Google Play Pass. What’s that, you might ask? Well, it’s a service that Google offers to Android users which gives unlimited access to content on Google Play. That’s the most basic explanation of what it is anyway.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. So we wanted to do a deep dive into what it is, what its features are, what it costs, why you’d want it and a whole lot more. If you’re at all interested in Play Pass, which you’ve likely seen presented to you inside the Google Play app on your Android smartphone, then this guide is for you.
As it’ll seek to explain all of that in as much detail as possible.
What is Google Play Pass?
Google Play Pass is a subscription service that you can access through your Android smartphone or tablet. You pay a single monthly fee and in return, Google gives you access to a curated collection of games and apps.
You can use these as much as you want and install them on additional devices. So long as the Google account you used to subscribe to the service is on those additional devices.
If you need a comparison, Play Pass is pretty similar to Apple Arcade. The main difference being that Apple Arcade is strictly for games and Google Play Pass includes apps too.
How much does Google Play Pass cost?
Google Play Pass has a monthly fee and an annual fee. So you can subscribe for the length of time that you prefer. Whether you plan to utilize the service’s benefits for an entire year or you’d rather have the freedom to cancel month by month, Google Play Pass lets you choose either one.
For one month, Play Pass will cost you $4.99. For one year, Play Pass will cost you $29.99. Subscriptions are also set up to auto-renew. So make sure that you keep that in mind if you’re ever considering a cancellation.
If you have a Google Play family account set up, you can also share Play Pass with up to five other people.
Where is Google Play Pass available?
You would think that Play Pass is available in every country where the Play Store is available. But that’s actually not the case. The service is available in a rather large number of regions though.
Altogether, the service is available in 90 regions. This includes the US, UK, Russia, Poland, Italy, France, Angola, Chile, and many others. You can find the entire list of available regions for Play Pass at this link.
Also worth noting is that if Play Pass is available in your region, you should be able to see the option to sign up for it in the Play Store on your device. Simply tap on your profile picture in the top right corner of the Play Store app, and Play Pass should be listed further down in the menu.
What apps and games are available on Play Pass?
Honestly, there are too many to list them all here. But you’ll be happy to know that the service as a whole offers access to hundreds and hundreds of apps and games. And Google is constantly adding more so things are always staying fresh.
Having said that, the service did start off a little bit slow. Now however things seem to have picked up and there’s a lot more on offer. Some of the most recent things added to Play Pass include games like Evoland 2, Botanicula, Crying Suns, Night Of The Full Moon, The Ramen Sensei, Pocket League Story, Laser Quest and many, many more.
If you’re interested in seeing everything Play Pass offers for yourself, head to the Play Pass section in the Play Store and tap on the Explore button. This will let you browse through the content that you get access to with your subscription.
What sorts of features does Play Pass have?
Really there aren’t many major features to speak of. You do get the ability to share the service with up to five people. And that’s really about it. What it has is pretty cut and dry. Pay a monthly fee, and get access to hundreds of apps and games.
Use and play them as much as you want as long as your subscription is active.
Does the content have in-app purchases?
No. All Play Pass content is completely free of in-app purchases. Which means you’ll never spend a single cent on anything. The thing is though that Play Pass will likely never include games that rely more heavily on micro transactions.
Then again, those types of apps and games are usually already free. The main benefit of Play Pass is that the games and apps that are included are premium games and apps. That would normally cost money if you wanted to install them. With Play Pass, you give up having to spend money on the individual installs for unlimited access with a subscription.
It’s a rather great deal if you use premium apps and play premium games a lot. There are some free games and apps included. These are likely to have at least one or two in-app purchases that would unlock the full versions of their content. But with Play Pass you get that at no charge.
How do I sign up?
Signing up is actually pretty easy to do. First you will need to open the Play Store on any supported Android device. Then, tap on your profile picture which can be found in the top right corner of the Play Store app.
This will bring up a menu with options like my apps & games, library, Play Protect, and Play Pass just to name a few. Tap on the Play Pass option and you’ll be taken to another screen that lets you “get started.” Tapping on the get started button will have you go through with setting up the subscription.
From there you can browse through all of the content that the service has available. Then just find stuff you like and install it onto any of your compatible Android devices.
Are there ads to deal with?
Not a single one. All apps and games in the service that would potentially have ads, are completely ad-free when you have a Play Pass subscription. This goes along with the lack of micro transactions. As you also avoid in-app purchases when you subscribe.
Again, this is mostly premium content. And a lot of premium content doesn’t have ads or in-app purchases anyway. So that’s something to keep in mind. The real strength of the service is getting access to premium content without having to buy each piece of content individually.
Are downloads shared between family members?
No. Google set things up so that any downloads are not shared between Play Pass subscribers. Since the service is tied to the individual emails of each person in the family group, downloaded games or apps go directly to that person’s device and no one else’s.
This will help prevent your device from being loaded up with games or apps you would never play or use.
Do I need an Android device to access the service?
Yes. Play Pass is only available for Android devices. Though, that does include both smartphones and tablets. Your device will need to run Android 4.4 or later, and have the Play Store version 16.6.25 or later for it to work.
Google doesn’t list that it works with Chromebooks, but a Chromebook is pictured on the official Play Pass landing page and users have reported it working well over a year ago. So your Chromebook should work just fine if you have one.
What happens to downloads if I cancel Play Pass?
Play Pass is a subscription service. While it’s active, you can download and use games or apps free of charge instead of paying for them. They’ll also be free of ads and of in-app/in-game purchases, as mentioned above.
If you cancel your Play Pass subscription though, you will lose access to those games or apps. You will however be able to continue using them for the remaining days of your subscription. In the event that the apps or games were free, they will stay ad-free for the same time frame.
Will games or apps ever be removed from the service?
Sometimes, yes. Google states that every so often games and apps may leave the Play Pass service. If this happens, usage is still there, not too unlike it is for the remaining days of your subscription after you cancel it.
If the game or app removed is free, then access can continue but ads will start appearing. Google says access can continue for “some time” if the content was paid, but eventually users will have to buy that content.
How do I manage my Play Pass subscription?
This is pretty simple as well. The same as any other subscription from the Play Store – from the menu. Subscriptions will be listed right under the library option in the user menu that you access from the top right corner of the Play Store app.
Just like with signing up, tap on your profile picture and payments & subscriptions will be the third option down. Tap on that to open the subscriptions menu and if you’re subscribed to Play Pass you’ll see it in the list. You can then cancel at any time from this location.
Are there any issues with the service?
The main issue is still the same one that Play Pass has had since it launched. Though it’s less of an issue now than it was back in the beginning – that there aren’t really that many games or apps available as part of the service. This will continue to change over time however. Google said in the beginning that it was committed to adding more games and apps to Play Pass every single month. And it’s done that so far.
Another problem is the quality of the content that is available. Some of the content included is lacking. However everyone’s tastes are different and some users will find the library of content in Play Pass to be just fine. Again, this is another thing that will improve over time as Google adds in more new stuff.
Can I sign up for Play Pass with a work or school account?
Unfortunately, no. Play Pass is only available to personal Google accounts and not those tied to work or school.
Why should I sign up for Google Play Pass?
This is mainly for people who use a lot of app content. And even more specifically for people who tend to gravitate towards the premium content. If that’s you and you’re tried of paying full price for each thing you download, this is an alternative way to get access to hundreds of premium games and apps.
In which case, that’s a good reason to sign up. Another good reason is if you have family members or friends that are part of your Google Play Family account. This allows everyone access to the Play Pass service for the same monthly fee that you’re already paying. Which means lots of free content for everyone involved. Sharing is caring, and sharing Play Pass with friends and family is a neat little gift.