This week we finally got official confirmation on the prices and release date of the new Xbox consoles. The Xbox Series S and Series X will launch on November 10th for $299 and $499 respectively. However, there’s another detail that seems to have caught everyone’s eye from this announcement: Xbox All Access, Microsoft’s new payment plan service. Xbox’s focus on services moving into the next generation has interesting implications for the future of the Xbox brand.
Xbox All Access is a monthly payment option that allows you to pay a set fee every month for two years. In exchange, you get a choice between the two consoles bundled with two years of Game Pass Ultimate. This costs $24.99 per month for the Series S and $34.99 per month for the Series X. There are no upfront costs and there are no interest fees.
Now you may be thinking ‘that seems like a lot more than just paying completely upfront for the console’. This option actually works out cheaper though. The bundle includes game pass ultimate, which costs $14.99 per month alone. So, to buy the Series S and Game Pass Ultimate for two years separately it would cost $650. Xbox All Access lets you own the exact same device and content for $600 spread over the two years.
It can’t be denied then that Xbox are offering a really good deal for consumers. But I think Xbox’s focus on services also reveals their plans for their upcoming first-party games and their brand going forward.
Xbox first-party games releasing in the next few years are all likely to take on the ‘Games-as-a-service’ mantle. It’s a process we can already see happening now. Gears 5 is continuing to thrive by having seasons of content, known as Operations. State of Decay 2 also still has an active playerbase thanks to regular updates. Sea of Thieves is extremely popular right now, also after a mediocre launch, thanks to Rare’s dedication to improve the game and add new features.
Xbox were gearing up to see how this strategy engaged with players, and it’s clearly paid off. Moving forward, I think we are likely to see most first-party Xbox games adopt this same model of releasing content. Think about what we already know about the upcoming games in development at Xbox Games Studios. Halo Infinite is said to be a ‘platform for the next ten years’. Undead Labs and The Coalition have already adapted, so expect State of Decay 3 and future Gears games to continue this. Rare’s Everwild will likely learn from Sea of Thieves and have regular content drops too.
Turn 10 and Playground Games also seem poised to follow this trend. Their upcoming games, Forza Motorsport and Fable respectively, are dropping the series numbers. This makes it seem like we will be getting regular content drops possibly throughout the life of the consoles, rather than multiple entries in each series spread out every few years. I expect to see new cars, tracks and maybe modes added to Forza regularly every few months. Likewise, I imagine that the world of Albion in the upcoming Fable will continue to grow for years after launch.
This plethora of games will appeal to a wide range of audiences. Racing game enthusiasts, FPS fans, zombie survivalists and fantasy adventurers alike will have a permanent home on Xbox thanks to this new focus on services. Xbox don’t want to develop games you will play once or twice. They want to be your comfort zone, your home, your platform to find the content you love. Then, they’ll ensure you can continue to love it for years to come. In recent years the industry has started to shift, and it’s clear Xbox are embracing that, redefining their brand for the future. By offering a cheap monthly payment plan, I’m sure Xbox are hoping to incentivize players to purchase cosmetics in these games to boost their profits further.
What do you think of the future of the Xbox brand? Let us know over in the forums, or on our social media! Whilst you’re here, make sure to check out some of our other opinion pieces?
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