Google Play Pass: premium app subscription service coming soon

Google has confirmed that Play Pass, a new subscription service for on its Play Store is real. The idea is that can access paid apps and games for a monthly fee. Mountain View also confirmed that we won’t have to wait long to sign up.

Google confirmed the existence of Play Pass, which had leaked a couple of months ago, via the @GooglePlay Twitter account. The teaser tweet announced that “it’s almost time” and that Play Pass is “coming soon”. You can see the tweet below.

With the rise in mobile gaming, and subsequent growing popularity of smartphones fine-tuned for players such as the new ROG Phone II, Google clearly feels there is an opportunity here to get in on the subscription model that has already taken over other entertainment mediums such as television and music. Players will be able to pay a flat monthly fee to gain access to premium games and apps. It’s the Play Store’s answer to Spotify and Netflix – a kind of Stadia for the app store.

Google has not officially revealed any further details, but the rumors suggest that Play Pass will cost $4.99 a month when it goes live. Games such as 80 Days, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Limbo, and Stardew Valley are expected to be part of the new service. We’ll have to wait until the official launch to find out more though.

The timing is no coincidence

I don’t think it is an accident that Google is teasing Play Pass on the day of Apple’s iPhone 11 launch event. The Cupertino company has already announced its Apple Aracde game subscription service and will likely reveal new details during today’s keynote.

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Apple Arcade could launch alongside the new iPhone 11, iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max, so it makes complete sense that Google does not want to fall behind in the race here. Either way, premium app and game subscription services are coming to mobile platforms very soon. It will be interesting to see what impact this has on the free-to-play with in-app purchases business model that currently dominates mobile gaming. There is certainly some frustration among users around the current trend for developers’s to lock content behind IAPs, and players could be open to a subscription model as an alternative to advertising and loot box systems.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for both of these subscriptions services is how they go about attracting the most popular games that are already making loads of money via in-app purchases. Titles like Coin Master, Pokémon Go, Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans would not have a huge incentive to sign up to the subscription service if it meant giving players access to all of their content for a (pretty small) fixed fee.

Would you be willing to pay five bucks a month for unlimited access to premium apps and games? Let us know in the comments below.



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