Google has been fairly forthcoming with financial benefits developers can expect to reap by having their games included in its new Play Pass subscription, at least compared to the other subscription services out there.
As explained in a FAQ in Google’s Developer portal (and pointed out by Niko Partners' Daniel Ahmad on Twitter), the current set up for Play Pass sees participating devs earning royalties based on how much time subscribers spend in their game.
Google notes that it plans to use the invitation-only Play Pass as a way to highlight a quality game in the regular Play Store, a visibility boost that aims to entice even non-subscribers into trying a game (or signing up for the service to play something they're curious about.)
Unlike Apple Arcade, Google’s Play Pass offers its subscribers a library of existing games but with traditional monetization methods like in-app purchases and ads stripped out. For those on the outside of a launch catalog, arrangements like those bring up a lot of questions of how developers are compensated for listing their games in an all-you-can-eat game library.
Even in this case, the exact pay-per-minute payout isn’t noted, and there’s no mention of any up-front payment like it’s rumored Apple Arcade offered but Google says that the model will continuously evolve to “make sure it fairly rewards titles that bring the highest user value.”
Though, with payments divided up by time-played and over 350 games and apps already on the invitation-only service, a moment in the spotlight (and any resulting royalties) looks to already require a great deal of faith in Play Pass’ curated spotlight and recommendation sections in the Play Store.