Microsoft Has a Plan to Get You Locked Into the Next-Gen Xbox Now

Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

The subscription wars are in full-swing but today, Microsoft offered a compelling reason to give it more of your money. The company reintroduced its Xbox All Access program for players in the U.S., UK, and Australia—which also includes the option to upgrade to its new console, Project Scarlett, once it hits shelves in 2020.

What you get with the Xbox All Access program is, well, an Xbox One, an Xbox wireless controller, and a 24-month membership to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. In the U.S., that means you can pay as little as $20 a month for two years. Plus, the ability to upgrade to a Project Scarlett console next year means there’s less risk in buying now, as opposed to waiting for the 2020 holiday season. Not too shabby, though of course there are hoops to jump through and limitations.

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For starters, to take part in the program, buyers will have to buy from specific retail partners. In the U.S., that’s Amazon.com. UK residents can go in-store to GAME, or in-person or online at Smyths Toys. Australians can either buy either online or in-store at Telstra. That said, eligible Xbox One consoles depend on your region. In the U.S. and UK, you can choose between the Xbox One X, Xbox One S, or the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition bundles. Australians are limited to the Xbox One X Forza Horizon 4 or Xbox One S Forza Horizon bundles.

Interested players will also have to pass a finance check through Microsoft’s partner banks: Citizens Bank in the U.S., Klarna in the UK, and Telstar in Australia.

If you buy everything new, and separately, that can set you back anywhere from $200-$400, not including the $15/month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Roughly speaking, that means you could pay anywhere from $470 to $670 for the 18 months before Project Scarlett hits. If you plan on upgrading, that’s not really worth the expense. On the other hand, if your Xbox is dying, you could theoretically save hundreds more via All Access. In the U.S., the Xbox One X—the most expensive option under the All Access program—costs $31 a month. But for a limited time, Microsoft will give XBox One X buyers the option of upgrading to Project Scarlett after 12 months. That means you only have to pay $372 of an estimated $744 value. Again, it depends on what individual deals you can find on the internet, but you could easily save around $100.

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As for the fine print with upgrading to Project Scarlett, that too depends on your region. In the U.S. and UK, you’ll have to have made at least 18 payments via the Xbox All Access program. (Australian users can buy out their consoles at any time.) Those looking to upgrade will also have to “purchase Project Scarlett with a new Xbox All Access purchase from the same retail partner where they joined the program.” You won’t get to keep the Xbox One either—you’ll have to trade that in. And, if you choose to upgrade from the All-Digital Version, you’ll also have to pay a fee.

If you do want to upgrade, you’ll also have to buy into the program by December 31 this year. You can’t throw your money at Microsoft just yet, however. Australians will have the first crack at the program starting October 29. Meanwhile, the program will be available to UK residents starting November 5, and U.S. residents on November 18.

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About the author

Victoria Song

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.