Overly-eager gamers looking to save money on a next-generation gaming console would do best to avoid one offer recently launched by ISP Vox.
The company provides rental contracts for Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S, effectively allowing customers to borrow one of these consoles with monthly payments.
These contracts are offered over 12, 24, or 36 months, with instalments declining as the contract length increases, but total amounts climbing.
On one of these packages, you can get the Xbox Series X on a 36-month rental contract at R720 per month.
While this amount would sound attractive when compared with its cash price of R11,999, the math shows that this option makes for a very bad deal.
Monthly payments of R720 over 36 months would work out to an astronomical R25,960, more than double the cash price of the console.
Notably, this would equate to an annual interest rate of just under 80% if it were a credit purchase.
Alternatively, the Xbox Series S can be rented at R420 per month over the same period.
This would compound to a total of R15,160 over the rental term, compared with its R6,999 cash price.
Once again, the difference in pricing – R8,161 – is more than the console itself.
To top this off, the console remains the property of Vox when the contract’s term ends, which means it must be returned or the contract will have to be renewed.
Buying on credit is better
What is particularly troubling about this offer is that it works out to be more expensive than buying a console on credit.
There are several credit providers that will allow you to pay the consoles off monthly and keep them at the end of the day.
Mobicred is one such provider – allowing consumers to make online purchases on credit at an annual personalised interest rate.
Buying the Series X via Mobicred on Loot, for example, would run at a monthly cost of R1,097 over 12 months with an interest rate of 17.5%.
This is not including the initial sign-up of R570 and monthly admin fee of R39.90.
Even taking the latter into account, however, the total cost for the console after it has been paid off would be R14,212.80, around R2,200 more expensive than when bought with cash.
By comparison, renting the Xbox Series X from Vox over the same period would incur a monthly premium of R1,620 and a total cost of R19,440.
In short, this means it is over R5,200 more expensive to rent than buy on credit, and at the end of it all, you don’t even get to keep the console.
The table below shows what you would pay for the Xbox Series X and Series S over the various rental periods with Vox, compared with buying it on credit from Mobicred at an annual interest rate of 17.5%.
|Xbox Series X|S – Rental vs buying on credit|
|Xbox Series X||Monthly payment||Total payment||Monthly payment||Total payment
(incl. sign up and admin fee)
|Xbox Series S||Monthly payment||Total payment||Monthly payment||Total payment
(incl. sign up and admin fee)
Cancelling won’t help
Those who have already signed up for this offer will have little choice but to stick it out.
Just like most device contracts that can be taken with mobile networks, cancelling is not really an option.
According to Vox’s Terms and Conditions, cancellation of the contract would incur a penalty fee.
The fee would equate to the “total remaining monthly payments of the rental term,” which effectively makes cancelling useless.
What adds insult to injury in this instance, however, is the fact that paying the penalty fee for the cancellation of a smartphone contract usually means you still get the device.
With Vox’s rental contract, you’ll be out of pocket and have no console to show for it.
MyBroadband contacted Vox to enquire whether it was aware that its rental contracts worked out to be far more expensive than paying for the consoles on credit and asked the company which benefits this product offers over buying it outright.
Executive Head of Braintree – the Microsoft consulting and integration division of Vox – Heath Huxtable labelled the ISP’s introduction of rental options in the local market as “ground-breaking”.
“Gaming as a Service (GaaS) has never been tried in South Africa and this was our first foray into this space,” he stated.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in gaming becoming a huge business and as such, Vox’s aim has been to achieve GaaS by providing an affordable and accessible gaming experience to the masses,” Huxtable said.
He explained that it was important to note that Vox does not calculate monthly payments based on interest rates and that the company carried the full warranty and risk for the contract device, with a replacement in case of malfunction possible within a day.
“Our intention has never been one whereby customers end up with the hardware at the end of their contract, but rather have the flexibility to upgrade their device at the end of the contract, or better yet, have the ability and flexibility to move ‘in and out’ of devices midway contract,” he added.
Huxtable noted that Vox would be expanding its offering into bundle options like game optimised fibre connectivity to the home as well as peripherals, in addition to building a tournament gaming community.
“The bottom line is that we are wanting to create a gaming experience that is affordable and accessible to all,” Huxtable said.