Xbox Series X
Even as the COVID-19 reshapes daily life for people all around the world, video games keep rolling. They’ve become crucial entertainment during times of lockdown, and they’re still preparing for one of the biggest events in the broader industry: a console transition. Microsoft and Sony are planning on releasing the Xbox Series X and PS5 in the fall, and so far COVID-19 has not caused either to shift those plans.
Pricing is the biggest question mark for both of these machines: we know what’s inside, we know what one of them will look like, but we don’t know how much it’s going to cost us. What we do know, however, is that Microsoft will be pushing Xbox All Access, the subscription service that gets you a console and an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription for monthly payments instead of a lump sum—pending a credit check.
Speaking to IGN, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said that Microsoft expects to “go big” with All Access for the launch of the Series X, which will add an interesting dimension to the console launch. Whatever the full price of the PS5 and Series X, you’ll be able to get the Series X for less up-front money unless Sony launches a competitor program. That’s not impossible, but we haven’t heard anything from Sony on the matter, and Xbox has had this program for years.
Right now, you can get an Xbox One X with 24 months Game Pass for $24.99 a month, an Xbox One S for $22.99 a month, and an Xbox One S all digital for $19.99 a month—the Xbox One X comes with an upgrade option. We clearly don’t know how much the Series X will cost, but it’s not unreasonable to imagine it will come in under $50.
This could be especially critical this fall in a situation where the economy has suffered lasting damage from coronavirus and the associated lockdowns. Dropping $500-$600 on a new console is a tough proposition for most in any economy, but that decision becomes difficult to impossible among job losses and economic contraction. Spencer touched on this in the interview.
“We would be remiss if we did not talk about the economic realities that could be here next fall,” Spencer said. “Not to be all doom and gloom, but we saw the jobless claim numbers last week that came out. There is a lot of uncertainty in the market. I think gaming is a luxury and we should all understand that.”
He added: “When we look back at 2008 and what happened with gaming; gaming tends to be durable. It seems that people see it as a value and they’ll continue. But obviously, people have to take care of their families first.”
Xbox All Access might make that decision more palatable to some, reducing the amount of money you need to have on hand to actually get in and start playing. And while All Access would be an interesting option all on its own, but it’s much more enticing alongside Microsoft’s Game Pass. That means your monthly payments include everything you need to play, from the online subscription to the hardware and software.
It’s an intriguing notion, even if the can’t complete the picture without