Back in September, Google introduced a new Play Pass subscription service in the US that gave Android users access to a curated selection of apps and games for $4.99/month. All content included in the subscription is completely free of ads, in-app purchases, and upfront payments.
Yesterday, Google announced that Play Pass is coming to 9 new markets this week including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Google will start offering a new annual subscription option which will be priced at $29.99/year in the US. Existing subscribers will be able to easily upgrade to this new annual subscription if they choose to.
"Over the past few months, we’ve added over 150 new titles—from racing games to drawing apps—to the Play Pass catalog, and are continuing to add new content every month,” Google said yesterday. "Subscribers can now enjoy classics like Sonic the Hedgehog, stress-relievers like Golf Peaks, and an extensive roster of award-winning Indies like Teslagrad, Forgotton Anne, and Sally’s Law–all included with your subscription and without ads or in-app purchases.”
Google Play Pass has often been compared to other gaming-focused subscription services such as Apple Arcade or Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. Google Play Pass stands out as it combines both apps and games, and Google also said that "A series of new titles will premiere on Play Pass this year when they launch.”
Overall, it’s interesting to see that Google’s forward-thinking approach wasn’t an inspiration for the Google Stadia team. Indeed, Google’s Stadia Pro subscription service doesn’t provide access to catalog to a broad catalog of games: Google chose instead an Xbox Live Gold model with a couple of free games every month, and Stadia Pro subscribers need to purchase other games separately.
We don't know yet how many subscribers Google has for its Stadia and Play Pass subscription services, but the company deserves credit for providing consumers new ways to access content. If you're interested in trying Google Play Pass in available markets, a one-month trial is available in the Play Store app.