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Google set to launch Play Pass, a monthly subscription service for ad-free apps and games

The service is expected to cost $4.99 a month and will give subscribers access to apps without ads, download fees or in-app purchases

Not a company to be outdone by its rivals, Google is rumoured to be testing a monthly subscription service for gamers akin to Apple Arcade.

READ NEXT: Apple Arcade: What is it?

Reportedly called Play Pass, the service is expected to cost $4.99 a month and will give Android owners access to paid-for premium apps at no extra cost; that means without ads, download fees or in-app purchases. 

The reports have come via a reader who sent screenshots of Play Pass menus to Android Police’s Corbin Davenport. These images bolster evidence found by XDA Developers last year about the launch of the Play Pass; Google has confirmed it is testing the service, but would not reveal any more information.

 By comparison, Apple Arcade – which has been officially unveiled and is due to launch in 150 countries in the autumn – will feature “over 100 new and exclusive games”. It’s believed that by exclusive, this means those games won’t be available on any other platform including Android. This is reminiscent of the way certain console games and titles work.

Apple Arcade games will be playable on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac and you’ll be able to leave a game on one device and pick up progress on another. All games will be available offline, too. Apple has not revealed the price of Apple Arcade yet.

Google’s Play Pass would complement the launch of its Google Stadia games streaming service, and cements the tech firm’s commitment to gaming. Google Stadia is set to launch in 14 countries, including the UK and Ireland, in November and will be available in tiers.

READ NEXT: Google Stadia release date, price and features

Stadia Base is the free version and will let subscribers play games at 1080p resolution at 60fps. If you want to increase this resolution to 4K, you’ll need to pay for a Stadia Pro subscription, which will cost £8.99 a month at launch.

For £119, you can currently pre-order the Stadia Founder’s Edition which includes a Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle, Google’s Stadia controller and three month’s access to the premium Stadia Pro service. You’ll get one free game as part of this subscription, per month, but will have to buy any other games on top.

It’s no surprise Google and Apple are looking to extend their services remit. It’s a highly lucrative market, as proved by Apple’s latest earnings report. In Q3 2019, the firm achieved record revenue numbers from its subscription products including iCloud, Apple Music and Apple News+ reaching $11.455 billion in Q3. 

Year-on-year, revenue from Apple services has grown by 13% and this is expected to be even higher going into 2020 and 2021 with the upcoming launches of Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade. 

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