Entertainment payment has gone the way of subscription services from Spotify to Netflix. Now it’s moving onto mobile apps and games. Earlier this year, Apple announced Apple Arcade – a monthly subscription service that will give you access to a library of mobile games. Including some exclusive titles. Apple Arcade isn’t live yet, but Google is already testing its own competing service, named Play Pass.
Android Police has reported that the company has already started testing a new Play Pass subscription service. For a USD$4.99 monthly fee, you can have access to “hundreds of premium apps and games”, with no ads or in-app purchases.
An info page reads, “Explore a curated catalogue spanning puzzle games to premium music apps and everything in between. From action hits to puzzles and fitness trackers – with Google Play Pass you unlock access to hundreds of premium apps and games. Without ads, download fees or in-app purchases.” Another screen shows Stardew Valley and Marvel Pinball as some of the included games.
The purchase screen shows a USD$4.99 a month price with a 10-day free trial of the service. Developers will apparently get paid based on usage. Google will track the “Play Pass app and game usage to determine how much developers earn.”
Google’s service does differ from Apple’s in a few ways. Apple Arcade is only focused on games, and all of the available titles will have at least some exclusivity to Apple’s service. Apple’s service will also include a family plan by default. Although there’s no word yet on what Apple Arcade will cost on a monthly basis.
Play Pass, on the other hand, offers access to the existing catalogue already on the Google Play Store. Given Android’s well-known piracy problem, combined with the fact that iOS users tend to spend more on apps than their Android counterparts. It may be harder to sell successful premium apps on Android.
For now, Play Pass is just in testing, and there’s no word on a final rollout. The price could change, or Google could need more time to negotiate with developers. So expect some details to change between now and launch.