Analysis: Xbox All Access – great deal or great dud?

by: Dan -
More On: Xbox Live Xbox One S Xbox One X Xbox Game Pass Xbox All Access
 
Microsoft recently came out with a new program called Xbox All Access, that is being touted as a way to more easily get Xbox One consoles and 24-months of both Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold into consumers hands for 24 low monthly payments. However, a deeper dive shows the pros and cons of this program, which ultimately is Microsoft’s version of a rent-to-own product or purchasing using a big box (Best Buy, Walmart, Target, etc.) credit card.
 
My first analysis is on the basic math of purchasing these items in the program a la carte at full MSRP as opposed to the bundled cost of the 24-monthly payments (using standard Best Buy MSRP for simplicity sake):

$299.99 Xbox One S MSRP
$119.98 24-months Xbox Live ($59.99 x2 12-month subs)
$239.96 24-Months Xbox Game Pass ($59.99 x4 six-month cards)
$659.93 Total if bought at full MSRP
$527.76 Xbox All-Access Bundle ($21.99 x24 months)
$132.17 Net Program Savings Xbox One S

$499.99 Xbox One X MSRP
$119.98 24-months Xbox Live ($59.99 x2 12-month subs)
$239.96 24-Months Xbox Game Pass ($59.99 x4 six-month cards)
$859.93 Total if bought at full MSRP
$839.76 Xbox All-Access Bundle ($34.99 x24 months)
$20.17   Net Program Savings Xbox One X

So, looking at raw numbers using standard MSRP, it will definitely save you money to go all in with and Xbox One S for the 24-months, but you only save a mere $20 to go the route of getting an Xbox One X. This is of course making the assumption that you can't purchase a console and subscription on your own or are able to buy discounted subscriptions throughout the year.

Next, I took a look at what I perceive to be both the pros and cons of the program, with the cons, in my opinion, outweighing the pros.

Pros
• If you are looking for an Xbox One S and Games Pass and XBL Gold for the next 24 months, you will save money
• You own the console and service subscriptions immediately (despite 24 monthly payments)
• No upfront costs and 24 low monthly payments
• 0% Financing (assuming you qualify, see below) for full 24 months
• Saves money vs. purchasing on standard credit card and accruing interest if not paid off

Cons
• Xbox One X bundle only has net savings of ~$20 vs. buying everything a la carte at MSRP
• Discounted Gold (as low as $36) and Game Pass (free months and $30 for 6 months Summer 2018) subs have been available regularly, reducing the savings (One S) and leading to net costs (One X) depending on which console you choose
• You have to commit to a full 24 months of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass up front, regardless of whether using it or getting value from it
• Available only in-store at one of the 89 U.S. Microsoft stores found in 35 of 50 states
• You have to apply and qualify for financing as you are financing this for 24 months through Dell Preferred Account
• If you miss a payment, or don’t pay off the balance by the end of 24-months, the deferred interest at 19.24% - 29.99% variable APR will come crashing down and be owed in full
• Full terms of Dell Preferred Account are not listed on Microsoft website, leading to some possible unfavorable terms
• You have to choose from the bundled consoles “on hand” at the store. So if the bundled game version is gone (or not available), you are out of luck


As mentioned above, in my opinion, the cons far outweigh the pros when doing a deep dive of the All Access program. There are definitely some benefits, as you can save some money (even if buying discounted Gold and Game Pass) if you are looking to get an Xbox One S console and 24 months of Gold and Game Pass. However, the Xbox One X program only has a modest savings and would ultimately be a money loser if you are one to pick up discounted subs for Gold and Game Pass throughout the year.

As I see it, the main benefit of the program is allowing someone to get their hands on a console and 24 months of services without having to up-front the full amount, assuming they are capable of passing the Dell Preferred Account credit process. While I love the concept of what Microsoft is doing to provide more opportunities for consumers to get their products, I think the program, especially for the more desirable Xbox One X, doesn’t offer enough incentive to put yourself and your credit on the hook for what is being offered. Realistically, I do not necessarily believe this is a great deal or a great dud, but just a means to an end for some to get a console that do not have the option to pay the full balance due up front for the console and the Gold and Game Pass subscriptions.