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.