If there’s one area of entertainment that’s exploding in popularity, it’s video games. Since the earliest home game consoles in the 1970s, gaming has been a part of peoples’ entertainment lives, but today it’s an industry that dwarfs all others, accounting for an astonishing $4 billion in retail sales and dominating everything from the media to movies.
Telstra has long been at the ready to embrace the entertainment options their customers demand. They teamed up with Apple to launch Apple Music in Australia with free access for Telstra Mobile users, they’ve bundled both Foxtel and Foxtel Now with broadband plans, and they’ve got streaming options at the ready with Kayo Sports and Stan offered as part of their Telstra Plus rewards program.
And now, just as the video game industry makes the shift to a low-cost subscription model, Telstra has announced they’re teaming up with Microsoft to deliver a gaming package with a difference – Xbox All Access. Nothing like it has been offered in Australia before, and for anyone that’s been eager to properly get into gaming, it’s the perfect all-in-one solution.
What Exactly Is Xbox All Access?
One of the biggest barriers to entry when it comes to video games these days is the cost of both the games themselves and the hardware to play them on. The current generation of game consoles make getting set up for gaming easy (and work great as streaming devices and Blu-ray players as well) but there’s the cost of the console itself as a barrier – and then the cost of the games themselves, with new-release titles selling for close to $100 each.
Xbox All Access is a plan available to all Telstra postpaid customers (both mobile and broadband) that you can bundle onto your existing account. For a modest monthly cost, you get a brand-new Xbox One game console (with the acclaimed racing game Forza Horizon 4 that’s yours to keep) and a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. And the price is incredibly affordable, too – $27 per month for an Xbox One S, or $38 a month for the advanced Xbox One X console (the best option if you have a 4K TV).
Game Pass Ultimate
The thing that really seals the deal here is the inclusion of Game Pass Ultimate. A hugely popular subscription service, Game Pass opens up full access to a pool of over 100 games, including some big titles from the day of release such as Gears 5 and The Outer Worlds. Game Pass Ultimate, introduced only recently, is the full package – it includes Game Pass access for both Xbox console and Windows 10 PCs (meaning you’ll be able to download and play games on your computer as well at no extra cost) along with Xbox Live Gold for online play and four monthly free games. By itself, Game Pass Ultimate is worth $15.95 per month.
Game Pass is best experienced with a nice fast NBN connection – something Telstra’s already great at providing. But soon, you’ll be able to switch to a Telstra broadband plan that’s customised especially for gaming, with low latency and prioritising of game traffic, something more important than ever now we’re downloading and streaming huge amounts of data at home. Keep an eye on CompareTV for all the details on this new broadband plan when it’s announced!
You Own the Console
While Xbox All Access sounds like a subscription service, the key difference is that you’ll end up owning the console at the end of the 24-month contract – it’s yours to keep, making this a great way to get yourself an Xbox One right away without having to pay the entire cost of the console up front. Having access to a vast library of games as well just makes it all the more affordable.
As some may already know, the next generation of game consoles is expected to launch sometime during the next two years (most likely by the end of 2020) with Microsoft readying a powerful new Xbox console that’s code-named Scarlett. But with Xbox All Access, you’ll be able to upgrade to the new console when it becomes available. Full details of the upgrade are expected early in 2020, but rest assured you won’t be left stuck with an Xbox One if you want to move up to Scarlett the moment it’s released.
Oh, and one more thing – if you are a Telstra Plus member (and you should be if you’re a Telstra customer – it’s free) you’ll also get a bonus Xbox One chat headset completely free, ready and waiting for you in the Telstra Plus rewards store.
The Overall Cost – Surprisingly Good Value
With no upfront cost and an affordable monthly payment for all this, many would expect there to be some sort of gotcha in terms of the overall cost of the 24-month plan. But in fact, the total cost over two years is around the same as buying a console and two years of Game Pass Ultimate outright – and in fact can work out slightly cheaper in some cases. Spreading the cost over two years makes it easy and affordable for almost everyone, but seeing it priced so fairly is extremely welcome.
Xbox All Access is available right now if you’re on any Telstra post-paid plan. If you’re looking for a new home broadband or mobile phone plan, this is yet another reason to choose Telstra, so be sure to check out the plans to find the best one for you.