Everything You Need to Know About Google Play Pass

Google recently rollout a subscription-based service Google Play Pass and a lot of people on the Internet started comparing it to Apple Arcade. While it does share some similarities, it is far from just a gaming subscription. In this article, I’ll try to answer some of the popular questions such as – what’s Apple Arcade, how to get it outside the U.S, the pros and cons and much more. Let’s begin.

1. What is Google Play Pass?

Google Play Pass is a subscription service from Google, which offers a curated list of “more than 350 apps and games” that are free of ads and in-app purchases. The subscription includes gaming titles ranging from popular to indie games. The apps include mostly productivity apps and a few the subscription can be shared with up to five family members.

It cost $4.99/mo in the U.S. The international pricing is not yet disclosed but you can expect a similar structure when the service rolls out to other countries. To lure more customers, Google is running a promotion that would cost you $1.99/mo for next 12 months, if you subscribe to the service before October 10, 2019.

2. Is it Like Apple Arcade? 

Apple Arcade is a gaming service by Apple which offers 100+ exclusive game titles. All the games under Apple Arcade are free of ads and in-app purchases. Play Pass, on the other hand, offers a curated list of games, and apps which may or may not be already available on the Play Store. During my testing, most of the apps that you would get under Play Pass are already available as a standalone app on the Play Store.

2. Where will the Play Pass be available?

Play Pass is currently only available in the U.S, it is estimated to roll out to other countries but there is no confirmation yet. You can still try the Play Pass subscription by changing your Play Store region to the US but there is one caveat, you won’t be able to change it back for at least a year.  You can also follow the steps in the video to get a better idea on how to get Play Pass outside of the U.S.

3. Which devices will support Play Pass?

Play Pass is compatible with mobile, Chrome OS laptops, and tablet devices with Play Store version 16.6.25 and above, and Android version 4.4 and above. You would be able to play these games on your Android smartphone, tablet, Chrome OS computer, NVIDIA Shield TV, and any other devices which fulfill the above conditions.

4. How to Subscribe to Play Pass?

For the U.S, getting the subscription for Play Pass is easy. Just update the Play Store app, set up a family in the Settings, add a payment option(preferably a Credit Card), and tap the Play Pass button in the Play Store app. You can read more about it on their website.

Is there a Play Pass Free Trial?

Yes, you can get a 10-day free trial to test the features out. Once the free trial is over, your subscription would automatically begin unless you decide to cancel it. If you cancel the subscription during the free trial, you would still get access to the full service until the end of the trial period, unlike Apple Arcade.

5. What do you get in the Play Pass?

The Play Pass page on the Play Store app will show you relevant apps and games matching your preferences. You can also navigate and discover all the offerings in different categories. You get games like Mini Metro, Bridge Constructor Portal, KOTOR, Monument Valley, etc. you also get access to apps such as Daylio, Moon+, Luci, Password Manager SafeInCloud Pro, etc. There are a total of 350 apps and games and out of those, 60% are game titles. How does this subscription plays out remains to be seen.

6. What happens when you cancel the Play Pass Subscription?

If you ever wish to cancel the subscription to Play Pass, you may or may not lose access to the apps you installed with the Play Pass. I’ll try to cover all the possible scenarios below;

The App/Game is exclusive to Play Pass: If the game or app is only available under the Play Pass, you will lose access to the title when your subscription expires.

The Paid App/ Game is available outside Play Pass: You will lose access to the game/app after a few days from the expiration of the Play Pass Subscription.

The Free App/Game is available outside Play Pass: You will retain access to the game/app even after you cancel the subscription. The ads and in-app purchases may return if the original app had those.

If you already own the App/Game that is in the Play Pass: You will retain the access to the app even after canceling the Play Pass subscription.

7. What happens when an App/ Game Leaves Play Pass?

The apps listed under this subscription can be removed by their developers at any time which begs this question what will happen if an app leaves Play Pass. It can be broken down into the following scenarios;

You purchased the app (paid) without Play Pass: You will retain the access to the app/game even if it is removed from Play Pass. You may, however, lose the perks offered by the Play Pass such as any removed ads or in-app purchases.

You installed the app(free) without Play Pass: You will retain the access to the app/game even if it is removed from Play Pass. However, ads and in-app purchases may return to the app.

You purchased the app(paid) using Play Pass: You will lose access to the app after a few days. You would have to purchase the app again from the Play Store.

You installed the app(free) using Play Pass: You will lose access to the app after a few days after the app leaves Play Pass and then you’ll have to purchase the app again.

8. Can you Buy Apps under Play Pass Subscription without Play Pass?

Unless an app is Play Pass exclusive, you can purchase or install any app that is available on the Play Store without purchasing the Play Pass.

9. Should you get Google Play Pass?

In my opinion, most of the game selections under Play Pass are okay at best except for a few good ones like Limbo, Monument Valley, Mini Metro, Wayward Souls, etc. The titles are not even exclusive to Play Store and most of you would already own similar apps and games. You also don’t get full ownership for all the apps and games (except for free ones). The only reason to get it, if you are already paying for apps and games or thinking of buying them in the future, or have a family to share it with. It’s worth trying out the 10-day free trial and if you like it, keep it, but for the price of $4.99, it has little to offer. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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