The Work & Play subscription bundle that Microsoft started selling in the run up to the holiday season already made purchasing a year of Xbox Music and Xbox Live affordable. In a new deal, the Microsoft Store is slashing the price on that same Work & Play bundle with Xbox Music and Xbox Live included. A year of every subscription service Microsoft offers now costs $149.99.
Microsoft lowered the price of its Work & Play bundle today, roughly a month after introducing the all-inclusive package. Microsoft Work & Play bundle buyers get access to Office 2013, Skype and Xbox subscription services.
On the work side there’s Office 365 Home. Normally, a year of Office 365 Home would cost buyers $9.99 a month or $99 a year. It’s Office 365 that lets users download full copies of Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity apps onto 5 different computers and tablets.
The entertainment side of the equation is what matters most though. Xbox One and Xbox 360 users are required to have Xbox Live in order to play games online. Without an Xbox Live subscription, which normally costs $59.99 a year or $9.99 a month, single player campaigns and local multiplayer are about the only thing Xbox users can do with their console as far as gaming is concerned. This bundle gives users access to Xbox Live Gold for an entire year. Yes, that means buyers will be able to play games online with their friends. Users can also look forward to the free games that Microsoft lets Xbox Live Gold users download every month.
Skype is traditionally known as a PC service, but it crosses some boundaries. Today there are Skype apps available for just about anything with a web camera. That now includes Microsoft’s Xbox One console. With the year of Skype Unlimited included here users can voice or video chat with their friends over Xbox, iPhones or Android tablets. Additionally, Skype unlimited allows users to call landline and mobile phones too.
Finally, Microsoft is including 12 months of its Xbox Music subscription service in the deal. Xbox Music allows users to download and stream entire albums and songs from Microsoft’s servers. Users don’t own that content, but it’s there for them to stream as long as they have an active subscription service. An Xbox Music subscription also includes unlimited music video streaming on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles, though Microsoft doesn’t point that out a lot. Normally, a year of Xbox Music costs $99. Users who don’t have a Windows or Windows Phone device can stream music from the service’s website too.
Microsoft may have lowered the sale amount of the Work & Play but it hasn’t seen fit to make the bundle any easier to get. Only customers of the Microsoft Store can take advantage of the Work & Play bundle, the company hasn’t rolled out a way to purchase the bundle on its Microsoft Store site. That being said, Microsoft has opened a number of different retail locations. On the east and west coasts of the United States there should be a Microsoft Store almost relatively near shoppers in big cities.
Potential buyers should head to their nearest Microsoft Store to purchase the Work & Play bundle anytime between now and the end of the holiday season. The online redemption page for the Microsoft Work & Play bundle indicates Microsoft has plans to discontinue the big subscription savings on January 4 2015. It’s not clear if Microsoft plans to make some sort of bundle for all of its subscriptions a permanent offering or not.