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In a challenge to Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass offers ad-free games and apps

Introducing Google Play Pass

Tired of ads in your apps and games? Google has a solution. Its new monthly subscription service — Google Play Pass — allows Android device owners to subscribe and get unrestricted access to a curated collection of apps and games with a promise of zero ads, no in-app purchases, or any other payments.

The service comes hot on the heels of the launch of Apple Arcade, a games subscription service from Apple that allows subscribers to play high-quality, and sometimes exclusive, titles on various Apple devices with no ads or in-app purchases. But where Arcade focuses on games, Google Play Pass works with regular apps as well.

There are 350 apps and games currently unlocked in Google Play Pass, ranging from Stardew Valley, Monument Valley, and Risk to Facetune and AccuWeather, and Google said it will add new games and apps each month (at the moment, two-thirds are games). Apple Arcade is launching with close to 100 games, and Apple also has plans to add more every month. Just like Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass costs $5 a month.

To find Play Pass, there’s a new tab in the Google Play Store that will let you peruse through the curated collection. You’ll still see Play Pass-supported apps and games when browsing through the Play Store like normal — but an indicator, called a Play Pass ticket, will be visible next to the app icon.

A Google spokesperson told Digital Trends there are no exclusive apps or games that will be exclusive to Play Pass — everything will still be available through the Play Store if people don’t want to subscribe. This isn’t necessarily the case with Apple Arcade, as some titles are exclusively only available with the subscription.

When asked if Google is working with developers to create high-quality games for Play Pass as Apple is doing with Arcade, the spokesperson said the company sees the new service as an alternative mode of distribution and monetization for third-party developers.

You can share your Play Pass with up to five other family members, and each person’s Play Pass access is unique so there’s no overlap and what they install won’t impact you in any way.

Google Play Pass rolls out this week in the U.S., with support for other countries “coming soon.” Google is offering a 10-day free trial, but you can also sign up for 12 months for $2 per month as a limited-time promotion.

If you’re frequently buying apps and games on the Play Store, Play Pass is a no-brainer, but it’s a good idea to look at the full list of apps and games available before subscribing.

And if you’re a developer, Google said Play Pass is currently-invitation only, but there’s a form available you can fill out to be considered for the service.

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Julian Chokkattu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Julian is the mobile and wearables editor at Digital Trends, covering smartphones, fitness trackers, smartwatches, and more…
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