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Google Launches New $4.99 'Play Pass' Service on Android Devices to Compete with Apple Arcade
Google's version, like Apple Arcade, provides games to customers without in-app purchases and without ads. There is a family sharing option, and a Play Pass subscription can be shared with up to five family members.
Google's service is not limited to just games, and it includes titles that are already released, such as Stardew Valley, Terraria, Monument Valley, Knights of the Old Republic, Facetune, and AccuWeather. Google's offerings are also not exclusive, which is one of the key features of Apple Arcade.
With Apple Arcade, all of the game titles are only on the App Store when it comes to mobile devices, but some are also developed for release on console. Apple Arcade is also limited to new content and doesn't include popular older apps like Play Pass.
Given that Google is using existing games in Play Pass, it has a larger catalog of available titles at launch - hundreds, compared to Apple's 60+. Google says customers can count on new titles monthly, which is something Apple has also promised.
According to The Verge, Google plans to pay developers through user engagement with the apps, though it's not entirely clear what that means at this time. Google said that it's more than just screen time or number of app opens per week.
Google has been working on the Play Pass service since 2018, and began testing it out at the end of July.
Play Pass is available for Android devices in the United States this week, and will be expanding to additional countries soon. It comes with a 10-day free trial and after that, a subscription costs $4.99 per month, just like Apple Arcade.
Google is offering a promo, though, which will allow subscribers to sign up for $1.99 per month for the first year for a limited time. Play Pass content can be accessed through the new Play Pass option that you can get to by tapping the menu in the top left corner of the Play Store.