The Google Play Store is filled with a combination of free and paid apps and games… but many of the free ones are either laden with annoying ads or require in-app purchases to access some content or features.

Google may be planning to offer users another option.

According to a report from Android Police, the company is testing a Google Play Pass subscription service that offers access to “hundreds of premium apps and games, with no ads, or in-app purchases” for $5 per month.

Google Play Pass
Android Police

Google Play Pass isn’t available to the public yet, but someone with access to a test version sent a set of screenshots to Android Police showing what the signup process looks like.

In a nutshell, Google is promising users “a curated catalog” of apps and games with a distraction-free experience and no need to pay extra to unlok anything.

A Play Pass subscription runs $4.99 per month plus tax, but there’s also a 10-day free trial. And when you encounter paid games in the Play Store that are available through Play Pass, you’ll see a note letting you know that you could play for “free” if you had a subscription. This is similar to what Amazon does if you search for music, eBooks, videos, or audiobooks on its website that are also available through Amazon’s Music Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited, Prime Video, or Audible subscriptions.

Of course, since Google is just testing Play Pass for now, it’s unclear if or when it’ll roll out to the public. And if it does, there’s no word on whether the pricing or selection of apps and games will be the same as it is right now.

Google wouldn’t be the first company to try a Netflix-for-games type of service. But this would be one of the highest profile examples to date.

Apple, meanwhile, plans to roll out its own Apple Arcade subscription service in the coming months. It’s expected to offer users access to over 100 games they can play on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac.

What remains unclear is whether Android users are willing to spend $5/month ($60/year) on apps and games. Plenty of reports have suggested that while Apple’s iOS has a much smaller share of the global smartphone market, iPhone users are willing to spend more money on apps and games than Android users.

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2 replies on “Google is testing Play Pass subscription for ad-free Android apps & games”

  1. I usually try the free version of an app first. If I find I actually use the app I will spring for the paid version. If not, I delete the app. Always check the app permissions before installing any app.

    1. A lot of Apps on PlayStore now no longer have a Free and Paid version, unlike the AppStore.
      They’re now making the Free versions with IAP, and full of ads (much more than before), and trying to maintain that single version.

      The worst part is, Google only honours refunds if done within the first hour, but not for IAP.
      So you can’t try Apps properly anymore, and if you change your mind, tough luck you lost your money. It’s certainly anti-consumer, and low-quality. And some Apps are able to break PlayStore rules and still get access to Permissions before the prompt was made. So there’s a security and privacy breach on that front.

      I don’t agree with Apple’s 30% cut, it’s too high and difficult for developers, something like 10% is much more fair. But at least Apple does a good job of being for the consumer, and vetting Apps and Permissions much better. Neither are perfect, but one deserves your money more.

      Me personally? I don’t buy many Apps, there are enough workarounds. But if there’s something I like and need, then I will try to buy it and instead send a donation directly to the individual dev.

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