Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Using a Galaxy S20 Ultra

Google’s take on Apple Arcade arrives in Play Pass

Apple’s all-you-can-play gaming subscription is Apple-only, and Android owners can’t play, but they now have their own take on the idea.

If you’re a fan of gaming on your Android phone but you tire of having to buy games or paid freemium content with regularity and distinct pricing, you might yearn for a Netflix-style approach to gaming on the go.

The idea is simple enough: a regular fixed price per month so you can keep doing what you’re doing, but can limit the overall spend. It’s an idea that we’re beginning to see more of lately, as a single subscription model can be applied to not just movies and TV through Netflix and Stan or music through Spotify and Apple Music, but gaming, as well.

Microsoft offers the concept in its Xbox Games Pass, and Apple does something similar with exclusive titles in Apple Arcade. But neither of these will play nicely with Android, what is arguably 50 percent of the phone market in Australia, leaving Android owners stuck to the old model for paying for games.

Fortunately, change may well be on the horizon.

Google’s take on an Apple Arcade-style service has previously launched overseas in the States, and is now finally coming to Australia, as well as New Zealand and a few other places.

Launched as Google Play Pass, it’s a monthly and annual subscription model that provides access to several games for Android devices in an all-you-can-play model, with apps included, as well.

Games on Google Play Pass include Stardew Valley, Limbo, Monument Valley, , This Wars of Mine, and Star Wars: The Old Republic, while apps wil include Photo Studio Pro and more, basically making Play Pass about more than just games for a monthly or annually price.

Subscriptions to Google Play Pass cost $7.99 monthly or $49.99 per year in Australia, with a Google Play Pass applying to an entire Google Play Family Library, sharing it between up to five family members, too.

Google is rolling it out to Android devices in Australia this week, available in the Google Play Store app through “Play Pass” in the menu (with a link through the Play Pass site), but if you don’t have it yet, it’s something you can expect to find later on. Even some of Pickr’s review devices haven’t picked up on the addition as of the time this story was published, revealing the following error, which is more or less an admission of “stay tuned”.

If you get this message when you try to add Play Pass, just hold tight. It’s coming.
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