As a new image released by a developer who works on the Xbox One has teased, Microsoft could be on the cusp of addressing one of the biggest complaints users have with the Xbox One and the PS4 alike: the lack of support for external hard drives.
An account that’s been confirmed to belong to a developer on the Xbox One shared what appears to be an image detailing the new feature in a post on Reddit today. The image contains a picture taken of the Games and Apps screen that shows users how much storage space they have on their Xbox One. Today, every Xbox One’s meter shows a little under 500GB of space since Microsoft only makes one version of the Xbox One.
The Xbox One in the photo shows 585.9 GB of storage available on the console, meaning it’d have to be connected and configured with an external 100GB hard drive. A pop-up on the screen also includes the message “External Drive Ready.” Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a timeline for when we might see this external hard drive support roll out to other Xbox One users. The poster on Reddit only describes the functionality as coming “soon.”
To be clear, that the feature already exists isn’t much of a surprise. Last fall, when Microsoft announced that the Xbox One wouldn’t support external hard drives at launch it also said that it was intent on providing Xbox One early adopters with the tools they needed. Posts and comments made publicly since then confirmed that external hard drive support was on the way.
Since launch Microsoft has been very careful to continually take feedback and provide new features to Xbox One users through its Xbox One Beta Program. It was through this program that Microsoft first showed off the ability for Xbox One users to manually delete games that were stored on the Xbox One’s hard drive. This wasn’t a part of the console’s original feature set, frustrating gamers and those who wanted to manage what items were installed on their console. There wasn’t a storage meter on the console either. At the time, Microsoft said this was because the Xbox One was designed to manage user’s storage for them. Typically features coming to Xbox One users in one month are tested in the Xbox One Preview Program the month before. Since there’s been no update that includes the functionality yet, it’s safe to assume that external hard drive support won’t be included in the May Xbox One Update that Microsoft talked about a few weeks ago.
That being said, it’s very likely that Microsoft will discuss the feature when it takes the stage at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. The company has a press conference scheduled for the day before the show officially begins on June 9th. Comments made by Xbox head Phil Spencer indicate that the company plans to talk about nothing but games. Still, it’s possible the company will also include news about the features that it feels are very important to gamers. If it does than Microsoft discussing hard drive support in the Xbox One is a sure bet since few other hot topics have been a more important to gamers. Microsoft addressed other hot topics for gamers earlier this week by allowing all Xbox Live users to stream content from entertainment apps without a Xbox Live subscription. It also introduced a $399 Xbox One.
Microsoft adding external hard drive support to the Xbox One soon would be a huge coup for the console. To date, Microsoft and Sony have spent the first six months of this console generation borrowing the features of each other’s devices. For example, Sony recently added a video clip editing app to the PS4 that has almost all of the features of the Upload Studio app that debuted with the Xbox One. In turn, Microsoft has completed changed Xbox Live so that it mirrors the benefits that users get with a PlayStation Plus account. Starting in June, an Xbox Live Gold subscription will allow users to download two free games a month. Users who stop paying for their Xbox Live subscription won’t be able to access those games. Until now, Microsoft’s Games with Gold program actually let users keep those games, even if they cancelled their Xbox Live account. PS4 and PS3 players have always been able to stream content from Netflix and Hulu without having a subscription to PlayStation Plus.
All told, it seems Microsoft is preparing for a battle royal this coming E3. The company has spent this entire week dropping bomb shells. First came the news of the refreshed Xbox Live and $399 Xbox One. Today the company announced a few new details about Halo 5.
Titled Halo 5: Guardians, the game will feature the Master Chief, and Microsoft says it’s new game engine has been designed with scale and the Xbox One in mind. The company also confirmed that it won’t be bring Halo 5 to the Xbox 360.