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Google Launches Play Pass, Its $4.99 Apple Arcade Competitor

Google officially launched its Play Pass game and app subscription service Monday morning. Play Pass gives users access to more than 350 premium games and apps for $4.99 per month. The launch comes just a few days after Apple unveiled it own game subscription service Apple Arcade.

Apps and games included in this subscription do not have any ads or in-app payments. Users can try Play Pass for free for one month, and Google is also offering users who sign up early the chance to get an entire year of Play Pass for just $1.99 per month.

Some of the games that are part of Play Pass at launch include “Star Wars: Kotor,” “Monument Valley 2,” “Risk,” “Terraria” and “Old Man’s Journey.” Unlike Apple Arcade, Play Pass also includes non-game titles like AccuWeather, Photo Studio 2 and Pic Stitch, but Google clearly is putting a big emphasis on games.

Another difference to Apple’s subscription service is that Google Play Pass titles aren’t exclusive to the subscription tier. Instead, they’ve all been available on the Play Store before. If consumers have downloaded any of the titles to their mobile device before, ads and other monetization mechanisms are automatically removed once they subscribe to Play Pass, according to a report by The Verge.

This strategy may make Play Pass a bit less exciting than Apple Arcade, as it takes away the lure of enticing exclusives. On the flip side, it also allows Google to market Play Pass more broadly: Play Pass titles are discoverable throughout the Play Store, where consumers can now decide whether they want to pay $4.99 for a title like “Monument Valley ,” or whether they’d prefer to pay the same amount for a month on the subscription service that offers access to hundreds of other titles as well.

Google Play Pass is becoming available on Google Play in the U.S. this week. There is no word on international launch dates yet.

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