Microsoft is bundling several of its popular software and service offerings just in time for the holidays.
The company has launched a new Work & Play Bundle that includes a 12-month subscription to Office 365 Home, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Music Pass and Skype Unlimited World + WiFi for $199. Purchased separately, the services cost more than $400.
There is a catch. The bundle is "available in physical, brick-and-mortar Microsoft Stores only," a Microsoft spokesperson told eWEEK. The offer is valid until Jan. 4, 2015, and only in participating "full line retail stores" located in the United States. Microsoft is also imposing a limit of three bundles per customer.
Microsoft operates a number of full retail store locations as well as smaller specialty stores that "offer a curated selection of the best Microsoft products, including Surface, Xbox, Windows 8 PCs and Phones," according to the company. In total, there are more than 100 physical Microsoft Stores in the United States and Canada.
Recently, the company announced plans to open a new flagship store in New York City's ritzy Fifth Avenue shopping district. "Our Fifth Avenue location will be much more than just a Microsoft Store. In addition to retail, there will be experiential space for Microsoft as a company to further engage with our customers and partners in new and innovative ways," said David Porter, corporate vice president of Worldwide Retail Stores at Microsoft, in a statement.
Although it requires a trek to the store, the Work & Play bundle includes several money-saving perks for consumers who are invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.
In addition to installable Office apps (e.g., Word, Excel and PowerPoint) for PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones, Office 365 Home includes 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. Last month, Microsoft announced that it was in the process of lifting the cloud storage limits entirely for Office 365 Home, Personal and University subscribers.
Corporate customers will have to wait until next year to take advantage of unlimited OneDrive storage. "For OneDrive for Business customers, unlimited storage will be listed on the Office 365 roadmap in the coming days and we will begin updating the First Release customers in 2015, aligned with our promise to provide ample notification for significant service changes," said Chris Jones, corporate vice president of Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint, in a statement.
On the gaming front, an Xbox Live Gold subscription entitles users to select free games and subscriber-only discounts. Skype WiFi provides access to more than 2 million WiFi hotspots around the world.
Current subscribers of one or more services can redeem the offer to push back to buy more time. "If you are already an Office 365, Xbox Live, Xbox Music, or Skype Unlimited World subscriber, your subscription will be automatically extended by 1 year when you activate the code," states the Microsoft Work & Play Bundle FAQ.