If you are unaware, Google’s Answer to the Apple Arcade came out in the United States yesterday. Most of us still have to wait a few weeks before we can get our hands on the Play Pass.
What is The Play Pass?
The Play Pass is a $4.99 monthly subscription service offered by Google to combat the Apple Arcade. Once you purchase a subscription, you’ll get access to hundreds of games and apps that have no adverts and no in-app purchases.
Just like the Apple Arcade, you can share your membership with family members, up to six in total. Your first month of the Play Pass membership is free, so you can try before you buy.
Does it compete with Apple?
Competition is healthy in business, without it, companies and individuals get stuck in a rut. The Play Pass differs from the Apple Arcade in one important way, exclusives.
Apple Arcade got developers to create a game only for the platform. Whereas Google has repurposed several successful games and repackaged them under one roof. This may not seem like a problem to the casual gamer, but any experienced mobile gamer will have already forked out the premium price tags for some of these games months or even years ago.
On the surface, you’ve got one store leading the mobile gaming market down an entirely new path, with Google playing catch up. This may not be a problem down the line once the Play Pass has caught up. But as of right now, if the first month wasn’t free, I would have little reason to subscribe.
Is it Worth it?
This question is subjective because the value to you differs from value to me. But, if you have played your fair share of mobile games, then you will have already played a large majority of games included in the Play Pass.
If you are just interested in a ‘gram for gram’ comparison on which service is better, then that is a more interesting question. Apple has around 100 titles, most of which are exclusive to the platform and won’t be available any other way. To combat this, Google has flooded you with choice by offering you hundreds of games, most of which you may have played before.
But, because the choice of games for the Play Pass is so large, it’s very possible for games to be a part of the subscription and make no money. This may not seem like a big deal, but if a game is not getting played, then the Play Pass will pay the developers no money.
So put yourself in the developer’s position, you have created a new game that qualifies for the Play Pass. You put the game on exclusively hoping it will be a profitable partnership. But because there are so many other choices and games on the pass, your game is overlooked, and no one plays it.
Google disclaims that the “Google Play measures your Play Pass usage to find out how much developers in Play Pass earn. We also provide developers with info on how people use their apps.” This means, if no one plays your game, you don’t earn any money and we monitor exactly what each person plays and for how long.
So the value of the Play Pass is superb for free-to-play gamers who rarely fork out for a premium title. The subscription is mediocre in value for experienced, seasoned mobile gamers who have played most of the titles before.
Lastly, the Play Pass is an exceptionally poor value for developers, as Google will use your game as a selling point (e.g. we have over 300 games), but they pay the developers based on how much each game is played. I am sure Apple has a similar algorithm, but if you divide $4.99 into 100 games, each developer makes a lot more than divided into 300+ games.
What do you guys think of the Play Pass? If you have an opinion different to mine, let me know in the comments below!