Google Play Pass Revealed for Android, But It's a Bit Lacking Next to Apple Arcade

Google Play Pass Revealed for Android, But It's a Bit Lacking Next to Apple Arcade

Google's lacking on the exclusives front.

Google is stepping into the ring against Apple with its own mobile game subscription service. Announced today, the Google Play Pass will get you access to "hundreds" of games and apps without any ads or in-app purchases for a monthly subscription fee. It's appealing, but seems lacking compared to Apple Arcade.

Starting today, Google is offering a promo deal for $1.99 a month for your first 12 months; otherwise, the Play Pass will be $4.99 a month. In exchange, you get access to a bunch of mobile games without any in-game ads or in-app purchases. The service is set to roll out in the U.S. this week, and in other countries soon.

The lineup is fairly strong, and includes some fairly notable titles. Stardew Valley, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Limbo, Terraria, Thimbleweed Park, Reigns: Game of Thrones, and Monument Valley 2 are all among the crop of games available on the service. The Play Pass also packs in some apps like AccuWeather and PicStitch, so it looks like Google is trying to highlight the app side just as much as games.

Compared to the litany of fresh games on Apple's subscription service, Google's offering seems lacking. There aren't any major breakouts here, unlike games like What the Golf? and Grindstone on Apple's service; rather, it's a lot of games we've seen before that are good in their own right, but nothing new. As an Android owner myself, I don't see a killer app here that I can't play elsewhere. Instead, I see this being a family-oriented plan, for parents whose kids want to play on the tablet every now and then.

The mobile subscription model is raising some valid concerns about pricing, as devs talk about the good and the bad. And if you're an avid mobile gamer, $5 a month to avoid ads and pesky in-game timers might still be a good sell. We'll see how Google's efforts stack up against Apple's over the coming months.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

Read this next

Union Groups Accuse Monument Valley Studio of "Union Busting," But Dev Denies

Ustwo Games says a senior programmer's dismissal has nothing to do with union activities.

The Best Mobile Games for iOS and Android

From smartphones to tablets, these are the best games you can get on your iOS and Android devices.

Monument Valley 2 and the Heartache of Motherhood; Plus Vince Staples' Big Fish Theory

UNPREDICTABLE | Caty plays Monument Valley 2 in its entirety (finally), and listens to Vince Staples' latest and greatest.

Monument Valley 2 Pulls a Beyoncé; Plus an Incoming Cowboy Bebop Live-Action Adaptation Brews Controversy

UNPREDICTABLE | Caty plays Monument Valley 2, a game that surprise dropped yesterday, and theorizes the potential of a live-action Cowboy Bebop.

Surprise! Monument Valley 2 is Available on iOS Devices Right Now

One of the prettiest mobile experiences is back.

Half-Life: Alyx Won't Be at The Game Awards 2019 After All

The VR-exclusive Half-Life won't share more info as part of tonight's festivities after all.

The Life Is Strange 2 Postmortem: "[W]e Knew That It Wouldn't Have the Same Huge Success Right From the Beginning"

Life Is Strange 2's three creative leads tell us about the season's muted reception, intensive development, and more.

More News

Half-Life: Alyx Won't Be at The Game Awards 2019 After All

The VR-exclusive Half-Life won't share more info as part of tonight's festivities after all.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake's Game Awards Trailer Will Apparently Fill Us in on This Cloud Guy

We know who he is. Cloud's not the type of guy to commit identity fraud, right?

The Absurdly Difficult La-Mulana Games are Finally Coming to Current-Gen Console in Early 2020

Hope you're ready to get lost in some ruins, and then smushed.

More on Android

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remaster Delayed Until Summer 2020

On the plus side, it'll have transferable saves across all platforms.

Minecraft on PS4 Is Finally Getting Cross-Play With Switch, Xbox One and More

Tomorrow, Minecraft completes its console cross-play journey.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends is "On Hold" at Bethesda

Bethesda's collectible card game is getting put in storage for the foreseeable future.

Nintendo Needs to Actually Support Its Games For Longer Than a Year

Smash benefits from healthy ongoing support, but where is the love for the rest of Nintendo's games?

USgamer Holiday Gift Guide 2019: For the Traveling Gamer

If your special someone is always on the go, here's some ideas to make those delayed departures sting a little less.

Fortnite Black Friday Deals - Games, Toys, Accessories, and More

Start dancing and bring in the llamas, because we have some awesome Fortnite deals for you.

Amazon Will Reportedly Announce a Cloud Gaming Service Next Year

Google, Sony, Microsoft, and soon, Amazon.

More Family Games

Pokemon Sword and Shield: How to Use the PC Box Link

Sword and Shield makes some adjustments to where and when you can access your Pokemon PC Boxes. Here’s what you need to know:

Pokemon Sword and Shield: Can You Change Your Uniform?

You’ll receive new uniforms for beating Gym Challenges in Pokemon Sword and Shield. But can you change into them for battles?

Pokemon Sword and Shield: ‘You Can’t Throw a Poke Ball, It Won’t Let Its Guard Down’ Explained

Getting the ‘You Can’t Throw a Poke Ball, It Won’t Let Its Guard Down’ message when trying to catch a Pokemon? Here’s what it means.

USgamer Holiday Gift Guide 2019: For the Gamer in Your Life Who Loves Throwing Parties

GIFT GUIDE | For the holiday season, these party-igniting goods will make any host-savvy person on your list happy.