Subscription services have taken over music and movies, and now they're coming to games and apps too. In August we heard that Google was in the final stages of testing its new Android app subscription service called Play Pass, its equivalent of Apple Arcade. Today, Google's service has officially launched in the US and you can sign up now for unlimited access to a catalog of games and apps.
At $4.99 per month, Play Pass is an affordable way to access Android games like Stardew Valley and Risk or apps like Facetune and AccuWeather without having to purchase each one individually. There's also an introductory offer for a limited time in which you can get the service for $1.99 per month for the first twelve months.
As far as the people who make the apps, Google is pitching it as a way to reach new audiences and make money from the subscription. If a developer's app is accepted to the Play Pass package, then their paid app becomes free for subscribers, in-app purchases are free and ads are removed. Revenue is paid out as "a royalty that incorporates time subscribers spend in their app and captures how users value all types of content."
According to Google, the collection of apps and games available through Play Pass numbers in the hundreds. There will be a Play Pass tab in the Play Store to help you find the app you want, and the subscription gives you access to the full versions of all included apps. There's also an option for families to share a Play Pass subscription between up to five family members.
There's a 10-day free trial of the service available now, and it will be coming to countries outside the US soon.