high I/O throughput in line with the Xbox Series X. However, as the November 10 launch day nears, at least one customer has received their console early, and with it comes confirmation of the Xbox Series S's mere 364GB of usable space on arrival.

User spead20 posted on Reddit about their lucky one week early arrival, although also dropped a quick note to say that the 512GB SSD within actually offers just 364GB due to system reservations, such as the console's OS.

While games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the upcoming Call of Duty Cold War offer ways to shrink down your install size, such as multiplayer only options, they're still games rated up to 175GB a piece for the full experience, at launch. And that means you'd just be able to squeeze both on a single console, if this rings true.

But perhaps that's an unfair statement. You're not likely to have both installed, nor are you likely to find many other games right now that meet COD in raw storage requirements. Some get close, but we're still a ways off 100GB+ becoming the norm.

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If you want a rough idea of how far that 364GB of storage will get you with today's largest games on PC, check out the largest PC games by install size, or what we here at PC Gamer call the 'real mighty storage hogs'. Just remember these are PC install sizes, not console.

I wouldn't fret too much if you plan to pick up the affordable console, either. There's still plenty of room on the console for heaps of games, via Game Pass, download, or otherwise. And there's likely the option of some external storage expansion down the line, too. 

We don't yet have the details on how external storage might work with the high-bandwidth SSD within both Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X, but there's sure to be some option or workable configuration, judging by past experience. At least for games that aren't fully-optimised for the next-gen and are more friendly to slower storage drives.

Game sizes are definitely on their way up, that's for sure, and game developers we've spoken to often think the same, too. With high-res textures and even more intricate and detailed models coming into play, on even more capable hardware, it's easy to see why we're undergoing another rapid storage requirement expansion.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would later go on to win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top team as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. He also enjoys making short videos for TikTok and believes everyone reading this should go follow our account immediately.