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 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.