Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that its Work & Play bundle was back, providing a tremendous value to anyone who wanted all of its constituent parts. Today, the firm announced that it is making two major changes to the bundle, however. One is good. But the other is … potentially alarming.
As I wrote in Microsoft Brings Back the Work & Play Bundle for a Limited Time, this bundle provides a year of Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass, and Skype Wi-Fi + Skype Unlimited World at a drastically reduced cost of $149. It’s a US-only offer—sorry, world—and was originally available this month only at the Microsoft Store online.
Today, there are two changes to this bundle.
You can get it at a retail store. Just in time for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation, the Work & Play Bundle is now available in retail Microsoft Store locations too.
No more Xbox Music Pass. The Xbox Music Pass has been replaced by a $60 gift card for movies, music, games, apps, and more from the Windows and Xbox Stores. As noted, this is potentially alarming. But Microsoft says it’s because the gift card “offers even more choice and flexibility for customers – especially families.” I guess so. But sharing a gift card isn’t much easier than sharing an Xbox Music Pass, honestly.
Anyway, here’s how the bundle breaks down now:
Office 365 Home. As I just wrote about in Which Office 365?, this is the version with usage rights for five users in a household, each of which gets five installs of Office for PC/Mac, five installs of Office for large tablets, Office for smart phones, and much more. It costs $99.99 per year normally.
Xbox Live Gold. Normally $59.99 per year.
Skype Wi-Fi + Skype Unlimited World. With this, you get Wi-Fi access at over two million hotspots around the world, plus unlimited minutes to call friends and family around the globe from your laptop, tablet, phone, or TV. The normal cost is $13.99 per month, or $167.88 per year.
Microsoft gift card. Valued at $60, this gift card lets you buy movies, music, games, apps, and more from the Windows and Xbox Stores.
Since the gift card is worth $40 less than Xbox Music Pass, the total value of this package is a bit less at $385. But that’s still pretty amazing given the street price of $149. And as before, it’s a no-brainer if you’re already using some or all of these services.
You just have to wonder if this means something with regards to Xbox Music Pass.