Google Is Testing a Subscription Service Called “Play Pass”

Aug 1
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At WWDC this year, Apple announced Apple Arcade, a monthly subscription service that gives you access to over a hundred mobile games for a flat fee. Apple Arcade games will be playable across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. It means that users can pick up where they left off in a game, even if they switch devices. It turns out that Google is working on something similar called ‘Play Pass’.

XDA Developers was the first to stumble upon Play Pass in an APK teardown earlier this year. We didn’t know much about it at the time, but now it looks like Google is starting to test it. An Android Police reader shared some screenshots with the publication that sheds some light on Google’s Play Pass. Most importantly, they also give us a rough idea about how much it’ll cost; something that we don’t know about Apple Arcade just yet.

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Much like Apple Arcade, Play Pass will give users access to a curated catalogue of games that include puzzle games to premium music. Google Play Pass will reportedly provide you with access to ‘hundreds of premium apps’ and games without ads, download fees or in-app purchases. You’ll even get access to ‘premium’ titles such as Stardew Valley and Marvel Pinball. We’re not entirely sure what ‘in-app purchases unlocked’ means in this context. One would be hard-pressed to find a mobile game that doesn’t come with IAPs, so perhaps it means that all the titles available with Play Pass won’t have them?

Android Police also reached out to Google for a comment, and a spokesperson confirmed that Play Pass is being tested. It may be a while before we see it in action, though. There is a high likelihood that Google may roll out Play Pass at the end of the year (presumably around when Apple Arcade releases) We could even see it get released alongside the Pixel 4. Do we need another subscription-based service to pile on top of the dozen-odd ones that we use? Probably not.

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