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Play Pass and its library of 350 apps offers a different take on mobile subscriptions

Though similar in concept, Google's Play Pass takes a slightly different approach toward changing how Android users interact with both free-to-play and premium mobile games and apps than Apple’s Apple Arcade.

Google has launched its own subscription service for mobile apps and games on its Android platform, a launch that conspicuously comes less than one week after iPhone maker Apple debuted its own similar service.

Though similar in concept, Google’s Play Pass takes a slightly different approach toward changing how mobile users interact with both free-to-play and premium mobile games and apps than Apple’s Apple Arcade.

Both services run the same $4.99 per month after varying trial periods but Play Pass, for instance, offers access to both regular apps and mobile games and has launched with a library of over 350 titles. Unlike Apple Arcade and its promise of new titles and semi-exclusivity, the titles included in a Play Pass subscription are games and apps already available on the Play Store.

All in all, Google angles the service as a way for Android users to branch out and discover existing games on the Play Store, without the potential friction of a per-game upfront cost, intrusive ads, or in-app purchases to hold them back.

Mobile games like Stardew Valley, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Limbo, Monument Valley, and many others are advertised right out of the gate, and Google says that it plans to bring more to Play Pass on a monthly basis.  

Games and apps featured in Play Pass display a new icon in the regular Play Store, and the complete library is gathered into a new dedicated Play Pass tab on the Store. That Play Pass tab features some level of curation as well, sorting titles into familiar sections like Top Games, New and Notable, and Recommended for You on top of genre-based sections in a bid to give games some level of visibility in an all-at-once crowded library.

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