Today Google announced that it's launching Google Play Pass, a subscription service that will give Android users access to over 350 apps and games, ad-free, with no in-app purchases. The service will cost $4.99 a month, but Google is offering users 10 days free. The company also says it's going to offer the service for $1.99 a month for the first year of operation, as long as you start paying by October 2. Google Play Pass will be available for US Android owners this week, but it's unclear when it will drop in other countries (Google's official release (opens in new tab) only says "soon").
Despite releasing suspiciously soon after Apple Arcade's debut, Google Play Pass has its differences from Apple's subscription service. First, it's bundling apps and games, which means you'll be able to get all of the apps you need for efficiency and all the games you'll need to ruin that efficiency. Games like LIMBO, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, and Monument Valley will all be available for Google Play Pass subscribers. Also, you'll notice there's no new game titles included in this service, as Google is notably not partnering with any developers for exclusive content, as opposed to Apple Arcade's exclusive game library.. All of the apps and games available in Google Play Pass can be purchased individually in Google Play.
A noted feature of Google Play Pass is the removal of ads and microtransactions. Any participating apps or games (which will be identified by a multi-colored ticket icon in the store) will run without any ads and will offer all in-game or in-app extras for free. This could mean that the participating apps may have multiple versions available in the Google Play marketplace - the Play Pass versions that are ad-free and sans microtransactions, and the regular paid versions that will include both.
Like Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass will allow up to five family members to share an account.
If you're interested in Google Play Pass, check out the 55 best android games (opens in new tab).