The Problems with Microsoft’s Xbox All-Access Plan

It was announced earlier this week that Microsoft would be offering a more accessible way to obtain a Xbox One. For either $21.99 for a Xbox One S or $34.99 for a Xbox One X, interested parties could purchase the console with a commitment of two years. This includes 24 months of Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass, which allows online play and access to 100 games every month. The Xbox Game Pass also guarantees new exclusives playable on release and will include an expanding library of games. With all the praise this has been receiving, however, there are a few oversights. Microsoft is clearly hoping to boost console numbers shipped for this generation by making a more approachable deal for new customers, but there are some problems with the deal and they’re listed below.

1. Financing is Required by Dell Preferred Account

If you think that Microsoft is just going to hand these consoles out willy-nilly, you have another thing coming. While Microsoft is offering no upfront cost for this and 0% APR for these 24 months, you still have to get approved. There is also only one financial outlet providing the loan and that is Dell Preferred Account. So unless your credit (or your parent’s credit) is good enough to get something equivalent to a Best Buy or Sears credit card, you’re going to miss out on this.

2. Xbox All Access is Only Available at Microsoft Stores

Microsoft is completely supporting this on its own outside of the financing. This also means that Xbox All Access is only available in Microsoft Stores, so you cannot walk into a GameStop and opt into this program (although they’ll surely be asked a lot about it). While there is a GameStop basically near any Walmart in America, there isn’t a Microsoft Store. Out of 50 states, 35 have Microsoft Stores and they are geared towards major metropolitan areas. Living in South Carolina, I’d have to drive two hours to the closest location to apply for this. This program cannot be done online, which in all honesty hinders the possibilities of using this program.

3. The Next Generation

Even if you apply for this now, you’ll be paying on this until late 2020. While there is no official date for when Microsoft’s next console will come out, rumors have pointed it to as early as 2019. When this generation started, Microsoft abandoned its previous console immediately. In a worst case scenario, you could be stuck paying for a console that wouldn’t have any use. The best case scenario would be by the time this is paid off, you could either choose to keep it as a media center with Xbox Game Pass or trade it in for the next console after having paid over $800 for it after two years.

4. Warranty

Microsoft states in its terms that while you will be paying for this for two years, the warranty is only good for one. “With Xbox All Access, you own the console and the 24 month Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold memberships outright upon purchase. The Microsoft Limited Warranty covers the Xbox console for one year (90 days for the controller and accessories). If it malfunctions after that, the console owner is responsible for any repair costs. Please note, monthly payments will continue until the remaining balance on your Dell Preferred Account is paid in full.” Microsoft will leave you high and dry if your Xbox One fails and they offer no insurance policy. While they are mimicking a cell phone subscription plan, you can at least get insurance if needed. Microsoft should flat out cover this and they aren’t.

5. Microsoft’s Lack of Direction

Committing to two years for a console for a company who’s trends in games have gone downward is risky. Switching to a subscription model with Xbox Game Pass promises tons of games up front, but no new major third-party titles. Yes, all exclusives for the console are available on Xbox One Game Pass at launch, but the system has seen only two this year: State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves. Yes, Forza Horizon 4 is coming soon, but that’s three new games in one year and the latter hasn’t even been released yet. There’s also Gears 5 at some point, but the point is you would be committing payment for a piece of hardware that may have cheaper alternatives to play third-party games. The total cost of the program, however, does end up cheaper than purchasing the console and the two subscriptions outright.