Microsoft’s Xbox subscription service is now official: a store link to the new Xbox All Access plan went live this morning, and it details how it works and how much it will cost. As reported by The Verge last week, the plan lets you lease an Xbox One X or standard Xbox One S for either $34.99 or $21.99 a month, respectively. The plan resembles one Microsoft offered more than six years ago when it sold a subsidized Xbox 360 with Xbox Live Gold at the end of that generation’s lifecycle.
You have to commit for two years, but with that subscription, you get Xbox Live Gold, which lets you play multiplayer games online and access free titles and other benefits every month, and Xbox Game Pass, the game subscription service Microsoft sells for $9.99. If you do the math, you’d actually save money over the course of 24 months, but only about $20.
In reality, this is more a way for Microsoft to simplify the costs of owning an Xbox. By doing so, the company seems to be trying to incentivize some gamers to try out an Xbox before the next generation of hardware inevitably dominates the news cycle and discourages new buyers from the existing platform.
There are a couple caveats here. You can only purchase the subscription in person at a participating Microsoft Store. The company is also asking customers to sign up for a Dell Preferred Account, which is essentially a line of credit you’ll have to qualify for before Microsoft will let you sign up. (It’s similar to how smartphone leasing programs work today.)
Microsoft will let you pay for the whole cost of the bundle upfront, but again, then you’re just committing to Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass when you could simply buy the hardware and monthly subscriptions piecemeal.