Google is testing a subscription service for the Google Play Store, called Play Pass, where anyone paying a single $5-per-month fee will gain access to a massive catalog of apps to download without any further charge. The Play Pass is not official yet, but official-looking sign-up pages acquired by Android Police have been published, indicating Google is in the process of finalizing the service. The company has confirmed Play Pass is being tested.
The chance to download many apps for one flat fee will drive interest alone, but there are a few further benefits that could make Play Pass a must-have. The sign-up page shows the games downloaded using the subscription will be free, have no advertisements, and all paid content unlocked so as not to require further in-app purchases. The monthly $5 charge for Play Pass would easily be eaten up by two or three in-app purchases, emphasizing the value.
However, don’t expect unfettered access to Google Play. Play Pass members will choose from a curated catalog of apps — presumably titles from invited developers that have agreed to Google’s Play Pass rules — with Marvel Pinball and Stardew Valley both shown in the leaked screenshots. Another page states the catalog will contain everything from, “puzzle games to premium music apps and everything in-between.”
While the test page shows Play Pass costing $5 per month, this is not an official price and could change when the service is made official. The option of a 10-day free trial is also provided, and the period may also alter once Google releases Play Pass. All this could change, and we also don’t know what will happen to Play Pass-downloaded apps if you end the subscription. While we expect one-off in-game purchases to be included with Play Pass games — all the extra tables in Marvel Pinball, for example — its highly unlikely in-app purchases in games like Asphalt will be included, making it unlikely such games will be eligible for inclusion in Play Pass.
Play Pass, should it be approved and introduced by Google, will go up against Apple Arcade, Apple’s subscription-based gaming service expected to launch in the fall. However, Apple Arcade only contains games, and the current count of titles available is around 100. The subscription price is not known. Google Play Pass does not have an official release date yet, or any confirmation it will eventually launch at all.