Microsoft is hoping that a new Work & Play bundle will convince users on the fence about adopting some of its services to take the plunge and fully switch to its now robust line up of software and services.
Microsoft Work & Play debuted on the company’s Microsoft Store retail website early yesterday. Microsoft Work & Play isn’t another product from Microsoft in the traditional sense. Instead, it’s what amounts to a value bundle, an all-inclusive subscription to Microsoft’s more consumer oriented offerings.
$149.99 gets users a year-long subscription to Office 365 Home, OneDrive, Skype, Skype WiFi, Xbox Music and Xbox Live. Normally, Microsoft says that buying these things separately would cost over $250, which probably isn’t much consolation to those who might already have them all.
Office 365 is the company’s relatively new subscription service aimed at users who need Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel, but don’t want to pay upwards of $120 for each PC they own. Office 365 Home allows users to install Microsoft Office on up to 5 different PCs at a time. There’s additional installs for smartphones and tablets. Office 365 Home already comes with 5TB of OneDrive storage, 1TB for each users. Users also get an hour of Skype calling time a month per user. Normally, Office 365 Home costs $9.99 a month.
Read: What is Office 365?
Skype Wi-Fi is the service that allows users to connect to millions of internet access points around the world when they don’t have an internet connection. Xbox Music and Xbox Live are the two parts of this Microsoft Work & Play bundle that are drawing raised eyebrows.
Xbox Music is like Spotify in that it lets users store and stream millions of songs for just $9.99. In addition to that it gives users an extra 100GB of storage to add their music to OneDrive for easy streaming. It also provides free music video streaming on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles. A year of Xbox Music normally costs $99 from the Microsoft Store.
Millions of Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners use Xbox Live to play multiplayer games online with their friends and family. Microsoft also lets users with an Xbox Live Gold subscription store the video clips from their games on its servers. Each week Microsoft offers Deals with Gold discounts on some of the most popular games available. The company also hands out two Xbox One and Xbox 360 games to subscribers at no additional cost. Xbox Live Gold costs $60 a year normally.
Whether you should take Microsoft up on the new Work & Play bundle comes down to your preference for subscription services. Office 365 Home is a pretty easy way to get access to the Office apps wherever you need them. So are the included boosts for OneDrive, Skype and Skype Wi-Fi. If you’re already paying monthly for a music subscription service, it’s likely cheaper in the long run to purchase this bundle. Whether it’s worth buying to get Xbox Live Gold is pretty questionable since that service requires specific hardware to take advantage of the savings.
To be clear, Microsoft first offered the Work & Play bundle last year, but it was only for those heading into a Microsoft Store. This Work & Play bundle is available to everyone and anyone living in the United States who has access to the Microsoft Store website. Buyers who snatch up the subscription online receive an email with codes that need to be redeemed and links on where to submit those codes.
Microsoft isn’t partnering with any other retail stores to offer the Work & Play bundle for now.