Google has announced the Google Play Pass, a new subscription service for apps and games on Android devices. This news comes shortly after the release of competitor Apple's own gaming service, Apple Arcade, which debuted earlier this month and featured brand new titles like a re-imagined Frogger sequel as well as acclaimed indie games like Journey and the upcoming shooter Exit The Gungeon.
Google has been making big moves to better position itself in the gaming marketplace over the past year, most notably with the announcement of Google Stadia at GDC 2019. Since being unveiled to the public Google Stadia has both confused and excited players, with the promise of four player split-screen multiplayer and the arrival of AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077 distracting many from the massive amounts of bandwidth the console will require.
In a reveal trailer posted to YouTube, Google states the Play Pass will cost $4.99 a month and allow players to access over 350 games and apps with zero ads and zero in-app purchases. The video goes on to say new games and apps will be added into the program every month and from now until October 10th anyone can sign up for one year at a discounted rate of $1.99 per month. Some of the games featured in the Play Pass program include acclaimed independent titles like Stardew Valley and Limbo, as well as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which is strangely shown twice in the reveal trailer embedded below.
According to an in-depth article published earlier today by The Verge, as of the time of this writing all of the games and applications included in the Play Pass program are already available on the Google Play Store, but that may change in the future. In an app demonstration, Google showed off how an expansion pack which would normally cost real money was free in the Play Pass version, also stating approximately two-thirds of the programs included in the Play Pass library are games, with various apps making up the rest.
This move by Google is just another in the long line of companies who have decided to offer a bulk monthly subscription option as an alternative to traditional, independent purchases. Disney, CBS, Apple, and many others are moving towards a subscription-based service for their most popular products, and even in the video game world larger companies like Rockstar Games and EA would rather start their own game distribution outlets rather than take the 30% cut in sales that digital storefronts like Steam charge. Eventually the economic tides will shift and the trend towards subscription services will fall like so many others, but for now players can only sit back and wait for the inevitable Warner Brothers Plus program which will most likely allow them to watch Justice League and play Injustice 2 simultaneously.