Taking a potentially bold step forward, Microsoft recently announced Xbox All Access. Signing up for the two-year, monthly payment program will not only get you a brand new Xbox – the Xbox One S or Xbox One X – but also two years of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. There’s a nice breakdown on Venture Beat that lists out the particulars cost-wise, and most importantly, you keep what you’re paying for. This isn’t some sort of shady lease deal. Make your payments, and at the end of two years, the console is all yours. (Granted, you’d then have to re-subscribe to Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass, but only if you wanted to.) Looking solely at the numbers, it’s not a bad deal — $22/month for the Xbox one S and $35/month for the Xbox One X. That’s certainly in line with, if not less than what cellphone retailers will charge for monthly payments on the latest and great phones. Based on my purely unscientific opinion, which consists of watching people on the train with their phones, it seems that people don’t mind those phone payment plans either, so why not apply the concept to something else…like a gaming console? Heck, if I was in the market for an Xbox, you’d best believe this is something I’d at least consider.
It’s pretty clear that Microsoft hopes to get more Xboxes into more home with a program like this, and who could blame them? The whole “console wars” thing, whether or not it’s something one subscribes to personally, remains a big deal in the eyes of the primary players. With the Nintendo Switch now eating up player’s hearts left and right, and the PlayStation still eating up console sales figures, Microsoft has some catching up to do. And with another holiday season around the corner, it’s pretty keen timing, too.
If there’s a catch to any of this, it may be that you can only sign up for All Access through Microsoft.com or at a Microsoft store. (Hope you live in a big city in a notable state. Sorry, Idaho.) Beyond that, setting up the whole thing requires one to sign up for a new credit account through Dell, which may or may not be appealing. And there’s another downside to this as well, especially when you consider All Access in light of the whole “cellphone model” approach. A lot can happen in two years when it comes to technology. Sure, you can pay-and-play now, but what happen if, at the end of your two years, you’re left with nothing but an outmoded console? What is something new, bigger, and better happens to come out a year from now, but you’re stuck in a contract? Is there a cancellation fee? (I didn’t look very hard, but I’m sure there is.) If a new Xbox is released in 2020, would Microsoft allow All Access users to trade-in and/or upgrade?
Those looking to sign up for All Access appear to have until the end of 2018 to do so, but what do you think? Is Xbox All Access all it’s cracked up to be, or is it a crackpot idea? Let us know in the comments!