August 2, 2019
Worried that you don't already have enough online subscriptions with Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Xbox Live or whatever else you're signed up for? Well, prep your wallet, Google is coming in hot with a subscription service for its Android Play store: Google Play Pass.
The service, which has leaked via a news story on Android Police, looks to offer mobile users a suite of premium apps for a monthly subscription cost.
If that sounds familiar, then you're probably thinking of Apple Arcade, which was announced in the spring and will launch in sometime later in the year.
Here's what you need to know.
What is Google Play Pass?
Thanks to a reader of Android Police, who presumably is one of the initial testers for Google's upcoming app subscription service, we have a few leaked screengrabs of Google Play Pass, which tell us more than Google would probably like us to know, pre-launch.
An image of the splash screen reveals that Google Play Pass will grant access to ‘hundreds of premium apps and games, with no ads or in-app purchases'. It also promises that there will be no commitments, users can cancel anytime, and that a family plan will be available.
What Apps will be Available?
Unlike Apple's upcoming Arcade service, which- as the name suggests- is purely games focused, Google's Play Pass mentions both games and apps. The titles, according to the leak, are a ‘curated catalog spanning puzzle games to premium music apps and everything in between'.
That's not to say that games won't be heavily represented. The leaks show Stardew Valley as part of a the package, a game which typically costs $7.99 to buy. There are also many other heavy hitters visible too, such as Monument Valley, Life is Strange, Ticket to Ride and Limbo.
One thing that isn't clear is if the service will offer any exclusive titles. Apple has been going after original content hard for the Arcade service, enlisting well-established game designers to make new games solely for the platform, which is bound to be a unique selling point.
Is there Room for Another Subscription Service?
Google clearly thinks there's a market for a dedicated Play subscription service, and if the advertised price of $4.99 per month remains at launch, it could be a no-brainer for avid app users.
However, the general public only have so much money they're willing to throw at various subscription services per month. Can an app offering like this really take priority alongside the likes of Spotify, Netflix or even Playstation Plus and Xbox Live?
There's more coming too. As well as the aforementioned Apple Arcade (which admittedly is unlikely to be of interest to Android users, for obvious reasons), Google's streaming gaming service, Stadia, will drop later in the year, and will work on phones.
Then there's the continuing fragmentation of the TV subscription model, with more and more studios clawing back their content from Netflix and starting their own services (Disney Plus, NBCUniversal and HBO Max, to name a few).
When Will Google Play Pass Launch?
Google haven't yet officially announced Play Pass, so there's no release date yet. However, if it's in the testing phase, we wouldn't expect it to be too long until the big reveal.
Read more news on Tech.co…
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