Mobile gaming is a growing market, and in 2019 that means it’s time to rent instead of own. Google announced on Monday that it’s starting its own subscription service for its mobile devices that rivals the recently-started Apple Arcade. Google’s own Play Store has thousands of games, many of which follow the traditional model of freemium or inexpensive games full of in-app purchases.
The subscription model, which Apple set up with its Apple Arcade which debuted last week, changes that. Much like Netflix or Hulu, consumers pay a flat rate per month for access to a wide library of games with no in-app purchases. The subscription means gamers never truly “own” their games, but if you’re a heavy gamer it’s a great deal.
Monument Valley 2, Stardew Valley and a bunch of other games without the word ‘valley’ in their title will be available at launch — Google says more than 350 ad-free games and apps in all. Interestingly, Google’s Play Pass also includes a number of non-gaming apps like AccuWeather and FaceTune, a selfie-editing app.
Google is promising new games and apps every month, as well as a number of family-friendly titles so the subscription is fun for all ages. If you’re a heavy mobile gamer it certainly makes sense, and the timing of Google’s Play Pass announcement is interesting considering the start of Apple Arcade. But pitting the two subscriptions as rivals isn’t really accurate, as switching between one gaming service for another would involve, you know, buying an entirely new phone or tablet.
In any event, Google says the service starts in the US later this week and will cost $5.99 a month, with a year commitment at $1.99 a month for an introductory offer. If that’s cheap enough to get you into the ecosystem and you have an Android phone, there’s certainly a lot to offer.