Google launches Google Play Pass, a $5 a month game and app service without microtransactions

Written 9 months ago by IanDorfman

Google today has started its launch of a new service it's calling Google Play Pass.

In an official blog post, Google Play Group Product Manager Austin Shoemaker describes the service as allowing access to 350 games and apps that are "unlocked," meaning that none of the participating software will include any advertisements, in-app purchases, or upfront costs.

This launch comes a few days after Apple has launched its Apple Arcade service, also priced at $5 a month. The key difference outside of platform compatibility, however, comes from the fact that Apple is helping finance new games to debut on its Arcade service. Both Apple Arcade and the Google Play Pass allow every member of a family sharing group (up to 5 additional people) to download and play their libraries without having to pay any additional fee.

Though all of the software included in Google Play Pass is already existing, it still carries some heavy hitters, including the likes of Small Terraria iconTerraria, Small Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™ iconStar Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™, Small Monument Valley iconMonument Valley, Small Limbo iconLimbo, and non-gaming software like Small AccuWeather iconAccuWeather. New apps and games will be added to the service monthly, with games like Small This War Of Mine iconThis War Of Mine announced to be coming soon.

In order to accommodate the new service, the Google Play Store will be getting a "Play Pass" tab dedicated to games and apps that are on the service for subscribers. These apps will also be labelled with "tickets" on their individual Play Store pages. Any software labelled with a ticket will be downloadable for free with no additional purchase necessary and without fear of advertisements.

As a limited time promotion, Google is offering the service for $2 for the first year before going to its standard $5 a month pricing structure. Small Google Play Store iconGoogle Play Store users can try it out for free for 10 days as well. Google Play Pass is available only for Small Android iconAndroid smart devices and laptops. It is rolling out to United States users throughout this week, with Google saying to "stay tuned" concerning international availability.

Further coverage:
Google Blog
Ars Technica
Engadget
TechCrunch
The Verge
ZDNet