Google Play Pass, a new subscription service that offers premium mobile games for a monthly fee, has been garnering mixed reviews since it launched a few weeks ago. While the service definitely offers up several great games and apps, it has been overshadowed by the more popular Apple Arcade and developers who worry they won't make much money from the service. Play Pass features no exclusive games, contains several duplicate titles, and — like all subscription services — you lose the games once you stop paying for the service. So, is it worth the $4.99 (currently $1.99 as an introductory offer) a month?
To Each Their Own
In my opinion, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Most people (myself included), probably subscribed for games such as Monument Valley 2, Stardew Valley, and KOTOR 2. Oddly enough, I haven’t played a minute of those games since downloading them back when the service launched. Instead, I’ve lost over five hours to Pumped BMX 3. It’s a fantastic biking game that providing tons of content and is great to play in short bursts or for hours at a time.
As of today, even if I don’t download a single new game for the next twelve months, I’ll still get my money’s worth out of the service. However, the subscription isn’t right for everyone. Here are two key points to consider before you sign up for Google Play Pass.
Churn and Burn
If there are only a few games on the Play Pass that catch your eye, the service might still be a good fit for you. In fact, it might be worth your time to do some math and figure out if it’s cheaper to subscribe to the service rather than buy a standalone game you’re interested in. For example, instead of buying Knights of the Old Republic 2 for $9.99, why not subscribe for one month at $4.99, beat the game, then unsubscribe? That’s no small feat, but one that is certainly doable. Better yet, download two or three smaller games, beat them within a month, and then drop the service. Of course, this only works for people who play dozens of hours a month, or those who lose interest in games quickly.
If You’re Picky... Don't Take A Pass?
People who have broad interests when it comes to mobile games will find lots to love with the service. However, if you are very particular about what you play on your phone, the service is definitely not for you. Instead, just buy the game on your own and save yourself the trouble. Also, if you tend to play one game and neglect everything else, Play Pass might not be a good investment. The beauty of the service is all the games being offered to you; if you only play one or two over the life of the subscription then you aren’t getting your money’s worth. If you fall into this category, the $4.99 price point certainly isn’t worth it.
Play Pass For Masses
In the end, the Play Pass is a good choice for most people. It offers dozens of high-quality games that should give most people the sense that their subscription fee is money well spent. For those gamers who are exclusive to individual games, or for those who are picky about what they play, they might be better off purchasing the standalone version of the games.