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Apple Arcade vs. Google Play Pass

With the launch of iOS 13, Apple released Apple Arcade, a new $4.99 per month gaming service that provides unlimited access to new and exclusive games.

Less than two weeks later, Google announced its own gaming service called Play Pass, which also offers unlimited access to games. In our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with both services to compare them.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

Both Apple Arcade and Play Pass are priced at $4.99 per month. Apple offers a one-month free trial while Google offers a 10-day free trial, but for the first year, Google is offering a deal that drops the price of Play Pass to $1.99 per month.

Though the prices are similar, the two services are quite different. Apple Arcade features new and exclusive games, some of which were funded by Apple, while Google's Play Pass offers up older games.

Play Pass includes some super popular titles like Stardew Valley, Reigns, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Terraria, and more, but the problem with older games is that many people may have already played them.

Play Pass is also not limited to games -- Google is including apps too. AccuWeather, Pic Stitch, ISS HD, and Tunable are some of the apps offered.

‌Apple Arcade‌ only offers gaming titles, but all of the games are fresh, new, and exclusive to ‌Apple Arcade‌. In some cases, though, some of the games are also available on consoles, but on mobile platforms, ‌Apple Arcade‌ gets exclusive access. That means no Android equivalent.

It's not clear if apps can leave ‌Apple Arcade‌, but Google warns that apps can leave Play Pass. If that happens, users will need to buy the game to continue to use it if it's a paid game, and for free titles, ads and in-app purchases may show up.

Google says there are hundreds of apps and games included with more being added every month. ‌Apple Arcade‌ launched with right around 60 games, and Apple has also promised new content on a monthly basis. Both services offer offline gaming, so no internet connection is required.

With both services, content is ad free and features no in-app purchases. Apple titles were designed from the ground up with no additional purchases, but for Play Pass, these gaming elements have been removed from titles that previously offered them.

Apple allows up to six family members to share games through a single ‌Apple Arcade‌ subscription using Family Sharing, and Google allows for up to five family members to share content through its Google Play Family Library.

‌Apple Arcade‌ has launched in multiple countries around the world, while Play Pass is limited to the United States at the current time. Google does plan to expand, however.

One other aspect worth noting is privacy. Apple specifically mentions privacy protections and says that users are able to choose to share data, while Google's Play Pass materials don't mention privacy or data sharing. "Every game must meet Apple's high privacy standards," reads Apple's press release for ‌Apple Arcade‌.

Most people are locked in to either Android or iOS and few have both, so most people won't need to choose between services.

Apple users who have a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV can access ‌Apple Arcade‌ on those devices, while Google Play Pass requires a smartphone, laptop, or tablet with Android 4.4 or above and Play Store version 16.6.25. Google Play Pass games can't be played on the larger screen of a television, which gives ‌Apple Arcade‌ a bit of an edge when it comes to non-mobile gaming.

Do you prefer ‌Apple Arcade‌ with its fresh selection of titles, or Google Play Pass with its larger library of already available games? Let us know in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

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4 weeks ago


Cancelled Arcade today. Was hyped for it, but I guess the current gen of touch games just don't hold my attention long. Capcom I found had the was the most immersive title though.


Well, I canceled arcade after three days. I decided it just wasn’t for me at all. I think I’d prefer Google’s offering, as the games mentioned in the article are ones I would play.

To be absolutely clear I am not accusing anyone here of trolling but if I were a troll I would almost certainly post comments like "I cancelled after 3 days because..." It's free for 1 month! Why would anyone cancel after just a few days when it's free for a month. With 60 games can you expect anyone to seriously believe you took time to evaluate the product and all its offerings and decided it was so unusable that it was worth taking the time to cancel it after only 3 days?

Arcade is not for everyone. It probably isn't really for me. But if I were a gamer I would certainly take more than a few days to evaluate it thoroughly given that it is free for a month. Otherwise I would expect people to accuse me of trolling. Which, to be clear, I am not.
Rating: 37 Votes
4 weeks ago
So Google rounded up a bunch of stuff hanging around in the shed out back, slapped a sticker on it and called it Play Pass?

Sounds more like a garage sale.
Rating: 22 Votes
4 weeks ago
I prefer my Nintendo Switch ?
Rating: 15 Votes
4 weeks ago
Freemium practically ruined iOS gaming and I wonder how this will help/hurt. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I like buying complete games and paying the devs who made them.
Rating: 15 Votes
4 weeks ago
If I have to use an Android phone to get their service, automatic pass.
Rating: 11 Votes
4 weeks ago
It's really the fact that I can go from my phone to my tablet to my tv to my computer and have the same saved game the whole time that really sells Arcade for me. And sure, a bunch of fresh games are nice, but I'm sure I'd find games I liked on Play Pass too, it's just... I'd be stuck on my phone. And even with a controller that's only gonna be good for a few minutes of play here and there.
Rating: 10 Votes
4 weeks ago
Are you kidding? Apple Arcade!
Rating: 9 Votes
4 weeks ago


To be absolutely clear I am not accusing anyone here of trolling but if I were a troll I would almost certainly post comments like "I cancelled after 3 days because..." It's free for 1 month! Why would anyone cancel after just a few days when it's free for a month. With 60 games can you expect anyone to seriously believe you took time to evaluate the product and all its offerings and decided it was so unusable that it was worth taking the time to cancel it after only 3 days?

Arcade is not for everyone. It probably isn't really for me. But if I were a gamer I would certainly take more than a few days to evaluate it thoroughly given that it is free for a month. Otherwise I would expect people to accuse me of trolling. Which, to be clear, I am not.

I understand why you’d see it that way, but I’m being completely honest. I’m not “gamer”, but I do enjoy some older games. I played the one where you collect things to music (dude, it was confusing - but pretty!).
I just cancelled because I knew I wasn’t going to continue using it, and didn’t want to forget before the renewal charge hit.
Rating: 7 Votes
4 weeks ago
How is the cross-platform capability of Apple Arcade an afterthought at the end of the article? That's a huge deal for the sake of comparison!
Rating: 7 Votes
4 weeks ago
Regardless of which one is better, can we just take a minute to appreciate that this may lead to profitable games that don't rely in In App Purchases. Though it isn't going to get studios the millions of dollars that some fremium games drag in, but hopefully it'll start cutting into their profits if people move to playing these games instead.

The idea of paying a few bucks for extra levels is fine, but then some genius came up with re-purchasable smurf-berries, and the design of the games changed from entertainment to addiction. Then the games changed even more to focus on whales and the whole experience just became wretched.

I'm happily going to pay for Apple Arcade just to reward something that's not IAP.
Rating: 6 Votes

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