Microsoft is reviving Xbox All-Access, the lease-to-own program that gives gamers access to an Xbox One console and the growing catalogue of Xbox Game Pass games for a monthly fee.
The Xbox All-Access program can be used to purchase any console in the Xbox One family with a two-year payment plan. Xbox All-Access also includes a monthly subscription to the Xbox Live Gold online service for multiplayer games and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Game Pass Ultimate gives subscribers a library with more than 100 digital games on both Xbox and PC, including many of Microsoft's newest exclusive titles.
Microsoft first debuted the program in August 2018, but it sunset it a few months later at the end of 2018. Now, 10 months later, it's coming back.
The return of the Xbox All-Access program is another move to make the Xbox ecosystem more accessible for gamers of all-types. Jeff Gattis, Microsoft's General Manager of Platform and Devices Marketing, likened the all-access program to the payment plans used by cell phone carriers to help customers adopt the latest smartphones.
Pricing starts at $19.99 per month for the Xbox One S All Digital Edition, the disc-less console released in May. The Xbox One X, Microsoft's most powerful console, is available for $30.99 per month. The traditional Xbox One S with a disc drive is $22.99 per month. There's no interest on the monthly payments and Xbox All-Access is $100 cheaper than buying the console and paying for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate at the monthly rate.
While the original Xbox All-Access program was limited to Microsoft Stores in the United States, Microsoft is expanding it to the United Kingdom and Australia and has formed new retail and technology partnerships in each region. The Xbox All-Access will be available through Amazon in the U.S., Clarena in the United Kingdom, and Telstra in Australia. The program's financing partner is Citizen's Bank, which has worked with Apple's iPhone upgrade program.
Xbox All-Access will be available in Australia on October 29, November 5 in the United Kingdom, and November 18 in the United States.
Xbox All-Access is an affordable plan to get gamers invested in the Xbox ecosystem
The low entry price and tremendous value provided by Xbox Game Pass Ultimate could make the Xbox All-Access program an attractive offer for customers who don't want to invest hundreds up-front for premium games.
Gattis said Microsoft has focused on improving the customer experience with the revived Xbox All-Access programs, streamlining credit checks and other barriers that made it difficult to introduce new customers to the program.
"We focused a lot on the customer experience element of it, working with some key partners to make sure that it's as seamless as possible, and we've taken those learnings from last year with our pilot program," Gattis said. "Customers are going to a soft credit check so it won't hit their credit profile, and they're going to get an answer in seconds if they're approved for the program. We're really trying to make it very easy and take the complexity out of what, behind the scenes, is a very complex program.
Xbox All-Access includes an upgrade plan for Microsoft's next-gen console
As an added incentive, gamers who invest in the Xbox All-Access plan during the next year will be able to upgrade to Microsoft's next-generation console, Project Scarlett, when the new machine launches during the 2020 holiday season. Gattis said All-Access subscribers who make 12 monthly payments toward an Xbox One will be able to upgrade their plan to get Project Scarlett next year, but pricing will be determined at a later date.
"We thought that while launching Xbox All-Access, while great, we might have a lot of people who are still on the fence thinking 'Hey, do I really want to buy a console this year?' When I know a gen-nine console is coming next year?" Gattis said.
The Xbox All-Access upgrade program is a promotional deal that will continue after Project Scarlett is released. However, All-Access subscribers who enter the program after November 2020 will have to make 18 payments before upgrading to Scarlett.