Xbox All Access: the best way to buy an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S?

Technology

We crunch the numbers on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X|S payment plan.

At last, we’ve finally got some price and release date information for Microsoft’s next-gen consoles! General consensus seems to suggest that we are all quite happy with the price Microsoft has settled on for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S – especially for the lesser-powered console. But what got most poised to open their coffers was the prices available through the Xbox All Access financing program.

The headline that’s got most folks talking? It’s the fact that you could be playing on a next-gen console from as little at £20.99/$24.99/€24.99 a month. You pay nothing upfront, there’s 0 per cent interest, it includes two years of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and the console is yours to keep after you complete payments at the end of 24 months.

It sounds phenomenal in isolation – like something straight from the mouth of Stan from Monkey Island – but how good of a deal is it really? Here’s a closer look at the Xbox All Access program and whether it really is the best way to buy an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S.

First off, let’s be extremely clear: buying anything on credit comes with its own very serious risks. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of paying nothing upfront and a relatively small monthly fee to get a brand new Xbox Series X console. However, this could be up to an extra £30 that will be coming out of your account for the next two years. Not an insignificant sum for many and certainly not an insignificant amount of time.

For the UK specifically, the finance option is provided through Klarna – a now-ubiquitous payment method on a whole variety of online stores. They will be the one checking if you’re eligible for credit and overseeing the repayments you need to make throughout the financing agreement. Missed payments can lead to serious consequences including added fees, damage to your credit rating and even legal action. Please, carefully consider your individual financial situation and the level of repayments required if you’re thinking of using the Xbox All Access program.

Xbox All Access price comparison:

Right, now that I’ve done my due diligence, let’s look at what Xbox All Access offers from a purely mathematical perspective using the Xbox Series X as an example. Here’s what an Xbox Series X console and 24 months Xbox Game Pass Ultimate would cost separately:

Xbox Series X – £449
24 months Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – £263.76
Total = £712.76
Let’s compare that to buying both through Xbox All Access:

Xbox Series X + 24 months Xbox Game Pass Ultimate @ £28.99 per month/24 months
Total = £695.76
Looking at it that way, it’s clearly the cheaper way to go with a saving of just under £20 compared to buying separately. But how does it pan out with the Xbox Series S and with other regional pricing? Oh, look, here’s a table to show just that!

So, apart from the Series X in Europe (sorry folks!), you do end up saving money if you buy through the Xbox All Access program. In fact, getting an Xbox Series S through it in the US offers a very healthy saving over the usual price.

Is Xbox All Access really a better deal?
What this painfully dull and straightforward maths doesn’t take into account, though, is that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription time can often be bought for a lot less than the full retail price. Of course, the grey market is a hotbed for subscription keys that are much cheaper than normal. Microsoft themselves, though, do also run regular promotions that cut the price of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in half.

Make efficient use of these in the UK, for example, and you could end up getting 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just £131.96. Combined with the cost of the Xbox Series X that’s £580.96 – considerably less than buying through the Xbox All Access program. The question is, though, will Microsoft continue to offer these promo deals going forward?

In any case, that still leaves a ginormous number and one that would easily frighten anyone off a purchase if paid all at once. Y’know what does sound good, though? £28.99 a month. It sounds especially good when that gets you a brand new console, over 100 games to play immediately, all first-party Microsoft games for the next two years, access to EA Play, online multiplayer and more.

I spend about that on my internet connection every month without even thinking about it. I’m sure many out there are perhaps even paying double each month for the latest mobile phones. It’s easy to understand why many see Xbox All Access as an incredible value proposition.

Undeniably, it’s the easiest and most affordable way to get yourself on the console ladder, so to speak. That’s been emerging as Microsoft’s main strategy over the recent months: it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’re playing or where you’re playing it – Microsoft just wants you playing under the Xbox banner. That extends to Game Pass or xCloud or Xbox All Access.

Interested in learning more about Microsoft’s next-gen plans? Here is everything we know about Xbox Series S vs X, the full set of confirmed Xbox Series X specs and features and the console design, size, dimensions and ports, the Xbox Series controller and confirmed Xbox Series games, including those which support Xbox Smart Delivery. The Xbox Series line of consoles will also support the ongoing library of Xbox Game Pass games. When you’re ready, you can make a Xbox Series pre-order.

So, is Xbox All Access the best way to buy a new Xbox console? I can absolutely see why those whose income can support an extra £30 per month in outgoings will want to take advantage of it. The other option is dropping £700 in one go on an Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. That’s…not so appealing. Ultimately, then, in the right situation, it can offer a small saving and be a very welcome way to spread the cost of a new console.

Xbox All Access will be available from select retailers in 12 countries later this year. This includes Game and Smyths Toys in the UK. Microsoft Store, Best Buy, GameStop, Target and Walmart will offer the finance plan in the US. More info and all eligible regions can be found on the Microsoft site.