Been holding out on an Xbox One? Considering Project Scarlett? Microsoft wants to ease you into it — if you’re willing to sign into a few years of payments.
The Xbox All Access bundle is back, which is great news if you were on the fence about committing to Microsoft. It’s essentially a payment plan for an Xbox One, with two years of payments for the console. Plus, Microsoft sweetens the deal with free video games for two years through 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The Game Pass itself is actually a great deal, as it includes new select AAA releases; the Ultimate version lets you access these through PC as well, plus includes Xbox Gold online services.
If your gift recipient, or you yourself, want to get in on the Project Scarlett upgrade, you need to put this on your holiday shopping list. The upgrade deal will end December 31 (that’s the new year, obviously). After that, Xbox All Access will likely continue, but you won’t get Scarlett for its release next year. Better yet, you won’t need to pay to make the upgrade. The only exception is for the Xbox One S digital edition, which will require a small upgrade fee.
However, on one hand, if this all looks too easy, you’re probably right. It’s not a matter of paying a little bit and then keeping your Xbox. You’re beholden to a 24-month contract with provider Citizens One, which is an actual registered financial institute. They’re more notable for their mostly home, student and auto financing.
In short, think of it like your phone provider’s payment plans on phones. So please, for the love of all things good, don’t try to skip out on your payments, because there’s an actual government-sanctioned finance company behind these payments.
If you then opt to upgrade to Project Scarlett, they’ll cut your original contract and then opt you into another 24-month contract. And you need to return your console in better-than-GameStop condition, with the controller, power wire, and the case “completely intact without cracks or missing parts and cannot have any etchings or asset tags.” In other words, don’t let your kids throw Fortnite stickers onto it. If so, you can’t make the upgrade, and you’ll be stuck with the rest of this payment plan and no shiny new console. (But at least you’ll have an Xbox One?)
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On the other hand, Xbox All Access is actually an incredibly solid deal. After all is said and done, it costs $479.76 for the no-disc digital Xbox One S plan, and $743.76 for the Xbox One X plan. That checks out to about $80 savings on the Game Pass Ultimate, or the Xbox itself — whichever one you want to mentally apply that discount to. There’s also no APR looped into the program. And once you’re done with the original plan, the Xbox of choice is all yours!
If you’re okay with all the fine print, when the time to upgrade comes, it may very well be worth it. Project Scarlett is the first major foray into the next generation of consoles (unless you count the Switch). For fans of high-end gaming hardware, this new release is practically a dream. On their website for the project, Microsoft boasts “a custom-designed AMD processor, high bandwidth GDDR6 memory, and a next generation solid state drive (SSD).” They also tout “four console generations” of games, which essentially means backwards compatibility for the original Xbox, 360 and One. Microsoft is showing off the console’s first new game, Halo Infinite, which will launch Holiday 2020 alongside Scarlett.
Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t have any information on a specific release date, nor even a price, beyond “Holiday 2020.” If you’re the patient type, it could be worth waiting until later in your payment plan to see if Scarlett is worth it. You have the option to upgrade until the end of your original payment plan. Worst case, you have an Xbox One still.
Again, all the bundles come with their respective consoles and 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The prices and console upgrade windows are where the deals vary, and are as follow:
- Xbox One X — $30.99/month, with 12-month Project Scarlett upgrade option.
- Xbox One S — $22.99/month, with 18-month Project Scarlett upgrade option.
- Xbox One S digital (no disc reader) — $19.99/month, with 18-month Project Scarlett upgrade option with an additional fee.
If you have some semblance of job security and are interested, the plan is available in the USA through Amazon on November 8th. It’ll be available in Australia on October 29th through Telstra (which is “now” in Australian local time), and in the UK through Game and Smyths Toys on November 5th.