Having just revealed many of the things it’ll have on sale as a part of its Black Friday 2014 slate of deals, Microsoft ended yesterday by revealing another another deal for holiday shoppers. It’s introducing a new Work & Play subscription bundle for shoppers at its retail stores, giving users an easy way to pick up Office 365 and Skype. For those who like to play more than they work, Microsoft is also packing in a year of Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Music Pass into the $199 bundle.
A page first discussing the new Microsoft Work & Play bundle surfaced on the Microsoft Store website yesterday. Those who purchase the $199 Microsoft Work & Play bundle get one year of every service included.
Besides a one year subscription to the company’s Office 365 subscription service, there’s also a terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage that expires after a year. The included year of Skype Unlimited World and Wi-Fi access will allow anyone with a Skype app and a Wi-Fi connection to place landline and mobile phone calls to just about anywhere. Skype Wi-Fi gives users access to Wi-Fi hotspots around the world at no extra cost.
Xbox Music is the streaming service that lets users listen to music without commercials on their Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows PC and the web. Microsoft has companion apps on Windows Phone, iPhone and Android. Xbox Live is the gaming service that gifts Xbox 360 and Xbox One users two free titles a month and access to all the multiplayer gaming they could want – provided they already own the game.
As a year of Xbox Music and Xbox Live Gold subscription would normally cost $160 by itself, users are getting a pretty great deal. Office 365 Personal normally costs another $99 on top of that. There’s just one catch.
This new Microsoft Work & Play Bundle is a limited time offering. Microsoft says it’s only offering up until January 4th 2015. That’s around the same time Microsoft has plans to drop the discount that’s keeping entry-level Xbox One bundles at $349. Those who do purchase the Microsoft Work & Play Bundle ahead of Black Friday 2014 will need to redeem the codes for the different offerings here.
Finally, there’s the little problem of purchasing the Microsoft Work & Play Bundle online. Microsoft says you can’t. Instead, it’s inviting potential holiday shoppers to purchase the Microsoft Work & Play Bundle at their local Microsoft Store. In that sense, Microsoft seems to be banking on this bundle being a perfect add-on for Black Friday 2014 shoppers who’ll be picking up other Microsoft products over the coming months.
Despite it’s relatively limited availability. This is the best deal we’ve seen yet from Microsoft. In the last few years the company has added subscription services to its lineup of software and hardware. Whereas its older products still rely on traditional purchases, a lot of the newer things coming out of Microsoft have low monthly fees to defray the cost overtime.
For example, Office 365 is included with tons of computes these days because it gives those who might not be comfortable with purchasing Microsoft Office at $130, with a cheaper, genuine alternative. Putting all of the Microsoft services makes them more approachable than if Microsoft were to push them at shoppers separately. Of course, after that year is up, Black Friday 2014 shoppers will be need to pay for each service in the Microsoft Work & Play Bundle Separately. That’s a good thing, because then they’ll be able to choose between the services they actually want and need versus those that just weren’t useful to them in their first year.