With the anticipated Apple Arcade now released, it is only logical for Google to respond with its own similar product, the Play Pass. Play Pass is currently in testing and should be released in the near future. For a monthly fee that looks to be around $4.99, users would gain access to a subscription service similar to Netflix in theme that provides access to a broad catalogue of premium mobile games for each platform free of ads or any additional purchases.
The Play Pass – More Than Only Games
Android’s answer to Apple appears to stick to the same price plan each month, but will offer apps in addition to games, again with no ads or in-game purchases. The lineup of games is as impressive as Apple's, with such premium titles as Stardew Valley and Risk available for unlimited play. The former is $7.99 on its own, so the value is certainly there for users who want to dabble in a broad range of games without necessarily committing to a single one, or who simply would love the opportunity to try all of these games before making a purchase.
The big question is what exactly the offering of apps would be, since the possibilities are so broad. For example, Bouncer is an outstanding security app for Android, but would feel strange to have only while a subscription to Play Pass is active. On the other hand, something like Nova Launcher Prime which offers great customization for the Android UI might be a better fit. For now, we can only guess at what apps would be included, but it does appear to be a step above what Apple is offering, at least in theory.
When Can We Expect It?
“Soon” is what Google stated in early September. This could mean before 2020 but is likely to launch before that. This is because Apple Arcade has already launched, and it would be in Google’s best interests to ensure there is a viable alternative for anyone who would benefit from this kind of product, otherwise they might jump ship from Android to Apple.
It’s almost time ⏲️ Google Play Pass is coming soon. pic.twitter.com/vTbNmRehLm— Google Play (@GooglePlay) September 9, 2019
Who Is This Good For?
In a nutshell, either the Play Pass or Apple Arcade, depending on one’s hardware, may be a great fit for all kinds of users. Microsoft and other companies are currently experimenting with the same kind of subscription service for their games on PC, and to a point the online subscriptions that the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch offer also are similar in theme.
This means that people who love mobile gaming can gain access to many games they might otherwise not purchase simply because they are turned off from paying a premium price without first experiencing a game. Some users will thus sign up for a single month, test out a broad range of games, and then make an informed purchase.
Other users who enjoy mobile gaming but are more casual, or rather, restricted in the time they can devote to games, may love also that they can jump from one game to another at will. For most users, the Play Pass will at the very least open a world of apps that may otherwise go unconsidered.
The Idea Of Play Pass And Apple Arcade Is A Great Step Forward
In addition to the benefits listed above, perhaps on the most important features that deserves more attention is that the games included in each service will be completely free of in-game ads and purchases. This means that all of those terrible re-skinned games with ridiculous pay-to-win mechanics or aggressive placements of ads will be removed entirely from the ecosystem for those who use the service. In the long-run, this may dissuade developers from spending time or resources on developing such games, which would be fantastic for everyone.
The future is probably going to be subscription based, but overall, these services seem pro-consumer, which is exactly where we want to be heading with our mobile devices.