Sure, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are incredibly hard to buy, but that doesn't change the value of Microsoft's latest financing options. Buying the Xbox Series X was the first time I'd looked properly at the Xbox All Access program, and while initially, it was a way to avoid purchasing two expensive consoles in a week, by the time the console arrived I was convinced of its merits.
In particular, if you're a parent buying an Xbox for your kids, Xbox All Access is probably the best way to do it right now.
What is Xbox All Access?
Xbox All Access is a pretty straightforward program that allows you to buy a new Xbox console and pay for it in monthly installments. However, it's a little more than just a finance plan for the console.
Also included in the two-year All Access subscription is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. You have one single outlay per month to pay for both the console and access to Gold, Game Pass on the console, PC and Android, and any other benefits associated with Game Pass Ultimate, such as EA Play.
Xbox All Access also has an upgrade path to buying a new Xbox Series X or Series S, if you started out on the program on the previous-gen consoles, once you've made the equivalent of 18 monthly payments. There doesn't seem to be such a method applied to the Series S to upgrade to the Series X, but since the new consoles just launched who knows what will happen in the future.
Simple process to buy and live with, especially for parents
While I used Xbox All Access to buy a console for myself, as a parent also, I can appreciate where the program has a particular strength. Buying for your kids is super simple, and gives you two whole years to not worry about subscriptions.
Existing pre-paid Gold and Game Pass subscriptions are still converted up to a maximum of 36 months including the two-year subscription with Xbox All Access. But the Game Pass Ultimate subscription is already applied to the console when it arrives in your hands, and you simply accept the special offer while setting up.
Two years of not having to worry about stacking time or hunting for deals on subscription vouchers is relaxing. Sure, I could save more money in the long run by buying the console and subscription separately, but it's not much, and one less thing to worry about. I pay the same amount every month, with 0% interest, and for the next 24 months, I can just turn the Xbox on and play it.
From a parental standpoint, this is a blessing. Not only does it avoid paying $300 or $500 upfront, but it means no subscription payments to watch. It's easy. And if you have more than one child, the convenience gets even greater.
The buying process is simple, too. Granted, I ordered my Series X on the first day of preorders, so it was nothing but stressful, yet overall there was little to it. U.K. financing is provided by Klarna, a well-known Swedish firm handling services for various top retailers, and the process has been friction-free. There's a decent mobile app to monitor your account, and every month I get a notification that funds will be drawn imminently.
It is still finance, though
The specifics in the U.S. may differ from in the UK, but there is one common factor wherever Xbox All Access is offered. You are taking out a finance agreement, even if it's one without interest to pay. You don't own your Xbox until you've made all two dozen payments, and you'll have to sign a contract that locks you in.
Finance isn't for everyone, and not everyone will be able to get it. This isn't a criticism of Xbox All Access, it's just how things work. Before committing you to need to be sure that you're happy taking on a two-year financial agreement.
Recommended, if it's suitable for you
If you're interested in using Xbox All Access and you're happy with the financial agreement, I can happily recommend it. In my case, I avoided the large initial outlay for the Xbox Series X, and because I'm immensely lazy, I don't have to worry about Game Pass Ultimate for two years. But I would definitely use it again was I to buy a console for my children.
Xbox console supply will still be a factor, though, and you can only sign up through certain retailers. But the signup process and how you pay for it is exactly the same, wherever you get it from, and it could well be the best way to gift an Xbox to your kids in 2021.
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