On Tuesday, Google announced upgrades to the Google Play Pass, the Android alternative to Apple Arcade. Originally launched in September 2019, the new and improved Google Play Pass includes hundreds of apps and games including puzzles, podcasts, racing games, drawing apps and family-friendly content without ads or in-app purchases.
“Google Play Pass helps you connect with awesome digital content—it’s your pass to hundreds of apps and games without ads and in-app purchases. Today we’re sharing new updates that make it a little easier to get started,” said Austin Shoemaker, group product manager for Google Play in the July 14 announcement.
In the announcement, Google revealed that it has added more than 150 new titles to the Play Pass library over the last several months, as well as more that will be debuting soon. The company also adds new games and apps each month. New additions include:
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Golf Peaks
- Forgotton Anne
- Sally’s Law
- Sesame Workshop
- Learny Land
- The Almost Gone from Playdigious
- The Gardens Between
- Kingdom Rush
- Bright Paw from Rogue (coming later this year)
- Line Weight from The Label (coming later this year)
Parents can easily identify kid-friendly apps by looking in the “apps and games for kids” section and the “teacher approved” badge. Google Play Pass is compatible with Android mobile and tablet devices with Play Store version 16.6.25 and above and Android version 4.4 and above.
New Annual Subscription
Google Play Pass was previously available for a monthly subscription fee of $4.99 a month, following a one-month trial. A subscription could be shared with up to five additional family members. Now, Google Play Pass is available as an annual subscription for $29.99 per year. Monthly subscribers can change their plan by going to the Play Store App, going to the Play Pass tab and choosing “upgrade to a yearly subscription.”
But wait, there’s more. Google is making Play Pass available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and Spain.
Apple Arcade was launched last fall. It is similar to Google Play Pass; it is ad-free and there are no in-app purchases. It is also $4.99 per month after the free trial, and allows access for up to six family members. The key differences are that it has fewer games (100+ games, according to Apple); it can be downloaded to play online or off; it works with Screen Time and parental controls; and it can be played with Xbox wireless controllers with Bluetooth, PlayStation DualShock 4 and Mfi game controllers.
Google Play Pass or Apple Arcade? Which online game option a subscriber chooses depends on the type of content they want. Both subscription plans are similar and offer similar options – very similar to the SVOD market. Pricing and features are the same or similar. It boils down to whether you belong to Team iPhone or Team Android and what content you most want to play or use. Google Play Pass’s new changes do add a few differentiating factors though – more content, annual pricing and more markets. That will likely attract some new subscribers, but Google will have to continue to add new games to keep its audience interested.