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 (opens in new tab) 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.
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
If there was only any inventory...
This. All the way.
This agreed on need more stock
But where is the stock lol, another great roll out just reminds me of the Lumia 950 took me months before I could order one
With one main difference. The Xbox is actually popular.
You are right on the money Richard. My grandson wanted the Series X for Christmas. It was the only thing he asked for because he knew it was expensive. I tried and tried but couldn't out-maneuver the damn bots so he didn't get one for Christmas (he did get some other stuff), but I promised him I'd keep trying. Recently when a new supply became available on Walmart's website, I checked it out and even though I was several minutes late getting online, and the Series X and Series S were sold out, the Series X All Access was listed as available. I hadn't considered this option before Christmas, but now a full month after Christmas I was willing to give this a try in order to keep my promise sooner than April (when I've heard stores expect to be well supplied). The online process was easy and fast and I had the Series X in hand less than a week later. Giving my grandson the Game Pass Ultimate along with the console is a nice unexpected bonus for his patience and it will relieve his mom of the cost of the Xbox Live Gold subscription, and his bugging her for new games for the next two years.
I'm surprised that was available. I have yet to see this option be listed as available.
If it's anything like here in the UK, it appears that All Access stock is 'separate' in that regular sales don't deplete what's available for the program. But also the consoles are so popular it's still going to be luck of the draw in actually getting one.
That's exact right and why I haven't seen them become available here in the US. I guess the retailers are just filling only the immediate stock and are never refilling the program stock.
I have only seen this option on Walmarts site.
Bad thing about Game Pass Ultimate, it is only for a single person on Windows 10, not your whole family. So, who ever enters the Game Pass Ultimate on their Xbox/Microsoft account is the one that gets the games on PC. Their is no family plan for this either. Horrible to find out after the fact, because it can be a lot of wasted money.
All you have to so is sign into the store with your account on their PC profile as far as I am aware.
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