Google Play Pass: Price, Apps, Games, and Everything You Need to Know

(Image credit: Google)

In a bid to take on Apple at the services game and counter Apple's gaming service Apple Arcade, Google offers its Play Pass. With help from Google Play Pass, you can access hundreds of apps and games, and do it all at a price that won't break the bank. Best of all, you can share your subscription to the service with your entire family.

So, if you're an Android user and you're looking for an all-in-one solution for finding outstanding apps and games for your device, read on for our guide, which tells you everything you need to know about Google's service.

What is Google Play Pass?

Google Play Pass is a subscription-based service that lets you access up to 350 apps and games for a single monthly fee. The service is somewhat similar to Apple Arcade, which offers access to 100 games for the same monthly fee. For that fee, you won't see any ads, in-app purchases or paywalls in the apps and games in Google Play Pass.

(Image credit: Google)

Google Play Pass price

Google Play Pass is surprisingly affordable at $4.99 per month. For a limited time, Google is also offering a $1.99-per-month charge for the first 12 months. After that, you'd go to the $4.99-per-month tier. The cost is charged per Google Play account, but you can also share your membership with family members.

How does a Google Play Pass family membership work?

If you decide you want to share your subscription with family members, a total of six people can participate in your subscription for the same $4.99-per-month fee. To do that, you'll simply need to sign on to the Google Play Family Library and you'll be good to go. Each of your family members will have their own access to the apps and games and will be able to download anything they want whenever they want.

How many devices can use Google Play Pass at the same time?

To make using Google Play Pass a bit simpler, you don't need to worry about only being on one device at a time. Instead, the service will work on up to 10 devices simultaneously per Google Play account.

(Image credit: Google)

Which apps are available in Google Play Pass?

You'd be surprised by the number of apps available in Google Play Pass. You can access everything from currency converters to bar-code scanners to camera touch-up apps in the service.

Google doesn't provide a simple place to see an exhaustive list of apps, but they're all highly rated and come with plenty of features for you to try. Here's a list of 10 apps you can get right now:

  • Voice Recorder Pro
  • Drawing Pad
  • Footej Camera
  • Pic Stitch
  • Business Calendar Pro
  • WiFi Warden
  • Tasker
  • NOAA Weather International
  • File Manager
  • Barcode Scanner

(Image credit: Google)

Which games are available in Google Play Pass?

It's a similar story with the games available in Google Play Pass. In fact, there are plenty more games than there are apps in the service. And some are wildly popular. 

Again, you'll need to access Google Play Pass to see all of the available games, but here's a list of 10 solid games to try:

  • Shadow Fight 2 Special Edition
  • Old Man's Journey
  • Jungle Adventures 2
  • Reigns
  • Thomas & Friends: Race On!
  • Kids Draw With Shapes
  • 2048
  • Red Herring
  • Star Wars: KOTOR
  • 7 Little Words

Can I use my own game controllers for Google Play Pass?

You bet. In fact, you can use everything from Microsoft's Xbox One S controller to the Samsung GamePad controller. Razer's Raiju Mobile controller also works with games.

Be aware, however, that the controller support will vary by game.

What Android version do I need to run Google Play Pass?

Google requires that you use specific Android and Google Play versions. Only devices that are running Android version 4.4 and above, as well as Google Play version 16.6.25 or above, will work with Google Play Pass.

In which countries can I sign up for Google Play Pass?

For now, Google Play Pass is available only in the U.S. Google will likely release the service to international markets at some point in the future.

Google Play Pass vs. Apple Arcade: How are they different?

Google Play Pass is similar to Apple Arcade on price and the overall concept, but there are some important differences.

Although both options are available for $4.99 per month, Google's $1.99-per-month option for  12 months is a bit better than the one-month free trial Apple is offering on Arcade. 

Additionally, Apple Arcade focuses solely on video games and exclusively offers access to them. So, if you want to play Apple Arcade games on Android, you’d be out of luck. 

MORE: Apple Arcade Review: Mobile Gaming Is Good Again

Google Play Pass, on the other hand, offers access to both apps and games. And so far, it has no exclusives on any of the titles, so there's a chance you could see it elsewhere.

Apple is a little more open with the hardware availability. In addition to iPhones, you can play Apple Arcade on everything from your Apple TV and MacBook to your iPad. And on controller support, the company adds PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 support — something not offered with Google Play Pass.

Aside from that, there isn't much difference between the services. They both are cloud-based, offer a subscription-based model and promise to play an important role in how you access content in the future. The big question, however, is whether app developers will find value in them and continue to support them over time.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.