Xbox All Access Is Deeply Confusing, but I Think I Figured It Out

Illustration for article titled Xbox All Access Is Deeply Confusing, but I Think I Figured It Out
Image: Microsoft/Xbox

Xbox All Access is a relatively new program from Microsoft that lets you make monthly payments on a new console over the course of two years. It started in 2018, after the release of the Xbox One, and it’s coming back again for the next generation of consoles. If you’ve ever made monthly payments on a new phone, deep cleaning on your teeth, or Disneyland annual pass, then you probably already have a good idea of how this works.

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But just in case this is your first time financing anything: when you make your purchase, select the Xbox All Access option at check out and you’ll be automatically enrolled in the program. (Which also requires opening a line of credit with Citizens One if you don’t already have one.) If you get a Xbox Series S, your monthly payments will be $25 a month. The Xbox Series X will be $35 a month.

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Both plans include Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which gives users access to Xbox games on PC and Android via Project xCloud, and Xbox Live Gold, and EA Play subscriptions at no additional cost. Individually, both subscriptions cost $15 and $5 per month, respectively—or $30 annually for EA Play.

If this is your first time enrolling in the program, the monthly payments plus the Game Pass Ultimate and EA Play subscriptions make it seem like a steal! You end up paying slightly less than the MSRP on either console model and you get two subscriptions for free, which both offer discounts on games and make some games available for free for a period of time. That’s a really good deal if you can fit the monthly payments in your budget!

Illustration for article titled Xbox All Access Is Deeply Confusing, but I Think I Figured It Out
Illustration: Microsoft/Xbox

However, read the fine print. After two years of payments, the Xbox Series S or X is yours and you’ll have to pay for Game Pass Ultimate and EA Play separately. If you opt to use the Xbox All Access program again in the future, you’ll then have to trade the Series S or X back if you want to upgrade and haven’t paid it off. The same thing applies to current Xbox owners who financed those Xboxes through the Xbox All Access program previously. If you have an old Xbox One X or S via the program and want to get the new Series X or S you’ll have to trade in that old console.

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To be clear, that requirement only applies to current members of the Xbox All Access program who wish to upgrade, but it’s something to think about for the future if you’re getting a Series S or X. Additionally, full access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and EA Play only lasts for 24 months (two years), which is the entire duration of the payment plan.

Also—and this is the important part—the Xbox All Access FAQ says that you must “first meet the minimum payment requirement for your original Xbox All Access purchase” to receive your trade-in kit, which is 18 months. If you bought an Xbox One X with Xbox All Access before December 31, 2019, you’ll need to have made at least 12 on-time payments. If you never paid off your Xbox One, but want to keep it, you’ll still have to pay it off plus make payments on the new console.

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If you don’t care about your Xbox One, then cool! Trade away! My mentality is kind of old school when it comes to things I buy on credit: I want and expect to keep the thing once it’s paid off. It’s why I pay for my hardware, gadgets, and games outright and stay away from subscription programs, if possible.

Correction 9/10/20 4:33 PM ET: It turns out that Xbox One owners who have paid off their console in full under their Xbox All Access agreement don’t have to actually send it back. (That’s good news!) According to the Terms of Service, it appears that Xbox One owners who are currently under an Xbox All Access contract and wish to upgrade will have to return their console if they want to be let out of their contract. If not, the user is still responsible for making payments on both consoles if there’s an outstanding balance. This article has been updated to reflect this.

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Staff Reporter, Reviews at Gizmodo. Formerly PC Gamer, Maximum PC.

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DISCUSSION

shabaabkamal
Shabaab Kamal

It is BANANAS that you need to send your previous console in even if you’ve paid it off! Do any similar financing plans (for phones, etc) have the same stipulation?