Google is hoping to rival Apple Arcade, by introducing its own all-you-can-eat subscription pass for apps and games called Play Pass.

It's a subscription service - sort of like a Netflix - but it gives users access to a huge catalogue of apps and games for a set monthly price. It is launching this week in the US, with Google saying other countries are to follow shortly.

Here's what you need to know.

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What is Google's Play Pass?

If you've downloaded an app or game at all in the past year or so, we bet it was free to install, but it immediately threw up a paywall for a subscription or in-app purchase before you could actually use it. To help curb this practice, and to create a new revenue stream for itself, Apple recently launched Apple Arcade, a monthly subscription pass for Mac and iOS games.

Now, Google is doing something similar.

Play Pass is a new subscription service for Android users, specifically. It uniquely offers access to apps - not just games - on Android. There are 350 Android apps at launch. Play Pass completely unlocks them all, meaning their ad-free and have no hidden in-app purchases. Google said it plans to expand the catalogue every month, giving subscribers a reason to stick around.

How much is Play Pass?

Play Pass costs $4.99 a month. However, there is a launch special, allowing users to get it for $1.99 for the first 12 months. There’s also a free 10-day trial if you’re interested in trying it first. A Play Pass can be shared with up to five others who are part of your Google Family.

Which devices can access Play Pass?

Play Pass is compatible with any Android device that runs Android 4.4 or later and Play Store version 16.6.25.

How to sign up for Play Pass

Signing up should be as simple as accessing the Play Store app and going to the menu at the top left. Google says you’ll find a Play Pass option there once the service launches. We’ll have a more detailed walkthrough of the sign-up process once it launches in late September 2019.

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Which apps are available through Play Pass?

Google said there will be 350 different apps available at launch, and about two-thirds of them will be games. It hasn't explicitly announced all the titles yet, but through promo materials on the Play Pass site, Pocket-lint was able to round-up some of the headliners. Some of them include Stardew Valley, Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic, and Terraria - all of which got their start on consoles.

There’s also your classic time-killers like Reigns: Game of Thrones, Risk, and many more. As for apps, you can expect Accuweather, CamtoPlan, Slow Motion Video FX, and Photo Studio Pro. 

Here’s a complete list of Play Pass games and apps announced so far:

Games

  • .Projekt
  • 60 Seconds: Atomic Adventure
  • 80 Days
  • Absolute Drift
  • Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise
  • Bridge Constructor Pro
  • Chameleon Run
  • Death Squared
  • Door Kickers
  • Eloh
  • Evoland
  • Framed
  • Game Dev Tycoon
  • Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride
  • Hidden Folks
  • Hoplite
  • King’s League: Odyssey
  • Lichtspeer
  • Limbo
  • Lumino City
  • Mini Metro
  • Monument Valley 2
  • My Town Series
  • Old Man’s Journey
  • One More Line
  • Pocket City
  • Reigns: Game of Thrones
  • Risk
  • Sago Mini Pet Cafe
  • Shadow Fight 2
  • Sorcery! 4
  • Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic
  • Stardew Valley
  • Suzy Cube
  • Swordigo
  • Terraria
  • The Battle of Polytopia
  • The Bug Butcher
  • The Tiny Bang Story
  • This is the Police
  • Thomas and Friends: Race On
  • Tiny Guardians
  • Titan Quest
  • Toca Mystery House
  • Toca Nature
  • Wayward Souls

Apps

  • AccuWeather
  • CamtoPlan
  • ISS HD Live: View Earth Live
  • Photo Studio Pro
  • Pic Stitch - Collage Maker
  • Slow Motion Video FX
  • Tunable: Music Practice Tools

When will Play Pass be available and where?

Google said Play Pass will be available "this week" (from 23 September 2019) in the US, and it should roll out to more countries soon after. We don't know yet which countries or when, but we will keep you posted. 

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