Microsoft made it official today with the announcement of All Access, a limited time, US only offer to bundle an Xbox One S or Xbox One X with subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass for a set monthly price.
It's an interesting offer, one that could get you into Xbox gaming without a heavy cash outlay up front. But is it a good deal?
In order to find out, first let's look at some numbers (we're using the $34.99/mo Xbox One X numbers, you can do the math yourself for the $21.99 Xbox One S deal, but the numbers should be similar): An Xbox One X is $499 retail (you can get a $479 PUBG bundle on Amazon). One year of Xbox Live Gold is $59.99 ($119.98 for 2 years), and Xbox Game Pass is $9.99/mo, or $239.76 for the two year period. Grand total $858.74, or $839.76 with the Amazon bundle.
Two years of All Access is also $839.76 ($34.99 x 24 mo), so with All Access you can save a little money, or break even, as long as you pay retail for Game Pass and Xbox Live. If you shop around or wait until there's an Xbox Live Gold deal, or find a great bundle this holiday season, All Access begins to lose a bit of its luster, that is compared to paying cash.
Acceptance into the All Access program requires that you apply for credit through Dell Preferred Advantage or Best Buy, and in truth if you can get accepted with them you can also just get your own credit card. Where All Access really begins to make sense, however, is with the 0% terms for the two year period.
Say you go out and get a credit card, at 19.99% interest (the terms of the Dell Preferred Advantage program after two years). If you made the same payments as All Access, you'd make a $9.99 payment each month to Xbox Game Pass, a $5 payment to Xbox Live Gold, which would leave you $20 a month to pay on your purchase of the $499 Xbox One X. You'd be in effect paying off the subscriptions in full each month, so would get them interest free, sorta. That's not quite true, as you'd have to put 2 one-year Xbox Live Gold cards on your credit card, one each year, which would cost you another $20 or so in interest over the two years.
It would take you 33 months to pay off your Xbox One X, and you'd pay about $140 in interest on the console over those 33 months, paying a grand total of $640 for that $500 Xbox, and a total including the interest on the Xbox Live Gold cards of about $1020 over two years, making All Access look pretty good at $840 over the same period.
So is Xbox All Access a good deal? Once you crunch the numbers, and as long as you can qualify for the credit, then yes, if you're committed to Xbox One X for the next two years, yes it is. Remember however, that Microsoft has promised new consoles, rumored to arrive in 2020, and if that happens, then you're stuck paying for an outdated console with even less money to fork over for the next big thing.