Google Play Pass: the pros and cons

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 24, 2019
Updated • Sep 24, 2019
Google Android

Google unveiled the subscription-based service Google Play Pass for the company's Android operating system on September 23, 2019.

Google Play Pass gives subscribers access to "more than 350 apps and games"  that are "free of ads, in-app purchases and upfront payments" according to Google. The company promises that new apps and games will get added to the service on a monthly basis.

Google launched Play Pass alongside a promotional offer that  reduces the subscription fee to $1.99 in the first 12 months instead of the regular price of $4.99 per month; the offer expires on October 10, 2019. The service requires Android version 4.4 and above, and is only available to Android users from the United States at this point.

google play pass

Subscribers may install any of the included apps and games, and use them on their devices. Additionally, Play Pass subscribers may share the subscription with up to five family members.

The official Play Pass page lists some of the included apps and games but not all of them. You may check out the entire list of games and apps on Imgur.

Games include Titan Quest, Space Marshals, LIMBO, Thimbleweed Park, Stardew Valley, Star Wars: KOTOR, and This is the Police.

Apps include Moon+ Reader Pro, Premium, Photo Studio Pro, EnPass Password Manager, and AccuWeather.

What are the pros and cons of subscribing to Google Play Pass?

Here is why you may want to subscribe to Google Play Pass:

  • You get access to over 350 commercial apps and games that don't include ads or in-game purchases.
  • You may share the games and apps with up to five family members.

Here is why you may not want to (or can't) subscribe to Google Play Pass:

  • Google Play Pass is only available in the United States.
  • The selection of apps and games is okay at best; only a few games and apps stand out and you may be better off buying these outright.
  • Apps and games are not exclusive, and many have been in sales in the past.
  • It is unclear how many new apps and games will be added to the service, and if apps or games may also be removed.
  • You pay the subscription even if you don't use Play Pass at all or only for some of the games and apps).
  • If you unsubscribe, you lose access to all games and apps.

Closing Words

Price and selection plays an important role. If you hurry, you could subscribe in the first year for a little less than $24 in total. The price increases to a little less than $60 per year once the promotional offer expires.

Is it worth it?

Google Play Pass may be worth it if you would have paid more in total for applications, games, and in-app purchases than the subscription price. It needs to be noted that access is lost when you unsubscribe and that you need to factor that in as well.

Some users might use the same strategy that they use for media subscription services such as Netflix. Instead of paying for an entire year, they subscribe for a month or two to watch the shows and movies that they are interested in.

The strategy should work well for the games that are offered but may not be that successful for apps as you may want to use them throughout the entire year and not for just a month or two.

All in all, I'd say that most Android users may be better off buying apps and games outright especially since usage is not time limited.

Now You: Will you subscribe to Google Play Pass?

Google Play Pass: the pros and cons
Article Name
Google Play Pass: the pros and cons
Google unveiled the subscription-based service Google Play Pass for the company's Android operating system on September 23, 2019.
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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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