Google Play Pass: the pros and cons - gHacks Tech News

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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.

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, Dictionary.com 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?

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

  1. Benjamin said on September 24, 2019 at 10:47 am
    Reply

    I do not have any issues with paying programmers for their work be that freeware or one of the many apps in the microsoft or android store. I even give away to support the development or to show my appreciation… it does not hurt at all.

    What hurts much more is, that almost all fundamental IT technology is in the controlling hands of a tiny minority far away from any democratic or socially acceptable responsibility and tax free as well… we are so used to all of this even though we do not have a say in anything.

  2. Anonymous said on September 24, 2019 at 11:22 am
    Reply

    “free of ads, in-app purchases and upfront payments”

    But are they free of tracking ? Ubiquitous spyware in Google Play apps is the reason why I only install things from F-Droid, were all apps are free software and the user is clearly warned when the app contains anti-features like ads or tracking.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 27, 2019 at 7:36 am
      Reply

      I don’t know to be honest.

  3. pndy said on September 24, 2019 at 12:57 pm
    Reply

    I don’t see any pros because this is a subscription service and this model aims at continuous draining customers pockets. This is yet another example of offer diversification for free product of poor quality (ads etc.) and premium product of supposed better quality coming with various “goodies” (without ads – at least so they claim it).

    Pass.

  4. Ann said on September 24, 2019 at 2:26 pm
    Reply

    Seeing at the amount I’ve so far payed on the play store, this is a waist of money.

  5. Wayfarer said on September 24, 2019 at 3:25 pm
    Reply

    Members of my family have both Android and Apple devices.
    Quite apart from the pros and cons of a subscription, I stand continually amazed at efforts to get phone and tablet owners to install the kind of games I thought had vanished with the demise of the Sinclair Spectrum and Commodore.

  6. John Fenderson said on September 24, 2019 at 5:28 pm
    Reply

    “Will you subscribe to Google Play Pass?”

    Nope, because Google.

  7. Anonee said on September 24, 2019 at 7:47 pm
    Reply

    Of course, Google is just copying Apple once again (with the recently released, Apple Arcade).

    The difference is that, with Apple, they were smart and limited it to just games. This makes sense because games are typically “temporary” pieces of entertainment. People use/play them until something new comes out and then they stop playing that game and move on to the next game. So it makes sense for Apple to launch the Apple Arcade service as it’s similar to paying monthly for TV/movie entertainment from something like Netflix or Disney+.

    Google on the other hand is bundling apps and games together into a single service. The problem is that, while games are something people temporarily play until moving on, apps are something that people tend to use consistently. People will use the same app daily for years on end, until it is either discontinued, non-functional or a competitor has put out a better app.
    So while Google thinks they are creating more “value” than Apple Arcade by including apps alongside games, the reality is that it is a waste of money as you could just buy that specific app upfront and you only pay once for it, unlike this monthly Play Pass…
    Add on the fact that the selection of quality games on android is significantly lower than on iOS, and it just makes this Play Pass even dumber.

    1. John Fenderson said on September 24, 2019 at 10:14 pm
      Reply

      @Anonee: “People use/play them until something new comes out and then they stop playing that game and move on to the next game.”

      This isn’t really true in my social circle. Favorite games never stop being played among my friends and I. The game I’m playing right now is Sid Meyer’s Colonization, released in 1994!

  8. Q said on September 25, 2019 at 12:37 am
    Reply

    After reading this article, there are a few questions that come to mind:

    1. Are the apps offered via the Google Play Pass subscription services the same as those offered without subscription service? Perhaps variant versions of the app software are used.
    2. It is given that the offering is “only available to Android users from the United States”. I wonder how this would be qualified. Does one show proof of United States citizenship, proof of residency of United States, proof of birth in United States, or other proofs? Perhaps there may also be an assumption as to which users are from United States and which are not.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 25, 2019 at 8:06 am
      Reply

      1. I’m not sure. Many are probably just paid apps and games without in-game transactions.
      2. I think you need a billing address in the US and need to connect from the US.

  9. Andrew said on September 25, 2019 at 8:08 am
    Reply

    Mobile gaming is very profitable today. It has surpassed in profits console and pc gaming combined…. Apple (4th) is chasing Microsoft (3rd) in total gaming revenues. Google is 6th right now. Tencent is 1st and Sony is 2nd. Of course Google is going to offer in future more and more premium services with no ads. I welcome this change. I already have YouTube premium. Games with no ads or in-game purchases on my Android phone with 5 dollars, count me in.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 25, 2019 at 8:14 am
      Reply

      Andrew, what is the source for the numbers? Where is Nintendo in the ranking?

      1. Andrew said on September 25, 2019 at 8:00 pm
        Reply

        Hi Martin, you can find them in many sites, for example newzoo.
        https://newzoo.com/insights/articles/top-25-public-game-companies-earned-more-than-100-billion-in-2018/
        It has the total revenues of 2018, we don’t have total revenues of 2019 yet, but Google Play and iOS game revenues keeps increasing in 2019.
        https://www.oneesports.gg/industry-news/newzoo-global-mobile-game-revenues-in-2019-expected-to-reach-us68-5-billion/
        Nintendo is 9th in total revenues.

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