The Xbox All Access program is an incredible value

Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored
Tue November 26, 2019

If you're on Team Xbox in the console wars you're in luck, because right now you can take advantage of the Xbox All Access subscription program, which is a pretty great value. After a credit check, you'll get an Xbox One of your choice, access to over 100 games on console and PC, Xbox Live Gold and an upgrade option, all in one bundle, along with a full game download thrown in for good measure.

What you get

Each bundle comes with one of these consoles at the following monthly prices:

  • Xbox One S ($22.99/month for 24 months; amazon.com)
  • Xbox One S All Digital ($19.99/month for 24 months; amazon.com)
  • Xbox One X ($30.99/month for 24 months; amazon.com)

With All Access, you will also receive 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which includes all the benefits of Xbox Live Gold and over 100 games, and an upgrade option to the next Xbox console, Project Scarlett.

If you select the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, your console will also come with full game downloads of "Minecraft" and "Sea of Thieves," and a special edition "Fortnite" skin. When you opt for the Xbox One S, your game options are: "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order," "NBA 2K20" and "Gears 5." When you opt for the Xbox One X, you can choose any of the same Xbox One S options, as well as the "Gears 5 Limited Edition."

Upgrading consoles

When you buy the Xbox One S or Xbox One S All Digital, you can choose to upgrade your console to the newest model, Project Scarlett, (coming in the holidays of 2020) after the equivalent of 18 months of payments. In terms of the Xbox X, you'll have the option of upgrading to Project Scarlett after the equivalent of just 12 months of payments. This offer is valid until Dec. 31.

If you're upgrading from an Xbox One S or Xbox One X, there is no fee to upgrade. If you're upgrading from an Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, there is a $20 fee. With all upgrades, you must purchase a new 24-month All Access contract for the new consoles. You will also need to return your console, controller and power cord in good condition before getting your new console.

All Access value

Upgrades aside, we wanted to find out if these bundles provide value. They absolutely do. First, we calculated 24 months of Xbox All Access payments and 24 months of the Game Pass Ultimate. We don't include Live Gold in this calculation because Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes access to Xbox Live Gold. Then, we subtracted the cost of the Game Pass from the All Access costs. What we are left with is the price of the console in each bundle:

Of course, these values all represent retail price and assume none of the components are on sale. But still, these All Access bundles are a sweet value. And don't forget, with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X you get a full game download, too.

Console specs

All three consoles share features, such as high-quality Dolby Atmos sound, cloud game backups and 4K video streaming capability. However, there are some important distinctions. The Xbox One S All Digital doesn't have a disk drive, so you won't be able to run game disks or DVDs on it.

Conversely, the Xbox One X has features that others don't have. This includes greater processing power and RAM, resulting in much smoother performance. You can also stream and record 60 FPS clips in 4K resolution. Project Scarlett hosts even more impressive features, such as a custom AMD processor, even better RAM and the next generation of SSD.

Purchasing bundles with Xbox All Access takes value to the next level. With three great consoles to choose from, as well as access to tons of games and Xbox Live Gold, you're certain to get your money's worth. Not to mention the upgrade options so you can stay at the pinnacle of Xbox tech.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.