Here's how Microsoft will ensure Xbox One X download sizes are as small as possible

Further detailed by Digital Foundry, some developer documentation previously explained how games delivered via the Xbox Store will be able to be segmented, and downloaded in different parts to ensure download sizes remain as small as possible.

Games like Halo 5 are pushing 100GB on Xbox One already, and with 4K assets thrown in from enhanced versions, download sizes are set to balloon even further. The new developer systems Microsoft is putting in place is to help ease the pressure on our HDDs, and there's games already using this system today. Here's how you can take a look for yourself.

Too many games.

Too many games.

As we've previously reported, when it comes to 4K assets, the Xbox Store will intelligently decide what types of assets to install and unpack. 4K assets will only install if you're running an Xbox One X version, but Digital Foundry expanded on that info, noting that even things like different language packs will remain uninstalled to help download sizes.

Developers will also be able to tag specific game modes as a content type, allowing gamers to remove them at will. Digital Foundry uses the example of a level editor, that perhaps many players won't bother with, or the campaign in a multiplayer-focused title that you might never play again. A developer could give their customers the option of uninstalling certain features to help reduce the size of a game's download.

You can already see the data for this on your Xbox One via the Games & Apps menu. Using a hidden command of RB+LB+Start+Back, it brings up a new window detailing information about a game's install.

In the example here, you can see my installation for ReCore Definitive Edition. Under "Assets Installed," we can see "Xbox-Durango," which is the codename of the Xbox One. Presumably, if ReCore installs on an Xbox One X, you'll also see Xbox-Scorpio under that line. You can also see the languages present, namely en-GB, and the line "X1XE: False," which probably refers to whether the "Xbox One X Enhanced" features are active.

Also on the Xbox Insider Program builds for the 1710 update, there's a new section under storage management called "Shrinkable games," which looks like it could be the place where you manage games that are capable of removing certain assets to restrict their installation sizes. Microsoft has also hinted that it's looking at using the cloud to stream assets from the internet, further reducing download sizes, so perhaps this is also where you'll be able to manage these systems.

It's awesome to see that Microsoft is taking steps to reduce the pressure on our HDDs, as game installations get increasingly insane with high-res assets and "Games as a Service" updates. Not to mention the fact the Xbox One X will be able to record 4K game clips too. RIP HDDs.

  • Best Xbox One HDDs
  • List of Xbox One X Enhanced Games
Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

27 Comments
  • Nice!!!! Microsoft leading the charge on this one!!!!
  • Very cool!
  • Ok so how is this good for Xbox one X users? Maybe I don't understand, but my take away on this is that Xbox one users get the same game just a shrinked version because its not nessesary to have the 4k assets to take up all that space if they cant even run it. I get that and thats great for xbox one users. HOWEVER I am going to be an Xbox one X user, where is my shrinked down version?? For example they get a game on xbox one thats 50-75gb being shrinked, while I still suffer 100gb on my xbox one X??? No Offense but That's not fair, If Im' paying the best I deserve the best and being required to use more storage to get the 4k assets is not really something to gloat about, 100gb is alot regardless of the reason. Right now With my Xbox one S 2TB I have 20GB free currently. I need all the space I can get and I refuse external space since it can slow down the processor.
  • You can store games you haven't played in a while on external so that you can use internal for your more active games. It's simple science. The more you consume. The more you'll need. You can't expect magic to just happen. You're going to have to make some sacrifices lol #firstworldproblems
  • 4K assets have a larger size compared to lower res assets. I’m not sure Microsoft can break the laws of technology by magically making 4K assets smaller than normal, or magically making them take up less space on your hard drive.
  • Ok JF Vigor so did we all forget that discs didnt need to be installed until xbox one came out?? No more plug and play, however that fact that you had the option to install for better speeds was a great idea....keyword: option. Im not sure why they took away that feature. They now make you install game discs regardless. So yes it is possible to store all that data on a disc and just play it like they did before but I guess that was just a magic trick bust??  Colton Robinson I understand 4K assets will require more storage as I said earlier  "Xbox one users get the same game just a shrinked version because its not nessesary to have the 4k assets to take up all that space if they cant even run it" However This article or Microsoft failed to mention anything about less storage requirements in general in upcoming games. I mean Why did they offer Xbox one S 2TB but with Xbox one X  only 1TB?? Dont you think with the amount of storage required for true 4K games they would want to give the Xbox one X more internal??
  • I imagine a larger size X could come in the future, just like with the original Xbox one. But the reason is cost and availability, adding larger size drive will place the console well above $499. Since this is the launch console period, MS wants to use and sell every XOX they can make, to have the standard 1tb model sellout while the 5% of hardware allocated to a 2tb or 3tb model sits on the shelf would not be good. If the majority of xbox owners,i assume, already have an external drive ( a 4tb hdd and a 512gb SSD in my case) then you are simply waiting to unplug and replug into the XOX. I for one will remove the lower quality assets for whatever games i have once i plug that drive into my XOX.
  • You do realise that the whole game or in some cases the finished game isn't generally shipped on the disc and thats why we have day one patches, the content on the disc is also heavily compressed and need unpacking before it can be played, which is why we now install our games, the Xbox 360 just used to copy the discs contents like for like as the disc contained the uncompressed game. 
  • however that fact that you had the option to install for better speeds was a great idea....keyword: option. Im not sure why they took away that feature Read speeds are way too slow for blu-ray discs, unless you want excrutiating long load times. Even the PS3 had mandantory installs. However This article or Microsoft failed to mention anything about less storage requirements in general in upcoming games. You should read the article again. It's not just about 4k assets. It specifically mentions not installing portions of the games you don't want or need. The current Xbox One will benefit from this as well. I highly suggest clicking the Digital Foundry link for a better understanding.
  • Ive havent heard of an external drive slowing down an xbox. Perhaps a bad drive or cable or usb hub if you happen to be using one on the XB. Also, you are getting a shrinked version, instead of downloading a 100GB(SD and 4k) title on your X, you will only need to download 90GB. No need to pull down SD assets.
  • Akira X  I havent done my research on Externals nor have I bought other models to test it out but My 1TB external was fine until I had about %5 remaining then my whole xbox started freezing, So I unplugged my external storage and my xbox one ran faster. It sucks because the only troubleshooting you can do is delete everything and re test and if still slow could be bad cable or drive but if fast then have to re download and make sure I dont get down to the %10 threshhold. I dont have the Xbox one X yet so here is no shrinkage right now.
  • Here is what i did with my first 1tb external drive for my xbox one. After it started to fill up, i added a 2tb model. Left older games on the 1tb, new games on the 2tb. At some point i saw an ssd on sale and added that, now 1tb, 2tb amd 512 ssd. After the 2tb started to fill i replaced the 2tb with a 4tb, copying everything from the 1 and 2tb to the 4tb. Now i only run with the 4tb and 512gb ssd. My 4tb is around 80% full. Ive decided to start better managing the capacity i have. I have a MASSIVE backlog of games and there is really no need to keep all those games on disk. A lot of us tend to want what we paid for in our hands (in this case, on disk) when there is no need. My ready to install games list now exceed the games on my external drives.
  • Killjoy, as for research, 4tb is the largest size external hdd you can buy, unless this has changed, without having use an external power brick/cord to power that external drive. I recommend the western digital passport, currently on Amazon for $110. As an xbox alpha insider, the new copy/move all feature in the upcoming dashboard works good. I have provided feedback to add a better status console as it currently lacks a bit. Ive been requesting the copy/move feature for the last 2yrs, maybe another 2yrs to get a better copy/move indicator...lol
  • There are 6 and 8tb now
  • You can still get the benefit of installing only parts you want like single-player campaign only or multiplayer only or only one or more language(s) available according to DigitalFoundry but that will still require implementation from the developers. As for the assets, it's no rocket science that higher resolution assets will require more storage than lower resolution assets. Still, I do think that Microsoft should've equipped the X1X with a 2TB drive. At least it will support external drive(s), but still...
  • Maybe read the entire article? It tells you that lets say SP portion of game being able to delete it or unused audio etc. You can also remove 4k assets from X1X, but then what's the point of the console?
  • Great information, Jez.  
  • <3
  • I wonder when will they let xbox gamers change their internal hdd...
  • We already can. I changed a 500GB X1S to 2TB last weekend. Took longer to take the shell off the xbox than it did to prepare the HDD. Only enough room for a laptop 2.5" HDD though.
  • That's such a high Def photo Of the scorpio edition in the header photo . I have the thing reserved but still can't find a good HD image of the console. I really didn't realize it had the two tone fade of Grey to black until someone mentioned it in one of these articles
  • So we intend buying an Xbox One X so we can get higher spec graphics which will make the games larger to download and then say it's unfair that we would have a larger download compared to those stuck on Xbox One's and Xbox One S's. Bit like buying a super car and then expecting people who choose to buy a more modest and frugal car to pay the same for their MPG. And as said by others even Xbox One X users will benifit through not having to download un-needed language packs etc.  Makes a lot of sense to me.      
  • This is a nice thing to do, but it also wouldn't be nearly as necessary if MS would both stop cheaping out on drive size and let us swap internal drives in the first place.
  • I just knew about this yesterday. What's really stopping user from cloning the original drive to another one? Is it because the internal drive is soldered?
  • Few months back, I did suggest something like this to ms feedback app.....but that was for windows games via windows store....hopefully ms will bring these features to pc as well.
  • Would be great if I can default select to not install all the multiplayer crap from games that I don't want.
  • And you just know that publishers are going to abuse this feature so that they can charge for specific packages.