Rumours have been spreading like wildfire this past week about Xbox All Access. What most people assumed was that Xbox All Access is a combination of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass. For one monthly or annual subscription at a reduced cost versus buying each subscription separately. Well, it looks like they weren’t wrong. But it could also include a brand new console as well as access to both those services.
New leaks say that in fact Xbox All Access is a payment plan where you can pay for an Xbox console over a two year period. Paying so much a month and you get access to Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass for free as part of the deal. When the rumours surfaced most people believed the announcement would be made at Gamescom. But apparently they didn’t announce it there because Gamescom is a European trade show and Xbox All Access is first being introduced only in the US.
Remember all of this is still just rumours at this point, so take it with a grain of salt. But it has caught enough wind now to be picked up by the mainstream press. Whilst that’s no guarantee the rumours say Xbox are planning to unveil their plans for this new service next week so we won’t have to wait to find out. The leaks say that for $35 a month over two years you can get an Xbox One X, the most powerful console on the market, along with Xbox Live Gold & Game Pass. For $22 a month over two years you can get an Xbox One S also with Gold & Game Pass.
The thing that worries me slightly is that this deal sounds awfully like a mobile phone contract. You pay a monthly fee for a top of the range mobile and get minutes, text and data every month on a two year contract. Then when that is up there’s a new shiny phone out and you can take out a new contract and get that one. With this Xbox All Access Microsoft sells you a current Xbox then two years later their next box is out and they want you to take out a two year contract to pay for that.
I’m not sure whether this is a good thing for gaming. It might well be and I’m certainly interested in Microsoft’s plans if indeed the rumours are true. I mean, getting the newest console for a lower monthly fee then maybe they give you a discount off the next gen machine when you take that out two years later? Sounds great but what of the games? Games take a lot longer than two years to make, well most of them anyway. Plus by the two year point in a console generation the devs are usually just hitting their stride and really pushing the limits of what the console can do.
That said, if the consoles keep a similar architecture and as they are more like PCs in structure. Then upgrading them more often and making the games cross-generational like we have seen this generation with the upgraded consoles, Xbox One X & PS4 Pro, should make development on new hardware easier for the devs I imagine. It is an interesting and slightly scary time for gaming but clearly the platform holders want us to be upgrading and buying more consoles more often. I just hope it is not to the detriment of the games themselves.
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