Technology

Google launches Play Pass apps subscription package

Google Play Pass Image copyright Google
Image caption Google's service can be shared between up to five family members

Google has launched a subscription service offering users access to more than 350 "completely unlocked" Android apps and games for a monthly fee.

All software provided via the Play Pass will be supplied without any ads or in-app charges.

Google's package will only contain existing products already available on its Play Store to begin with.

The announcement comes days after Apple launched its own games-centric subscription service.

Like Apple, Google plans to charge $4.99 (£4.00) a month for its service. However, it is also promising early adopters a $1.99/month fee for the first year of membership.

To start with, Play Pass will be limited to US-based subscribers, but the firm has suggested that it will be extended to other countries soon.

"Apple has worked really hard to curate some cutting-edge content of a very high quality," commented Ben Wood from the consultancy CCS Insight.

"But Google has been able to throw a wider net and get more titles.

"And that somewhat neutralises the threat that Apple Arcade could pose if someone was thinking about switching from iPhone to Android on that basis."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Play Pass contains a selection of child-centric content including Sago Mini and Toca Boca games

Included apps highlighted by Google include:

  • Accuweather - a weather-forecasting service that normally features ads and a variety of in-app fees ranging from 99 cents to $3.99
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - a sci-fi role-playing game that launched on Android in December 2014, which currently costs $9.99 to buy
  • Risk - a digital version of the world domination board game, which usually charges up to $7.99 for in-app items
  • Pic Stitch - a program that turns a selection of photos into a collage, which normally charges $3.99 an item for additional content

Apple Arcade, by contrast, promises to deliver access to more than 100 "new games" that are not otherwise available on iOS, and in some cases cannot be bought for other platforms either.

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