Today, Microsoft revealed prices for its next-gen consoles: $299 or $499 for an Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X, respectively, starting November 10. But Microsoft is also talking up a smartphone-style program that lets players get either system for no money upfront as part of a subscription plan called Xbox All Access.
We’ve seen “no money down” Xbox hardware plans like this before—a similar All Access program has been available for the Xbox One line since 2018. But we’re using this high-profile occasion to remind you of a little-known fact about Xbox All Access: it can save new console buyers money in the long run, as well as upfront.
What’s the deal?
First, let’s run the numbers. With Xbox All Access, you make a two-year commitment to pay $24.99/month (for the Xbox Series S) or $34.99/month (for the Xbox Series X). In exchange for that commitment, you get the relevant hardware upfront, to keep, as well as a two-year subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Game Pass Ultimate usually costs $14.99/month, so your All Access monthly payments end up a bit higher to make up for that “free” upfront hardware. But in addition to not having to spend hundreds of dollars in one lump sum, All Access subscribers can actually come out ahead at the end of two years.
For the Xbox Series S:
- With All Access: $0 upfront + $24.99/month * 24 months = $599.67
- Without All Access: $299 upfront + $14.99/month * 24 months = $658.76
- All Access savings: $59.09
For the Xbox Series X:
- With All Access: $0 upfront + $34.99/month * 24 months = $839.76
- Without All Access: $499 upfront + $14.99 * 24 months = $858.76
- All Access savings: $19.00
So All Access subscribers save a lot of money upfront and a little money in the long run over players who buy their console and Game Pass separately. Not a bad deal, all things considered.
What’s the catch?
Before you jump on the All Access train, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First off, All Access is obviously only worthwhile if you’re interested in Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate subscription in the first place. That subscription is already a pretty good value, though, providing downloadable and xCloud streaming access to hundreds of titles across Xbox history, as well as over 200 Windows games for PC players. A Game Pass subscription also includes every Microsoft Game Studios game on the day it’s released and now comes with the entire EA Play library as a bonus.
Still, if you prefer to buy your games individually and not be stuck with Microsoft’s subscription selection, you’re better off buying your console upfront.