The fusion technique. The unexpected partnership. THE COLLAB.
All provocative words to entice those who ask “but WHOMST?”. Whomst indeed, as it’s revealed today that Spark New Zealand have announced a partnership with Microsoft to offer Kiwis the bundle known as:
XBOX ALL ACCESS.
What the hell is XBOX All Access? Well similar to other plans launched internationally, it offers up the opportunity to purchase an XBOX One S or One X console along with the XBOX Game Pass Ultimate. That’s right! It’s basically like buying a new mobile phone on a plan! And it will be with Spark! A truly impressive new way to pay and play.
Through this bundle deal, gamers will be able to pick up the One S for around $32 a month, or the One X for $37 over 24 months. YES. You get a whole-ass console AND Game Pass Ultimate for the low monthly cost of a good bucket from KFC.
With no interest incurred, the bundle simply covers the costs of what you’re paying for. You can look at in this formula; The rough cost of the One X 1TB model is around $600. Factor in the Ultimate Game Pass subscription fee of $20 per month, and over 24 months this equals $480. Combine those, divide by 24 and you get $45. This is $8 more than what you would pay for this bundle with Spark. Sounds like a bargain to me!
“But it’s only the console and Game Pass, what’s so great about that?”
Game Pass is already a MASSIVE success for Microsoft as a subscription service on XBOX. Granting gamers access to a growing library of over 100 titles and more, it automatically grants gamers the ability to game. Along with this, it provides the XBOX Live Gold service, which allows multiplayer gaming through a range of titles and cloud storage for game saves. HUGE. It is honestly momentous. There’s a new caveat to add to this also:
With Azure servers coming to the ‘land of the long white cloud’, we should see lower latency across the board for all things Microsoft. What this will result in is quicker download and upload speeds, meaning you can populate your library even faster than before. Oh and play online with lower lag meaning yes, you’re just sh*t at the game (sorry).
It’s impressive to see Microsoft still burning money through XBOX. Their investment in the system, and technologies to allow better coverage and availability across classes is commendable. Leading the facilitation of the gaming subscription service, they’ve forced the likes of Ubisoft, EA and even PlayStation to step forward with offerings. For the first time, Microsoft finally showcased the amount of users on the Game Pass service:
We saw record engagement in gaming this quarter:
• Xbox Live has nearly 90 million monthly active users
• Xbox Game Pass has more than 10 million subscribers
• Project xCloud has 100s of thousands of active users in preview across 7 countries, with more coming
— Frank X. Shaw (@fxshaw) April 29, 2020
It’s praiseworthy to see a huge amount of subscribers on the platform, but of course like any sane person, we should question the merit in this news coming out during a time when everyone is at home. Makes you think. In comparison though, the PlayStation Now service currently has between 700,000 to 1 million users, which is only 10% of Game Pass’s overall userbase. Along with this, their global investment has yet to gain traction, which could see XBOX winning big in regions like ours. UPlay+ and EA Play were proving tricky for me to find (forgive my lack of patience and/or skill on Google) any subscriber counts for, but they add another issue to the overall subscription platform:
You’ve already experienced this with Netflix and the burgeoning field of media streaming. When the likes of NEON, Lightbox and such entered the fray, it diluted Netflix’s overall library of content. This is also why more Netflix Originals started to be produced. This type of thought offers immediate pros and cons; Dilution sees games which consumers would like to play split across a range of platforms, which may mean they miss out on titles licensed to these. On the other hand, we may see the further rise of exclusivity and more original content from developers as this service grows. Exclusivity has been something that’s worked in favour of PlayStation’s market retention, but you’ve seen Microsoft nudging at this as they sign on more and more Developers under their Studios brand.
The Console Wars still burn.
As cross-play becomes more and more prominent, and the need for accessibility is tackled more and more, subscriptions have become more popular than ever. With Microsoft assisting Spark in diversifying its own services, and growing their own through it, with the addition of their upcoming datacenter, this is an incredible play from them to take a bite at the hand of PlayStation. New Zealand is very much a PlayStation Nation, but if they implement these plans correctly, we could see some market share shift in favour of the XBOX again.
And let’s not even get started on Nintendo.
You can buy the new XBOX All Access Bundle NOW through Spark.