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Google Play Pass Is Google’s Answer to Apple Arcade

Just hours after the announcement of Apple Arcade during the iPhone 11 launch, Google tweeted something intriguing. The tweet teased the Google Play Pass, and nothing else. Apple was completely transparent with what the Apple Arcade was all about. Google, on the other hand, played coy and kept its secrets. At least until Google released the service out of nowhere last Monday.

What is Google Play Pass?

Google Play Pass is a subscription-based service for Android devices for $4.99 a month. It gives premium access to “more than 350 games and apps”, meaning it’s an ad-free, all microtransactions unlocked experience. Google launched the service with a 10-day free trial for new users. They are also planning to offer it for only $1.99 a month for its first year.

How does it fare against Apple Arcade?

Obviously Google Play Pass is a reaction to Apple Arcade. But how do the services go head-to-head? Undoubtedly, Apple Arcade’s promise to deliver “over a hundred” and more games into the service was already impressive. Google triples this number. However, unlike Apple, Google’s collection aren’t specifically made for the Play Pass, and most of the games and apps offered have been around for quite some time. Apple also helps in the development costs of the game creators, while Google is completely hands off from game production. Both services offer family subscriptions and cost the same monthly fee.

What games and apps are included?

Listing all available games and apps would be tedious (although someone actually did here), so let’s stick with the highlights. Games like Limbo, Knights of the Old Republic, Mini Metro, Old Man’s Journey, Eloh, Reigns: GOT, Evoland, This is The Police, Terraria, Stardew Valley and Monument Valley 2 will become accessible for those who subscribe to the service. Disappointingly, the list of notable, popular games end there. Much of the games, which consists of around 2/3 of the total titles in the service, are lesser-known games. Aside from Accuweather, the list of apps offered for the service contains a bunch of non-notables.

On the bright side, Google promised to bring in more games and apps into the service later on. But judging only from its initial list, Google seems to be focusing on the quantity more than the quality of their inclusions. Compared to Apple’s smaller but well-curated trove of games, Google’s catalog is a shame – especially since the Google Play Store has many other games and apps that should have made it in the final cut instead.

How do I get Google Play Pass?

Head on over to their website to learn more about their service. It launched last Monday for US Android users. International release is slated for a later date, but no exact timeline was given.