Microsoft may be contemplating a novel subscription offer: one that includes the video game console in the monthly subscription fee.
The service, dubbed Xbox All Access, would launch as soon as this month, offering two tiers of pricing.
For a $22 monthly fee, gamers would get an Xbox One S console, access to the Xbox Live multiplayer gaming service and access to Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service offering a broad catalog of games. For a slightly higher monthly fee of $35 consumers would get a more powerful gaming console, the Xbox One X.
A Microsoft spokesperson declined comment on the report from the publication Windows Central.
Game-industry analyst Michael Pachter noted that, if true, this would be a smart move by Microsoft — borrowing directly from the wireless carrier playbook.
Carriers like Verizon and AT&T have offered customers smartphone installment plans that allow them to purchase the latest, greatest smartphones, but also tend to keep customers from fleeing the service. That could work for Microsoft, too.
The Redmond software giant has fallen to second place in the console market, behind rival Sony, and faces an aggressive threat from the newly resurgent Nintendo, whose sales have been propelled by the hot-selling Switch.
Researcher IHS Markit predict Nintendo will shoulder Microsoft out of the #2 position this year. In 2018, spending on Nintendo products is expected to reach $11 billion, while Microsoft will drop to $9 billion. Sony PlayStation products should still pull in over $20 billion this year.