Google announced the launch of Google Play Pass exclusively in the United States this week. The launch comes shortly after the release of Apple Arcade on September 19th. Google Play Pass is similar to the Apple Arcade service, except it is not exclusive to games and includes other apps. It is compatible with mobile, laptop, and tablet devices with Play Store version 16.6.25 and above, and Android version 4.4 and above.
The service comes with over 350 apps and games that have no ads, in-app purchases or upfront payments. As of right now it is an invite only for developers who wish to include their games in the service, and they are planning to continue to add apps and games each month. Games like Terraria, Monument Valley, Risk, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic are all available with the service as well as apps such as AccuWeather and FaceTune.
All of the features of the games and apps will be available to Play Pass members (even those that usually require a fee to play). There is also free-to-play content included. Freemium apps and games have all of their ads removed and IAPs made available, and the "unlock" applies to any app that you have already paid for or downloaded.
Starting this week, you will see a Play Pass option in the menu portion of your Google Play store. Select Free Trial or Subscribe to get started. There is a 10-day free trial and then it will charge $4.99/month after that. If you sign up for the service before October 10th, the first 12 months are only $1.99/month.
After you select that option you will see a Play Pass tab on your main page. That includes all of the apps available to you. It will also make suggestions and show new and popular apps that you might be interested in trying out.
I was really excited to start my 10-day free trial to see if the subscription was really worth it. I do not consider myself a "gamer" but I like to play games and I have kids that often need entertaining, so this could be a great solution for that. Unfortunately it seems they are being slow about the roll out because although I have a phone that has the required specs (Samsung S10) I have not been able to find it as an option in the Play Store. It seems many people are having the same issue as well, which doesn't bode well for them after the successful launch of Apple Arcade just last week.
The biggest difference with Play Pass, and what many may consider a benefit, is there are not any "exclusive titles". Meaning any game you get through Play Pass can also just be bought and downloaded from the Play Store. So if you normally spend more than $5 a month on apps or games, this subscription may be worth it to you. If you don't normally spend that much per month, then you may consider other options.
With all of these subscription services being offered, the prices can start to add up fast. GamePress recently reviewed Play Pass, Apple Arcade, and Google Stadia (another service from Google that will be available in November) to see what was worth the price. Make sure to check those out below!