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Xbox All Access Is the Perfect Deal For People Who Hate Deal Hunting

Microsoft has officially announced a financing plan that lets you pay monthly for a console, Xbox Live Gold, and Game Pass. It’s the best deal in town for people who don’t want to find the best deal in town.

For the uninitiated, here are the basics: Microsoft is offering a new financing deal that lets you buy a new Xbox One without paying a dime up front. Instead, you’ll pay a monthly fee for the console, plus a subscription to both Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass for two years. After that, you’ll own the console. You’ll have two options to choose from:

  • To get an Xbox One S, you’ll pay $22 per month for a two-year total of $528.
  • To get an Xbox One X, you’ll pay $35 per month for a two-year total of $840.

In both cases, you’ll be signing up for a Dell Preferred Account, so you’re essentially getting a 24-month interest-free financing deal. That does mean you’ll have to go through a credit check at your local Microsoft Store to sign up and, yes, for some reason you can only get All Access at a physical Microsoft Store. Of which there are… not many.

We crunched the numbers and even if you can get approval on the financing, it might not be a great deal. However, whether it’s a good deal or not depends heavily on how much you feel like hunting for a better deal.

Avid Deal Hunters Should Probably Stay Away From This Plan

If you’re comfortable using trackers like CamelCamelCamel, then you can score way better deals.

We’ll assume for the sake of argument that if you’re considering buying an Xbox One through All Access that you’re also interested Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass. There’s no sense in paying for something you’re not going to use and, as you’ll see, you’re already paying a little more than you could be if you don’t mind shopping around on your subscriptions.

So, first, let’s take a look at what we’ll call Scenario S. In this scenario, you want to buy an Xbox One S, plus both subscriptions for the full two years. If that’s your goal, you have a few options:

  • Option A – Deal Hunter: Pay $300 for the console up front.  Throughout the year, look for discounts on Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass. We’ve seen six month cards for Game Pass as low as $30 and a year of Xbox Live Gold can go as low as $40. If you’re patient enough to score these deals, then two years of Game Pass will cost you $120 and two years of Gold will cost $80. That puts your total cost at $500.
  • Option B – All Access: Pay the $22 per month for the console and both subscriptions through the new All Access program. This makes your total cost $528. You’ll spend about $28 more than if you looked for the best deal on the individual subscriptions yourself.
  • Option C – Bulk Subscriptions: Say you can afford to pay for the six-month or yearly intervals of Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass, but don’t want to hunt for deals on either one. The normal sticker price on a year of Xbox Live Gold is $60. The sticker price for a six month card for Game Pass is also $60. That would make your two-year price for both subscriptions $360, for a total two-year cost of $660.
  • Option D – Monthly Subscriptions: Pay $300 for the console up front and pay the monthly price for your subscriptions, which is $15 for Xbox Live Gold and $10 for Game Pass. Two years of both subscriptions will cost an astounding $600 for a total two year cost of $900. This is, by far, the least cost effective way to do things.

Obviously, Option D is the worst possible way to do things. You have a high up front cost for the console and a high two-year cost on the monthly subscriptions. Now, the monthly option exists for a reason. Some people don’t have time to go deal hunting for the best price on Xbox Live Gold, while others can’t afford to pay for a whole year all at once. We’re not here to judge, but we are here to do math. And the math says that Option D is anywhere from $240 to $400 more than any of your other options.

Now, let’s take a look at what we’ll call Scenario X. Same deal as before, but this time you want an Xbox One X, plus both subscriptions. Here are your options:

  • Option A – Deal Hunter: Pay $500 for the console up front. Watch for those deals on Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass, to bring the two-year cost on your subscriptions down to around $200. That makes your two-year total $700.
  • Option B – All Access: Pay $35 per month for 24 months under the All Access program. With everything included, you’ll spend a total of $840. That’s a hefty $140 more than you’d pay with meticulous deal-hunting.
  • Option C – Bulk Subscriptions: Once again, with a year of Xbox Live Gold going for $60 even when it’s not on sale, and six months of Game Pass going for the same, your two-year price for both subscriptions would be $360. Add the price of the console and you get a two-year total of $860.
  • Option D – Monthly Subscriptions: $500 for the console, $15 a month for Xbox Live Gold and $10 a month for Game Pass. It’s hard to make an Xbox cost more than this, with a whopping $1,100 total.

Once again, monthly subscription payments will cost you a boatload of money over the course of two years. At least do yourself the favor of buying a year of Gold and six months of Game Pass at once. However, your absolute cheapest option is always to look for deals on your subscription and to get them on sale whenever you can. So, you should always do that, right?

Well, it depends on how much you value your time.

Everyone Else Might Actually Save Some Money With All Access

On the other hand, if you want everything here and you don’t want to scrounge around for deals, All Access might be for you.

It’s not exactly difficult or time consuming to spot deals on subscriptions, but it is one more thing to worry about. Plus, deal hunting means you have to pay up front for the console, which is anywhere from $300 to $500 out of your pocket. Maybe you can’t afford to drop that much at once. Maybe you’d rather invest some if it while you’re paying off the console and earn some money while you’re spending it. Whatever the case, All Access could be a better deal for some.

In both scenarios above, All Access is at least slightly cheaper than everything except Option A. Unless you plan to follow deal sites or set up an Amazon price tracker, you’re going to save some money over the course of two years by paying for everything in one monthly payment, instead of buying it all piecemeal.

That’s especially true if you want an Xbox One S. Under Scenario S, you’ll save about $132 with All Access versus Option C according to our math above. To put that another way, even if you’re not the deal hunting type, you’ll save enough money with All Access to buy two brand new games just for not paying for your console up front. With the Xbox One X, there’s only a $20 difference between Options B and C, so you’re not gaining a ton by going with All Access, except that you don’t have to pay for the whole console at once.

Microsoft is giving potential Xbox One owners a curious deal with All Access. You could save more money by vigilantly watching for deals on your subscriptions—especially if you’re buying an Xbox One X—but if you weren’t going to do that, then this new plan can save you a nice chunk of change, with the added bonus of not costing a car payment or two just to get the hardware.

Of course, it’s also worth stating the obvious: if you don’t want Xbox Live Gold or Game Pass, then that’s a bunch of money that you don’t need to spend. That might mean All Access isn’t for everyone, but it’s a decent deal for some people.

Eric Ravenscraft Eric Ravenscraft
Eric Ravenscraft has nearly a decade of writing experience in the technology industry. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, PCMag, The Daily Beast, Geek and Sundry, and The Inventory. Read Full Bio »