Games On Xbox One External Drives Will Be Instantly Playable On Xbox Series X | S

Games On Xbox One External Drives Will Be Instantly Playable On Xbox Series X | S

Yesterday I wrote about downloading the entire Xbox Game Pass library to one external Xbox One hard drive. According to today’s storage-centric Xbox Wire post, I’ll be able to plug that drive into an Xbox Series X | S come November and instantly access all of those games.

Additional super-speedy SSD storage for the Xbox Series consoles is pricey and required for next-generation games, but older, less expensive USB 3.1 external drives will play Xbox One compatible games just fine. Answering the question “Is my existing USB-based HDD/SSD with my library of games compatible with Series X | S?” Xbox director of program management Jason Ronald says it’s all plug and play.

“It is easy as unplugging your existing external USB 3.1 HDD or SSD from your Xbox One and connecting it to your Xbox Series X | S and all your games are instantly available. You can continue to play your favourite Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, directly from the external hard drive.”

That’s very good news for me. It means that when I get my hands on the Xbox Series X in November, I’ll have an instant library of more than 200 games ready to play.

It’s also good news for anyone stressing out about having to spend a ton on Xbox Series X | S specific storage to increase the Series X’s terabyte or Series S’ paltry 512 gigs. They’ll be able to save some space by keeping their Xbox One and other backwards compatible games on a cheap USB 3.1 drive (assuming, of course, that they’re just not keeping them on an actual Xbox One console). And should the main drive get too full, Xbox Series S | X games can still be stored on older drives, they just have to be transferred to faster storage to play. If that’s confusing, Microsoft made up a handy little table to clear it up.

Screenshot: MicrosoftScreenshot: Microsoft

Considering most of the games playable on the Xbox Series X | S at launch will be Xbox One titles, it’s worth keeping those older external drives around. 


  • This is great news, my only query is what about Xbox One games which ARE optimised for Series X/S, i.e. we’ve been told Forza Horizon, Gears 5 and others have all been heavily optimised for Series X (even over the One X versions) so does that mean if I leave those kinds of games on the external, am I getting the One X version or will I still get the optimised for Series X version?

    • That’s a good question. My guess would be since you can’t play XSX games on the external drives that you would either be told to you need to move it to the SSD to play, or it would simply run the older version.

      I guess it depends on what happens if I say bring over my X1X version of Destiny 2 on the drive and put it on the XSX SSD. Will it even give us the option of running the old version? Will it simply force an update to change to the optimized version? Or will it just say we need to re-download a whole new whole XSX optimized version? Guess we’ll find out in a few weeks 😛

  • This was the only remaining pre launch query I had left. Since it hadn’t been addressed earlier, I’d assumed it wasnt happening. So – good news.

    Only problem is, I’ve got 800 plus games over a 4tb, 5tb and the XOXs internal 1tb, with only around 200gb free.

    I guess I could get another 5tb to replace one of the 4tbs, but they’re not much cheaper than buying the 1tb SSD expansion, and I’d effectively still be getting only 1tb more storage.

    Or I could invest in a 10tb+ desktop external HDD.

    Or delete some games, but I really don’t want to do that.

    First World Problems indeed.

    • 800 plus games? Dude, in this day and age, unless you wanna be buying terabyte after terabyte hardrive, you gotta look long and hard at each game and go, will I actually play that again and punch that uninstall button haha

    • Disc games obviously won’t work for Series S as I think you will always need to have the disc in the drive to make it work. Otherwise I could get friends to come over and load all their games onto my hard drive, play them on Series S/X with no proof I even own the original disc.

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