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Xbox All Access Returns With Upgrade Option To Xbox Series X, But Is It Worth It?

Pay your Xbox off in monthly installments and maybe upgrade later?


Microsoft's Xbox All Access program is returning this holiday season, and new subscribers will eventually have a chance to upgrade to Project Scarlett (now known as Xbox Series X). The new version of Xbox All Access includes an Xbox and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which bundles Xbox Live Gold and the awesome Game Pass library. Subscribers will pay off the console and subscription across 24 months.

Xbox All Access: Three plans

In the US, shoppers will have three different bundles to choose from starting November 18. On the premium end, the Xbox One X bundle will set you back $31/month. However, a new limited-time offer will allow you to upgrade to Project Scarlett after 12 months, which means you can start playing the next Xbox near or at launch. You must purchase this plan before December 31 to be eligible for the Project Scarlett upgrade. When upgrading, you'll have to re-up your 24-month subscription.

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Now Playing: New Xbox Project Scarlett Reveal Trailer | Microsoft Press Conference E3 2019

The 12-month upgrade offer is exclusive to the Xbox One X, but Xbox All Access is also available for the lower-end Xbox consoles. The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is available for $20/month. Step it up to the standard Xbox One S and you'll pay $23/month. After 18 months with either of these two plans, you will be able to upgrade to Project Scarlett. Once again, you'll have to purchase a new 24-month plan when upgrading. Additionally, Xbox One S All-Digital Edition subscribers will have to pay a $20 upgrade fee to offset the difference in cost between the two consoles.

If you want to upgrade to Project Scarlett, you must do so through the retailer you purchased the plan from. Currently, Amazon is the only retailer where you can sign up for the Xbox All Access plan.

See Xbox All Access at Amazon

UK customers can sign up for Xbox All Access starting November 5 at Smyths Toys and GAME. The Project Scarlett upgrade system works the same in the UK as it does in the US.

Xbox All Access will also be available in Australia, with bundles starting at $27/month on October 29 at retailer Telstra. Australian subscribers get Forza Horizon 4 with both Xbox One S and Xbox One X subscriptions. The upgrade process is also different, as you can pay the balance on your current subscription at any time to upgrade to Project Scarlett.

Breaking down the numbers

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The subscription prices sound reasonable, but let's break down the numbers.

Over 24 months, you'd spend $480 on the Xbox One S All-Digital subscription. Since Game Pass Ultimate is $15/month and the All-Digital Edition can be found for $200 right now, you'd normally spend $560 for the same access.

In the same 24-month period, you'd spend $552 on the Xbox One S bundle. The retail price for the Xbox One S and two years of Game Pass Ultimate is $610, since the Xbox One S bundles be found for $250 at the moment.

The Xbox One X subscription will cost $744 over 24 months, which is a slight savings over the $760 retail price of the Xbox One X ($400 on its own) and a Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

Is Xbox All Access worth it?

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The numbers above would suggest that Xbox All Access is a pretty good investment. But if your main goal is to upgrade to Project Scarlett, it's a little more complicated. Microsoft hasn't revealed the cost of the subscription for Project Scarlett for those who want to upgrade. You will have paid $372 for a year of Xbox One X access before jumping into another 24-month plan that could very well exceed the $744 cost of the 24-month Xbox One X plan.

In the fine print, Microsoft states that "new contract, terms, and pricing apply" for upgrades. This makes sense, considering Project Scarlet may cost more than the Xbox One X, which would result in a higher subscription price.

If you were upgrading after 18 months with the Xbox One S or All-Digital Edition, you'd spend $414 or $360, respectively. Keep in mind you'd also have to pay an upgrade fee of $20 for the All-Digital Edition.

There's also the fact that Game Pass Ultimate deals crop up fairly regularly. Right now, you can get a one-month trial for $1 and extend it to 44 days by turning on recurring payments. This devalues the $15/month Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

Lastly, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are around the corner. Xbox One consoles will be steeply discounted, which further devalues the subscription plan cost.

Is Xbox All Access a good deal? On the surface, yes. But when you dive deeper into the numbers, it seems like it could end up costing you more money in the long run.

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