Google has officially launched “Google Play Pass”, adding a new take on the emerging app subscription service model that first made headlines with the introduction of Apple Arcade.

Similar to Apple Arcade, Google Play Pass fetches a US$5 monthly subscription fee in exchange for access to Google Play’s extensive library of Android games — all ad-free, microtransaction-free, and “completely unlocked”.

Google ups the ante, however, with the sheer number of titles that will be made available through the service. Whereas Apple Arcade promises 100 new and exclusive games to its subscribers, Play Pass offers 350 apps — including both game and non-game apps.

One Play Pass subscription can be shared with up to five other family members or users.

Among the high-profile titles that Android gamers can expect to get with Play Pass are Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Monument Valley, Risk, and Terraria. Meanwhile the selection of non-game apps includes AccuWeather, Hi-Q recorder, and Facetune.

Google also claims that there will be “new apps and games added every month”.

Another way Google Play Pass is distinguishing itself from Apple Arcade is its decision to not go the exclusive route with its app selection. There’s no direct funding involved between Google and the apps offered through the service, nor does Google require any sort of exclusivity from the app developers.

For now, Play Pass is available only in the United States, but Google will “be bringing it to additional countries soon”. Curious users can start with a 10-day free trial before committing to the monthly subscription. 

There’s also an early bird promotion that will cut the monthly fee to just US$2 for the first year. The offer lasts until October 10.

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