Google is testing a service known as Play Pass that might supply customers “heaps of premium apps and video games” for a month-to-month charge, based on Android Police. The concept of the offering cropped up last year on XDA Developers after customers spotted code references in Google Play. It might be just like Apple’s Arcade, however, supply a selection of each app and video games (rather than just video games) for $4.99 per month, “with no advertisements or in-app purchases,” based on the screenshots.
The service is absolutely fleshed out and seems to be within the last stages of testing. Google is promising “puzzle video games to premium music apps … [with] access to lots of premium apps and video games” — although the emphasis seems to be on games. Some of the titles included are the $7.99 Stardew Valley, Marvel Pinball, Risk and others. The test service was originally spotted by a person. However, Google confirmed to Android Police that it’s certainly real and in testing.
Apple’s Arcade is launching this fall with a powerful slate of builders including LEGO, Annapurna Interactive, Cartoon Network, and Sega. Apple can also be chipping in development costs and counting on exclusive titles, which does not appear to be the case for Play Pass. In any case, Google could possibly be planning to counter it by launching its service across the same time.
The providers make some sense, given the popularity of subscriptions for music and movies. However, it stays to be seen if it is a good model for apps, and particularly games.