Microsoft fired the latest shot in the console wars today with the launch of its Xbox All Access program that bundles together a Xbox One S or Xbox One X console along with Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass payable by a monthly fee if one signs up for a two-year contract and opens a line of credit through Microsoft's financing partner. Kyle Orland at ArsTechnica sums up the deal:
[S]ubscribers commit to spending $22 a month for an Xbox One S or $35 for a 1TB Xbox One X console over two years. That subscription provides immediate access to the hardware, which subscribers can keep after the subscription ends, as well as Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Games Pass, which normally cost about $15/month combined on their own.
Subscribers will have to sign up for a Dell Preferred Account at a physical Microsoft Store location to take advantage of the offer, which is listed as "for a limited time only." Subscribers who cancel before the two year period is up will have to pay the remainder of their balance.
This could be a good deal for prospective Xbox One owners who can't handle the large upfront cost of buying a console outright, but can handle the monthly fee. It even seems that taking the Xbox One S deal ends up costing about 20% less for everything through this service plan. Read the fine print though; any unpaid balance left on your account after the two years are up is subject to interest rates of up to nearly 30%. Like most credit opportunities, this is only a worthwhile deal if you can pay it off on time and then walk away clear. The two year term also lines up with the expected release date for the next generation of Xbox, so this is a great way for the company to expand its current generation market and prime those customers for the next big console. I expect Microsoft will do decent business with this option.