Work & Play Bundle Now Provides Less But Costs More

Posted on May 29, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365, Xbox with 0 Comments

Work & Play Bundle Now Provides Less But Costs More

A friend with an expiring Work & Play bundle subscription noted that the new deal is not as good as it was last year: The current version of the Bundle is $50 more expensive than before and provides fewer features. In fact, it’s no longer a good deal at all.

As you may know, the Work & Play bundle provides one-year subscriptions to a variety of Microsoft’s services. But it’s been going downhill over the years, too, offering fewer Microsoft services over time. And with this latest version, the price is up, too.

In April 2015, the Work & Play bundle provided a one-year subscription to Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass, and Skype Wi-Fi + Skype Unlimited World. That was a $425 value for the $150 asking price.

Later that month, Microsoft removed Xbox Music Pass from the bundle and added a $60 Microsoft gift card to make up the difference. The price stayed the same, and the bundle was available in Microsoft’s retail stores for the first time.

Last fall, the Work & Play bundle changed again. This time, it included a one-year subscription to Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass, Skype Wi-Fi + Skype, the Assure Support Plan (a one-year membership to Answer Desk, Microsoft’s personalized technical support service), and a $60 bonus gift card. The cost was still $150, but the value had risen to $540.

Well, it’s not so great anymore.

The new version of the Work & Play bundle costs $200 and provides the following:

Office 365 Home. 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 $100 per year normally.

Xbox Live Gold. Normally $60 per year.

Assure Support Plan. This is a one-year membership to Answer Desk, Microsoft’s personalized technical support service and it provides unlimited one-on-one software support for Windows and Office applications. This normally costs $150 per year.

$25 Bonus Gift Card. This is for Microsoft’s online stores—Xbox, Windows Store, Windows Phone Store—not the Microsoft Store online or at retail.

So, the gift card is less valuable ($25 vs. $60), and Skype Wi-Fi + Skype Unlimited World, a roughly $170 value, is gone all together. Doing a bit more math, we see that the value of this offering is now $335. So the savings is $135. Still a savings, yes. But the least good savings ever offered on this bundle by far.

I guess the way to judge this is to look at three things most people would always use—Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, and that gift card—and then see whether the deal makes sense. Those three things add up to $185. So the answer is no, and most people would be better off paying for Office 365 Home and Xbox Live Gold separately. And that is a shame.

Thanks for the tip, Dave.

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