We have seen Google’s new Play Pass subscription leak for a while now and with Apple announcing their Arcade recently it was time for Google to step forward with their Play Store subscription offering.
Overnight via their various blogs Google have announced Google Play Pass, their new subscription service that offers the user access to over 350 apps on the Play Store. Via the service all apps are free of ads, in-app purchases and upfront payments — sounds great right? Of course it does and many of us have been crying out for this for a long time.
Play Pass will be coming to Android devices in the US this week with other countries to follow not long after — we expect, based on recent Google releases, that Australia will be in the second phase rollout hopefully not too far away.
The subscription service will set US users back US$4.99/month after a 10 day free trial. Users who sign up before October 10 will get the service for just US$1.99/month for the first year after which they will be charged the full US$4.99/month. We hope that when it arrives in Australia we get a similar and relative introductory pricing but all that would be speculation right about now with the US being the only country mentioned at this stage.
So what is included?
Google have provided us with a small list of the apps included but have said that they span from games to productivity apps with the service aimed at getting users to try out apps that they otherwise would not. Apps and games that are included at this stage are Terraria, Monument Valley, Risk, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, AccuWeather, LIMBO, Lichtspeer, Mini Metro, Old Man’s Journey and many more.
Each month there will be new additions to the library of included apps and it seems a great way for smaller developers to get their apps out there and known to a larger number of users.
To help discover the apps there will be a new Play Pass tab for subscribers within the app but they can also be found throughout the usual Play Store access with Play Pass apps having the Play Pass ticket listed next to them to help you find included apps.
Similar to Google Play Music subscriptions there is the ability to include up to five other family members on the single account without it costing any more. Each family member will be able to access Play Pass individually and the apps thus still curated to each specific user.
Are all apps automatically included?
Unfortunately not. An app developer must, at this stage, fill out a form to express interest in participating and at this stage that participation is by invitation only. It will be interesting to see how Google handle this going forwards considering that it will be a great way to get smaller developers out there but given the size of the Play Store if it just becomes another free for all then those smaller apps will get lost in amongst the noise all over again.
For more information head on over to the Play Pass About page and read more. We will of course keep our ears to the ground to hopefully discover an upcoming Australian release date.