Google announces Apple Arcade competitor, Google Play Pass

Hot on the heels of Apple Arcade’s launch last week, Google has announced Google Play Pass, a subscription service similar to Apple’s Arcade which will provide access to more than 350 curated apps and games, all free of ads and in-app purchases. 

Interestingly, the new service will launch as soon as next week in the U.S., while other countries will get the chance to sign up “soon”. Players can get started with a 10-day free trial and subscribe for $5/month, although right now, Google is running a promotion that enables customers to sign up for $2/month for the first twelve months. Subscriptions can be shared across six family members.

“Play Pass offers a high-quality, curated collection of titles from Stardew Valley to AccuWeather, with new apps and games added every month,” a statement said. 

“You’ll find well-known apps and games like Terraria, Monument Valley, Risk, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and AccuWeather. And others you might be less familiar with that are just as amazing, like LIMBO, Lichtspeer, Mini Metro, Old Man’s Journey and many more. With new additions every month—including titles like This War of Mine and Cytus coming soon—there’s always something new to discover.”

“Play Pass helps encourage people to try new experiences they would not have otherwise,” says Maria Sayans, CEO of Ustwo games, which also launched Assemble with Care on Apple Arcade last week.

“Reach a new audience for your app no matter your category – from action and indie games, to education and utility apps,” Google explains in a page specifically for mobile game developers. “Attract new users who may not have discovered your app on their own, earn recurring revenue from Play Pass users who engage with your app, highlight your app in a curated section of the Play Store with new featuring opportunities, and indicate your app quality to Play Pass users with the Play Pass badge.”

Though Google Play Pass is currently an invitation-only program for developers, “if you’re building an app or game experience that you think would make a great addition to While Google Play Pass, you can learn more and fill out this form to express interest in participating,” Google said.

First announced back in March 2019, Apple stated the subscription service for iOS – which launched on September 19, 2019, for £5/$5 a month – was “unlike any other” service and would feature “over 100 groundbreaking new games where storytelling and design are pushed further than ever before”.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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