Play Pass offers interesting games and applications for a reasonable price, but it has to increase its catalog to succeed
Google’s subscription games and applications system, Play Pass , arrived in Spain a few days ago ready to compete with Apple Arcade and show that there is also room for developers on Android who want to make a living without resorting to advertising. After a few days of testing it seems that it is a good first step and that it is going in the right direction, but the road is long, winding and with many dangers. It remains to be seen if Google has the determination – and luck – it takes to make it to the end, or if it will stay in the broken toy drawer.
The idea, of course, is attractive: 4.99 euros per month for hundreds of games and apps of a certain quality and without advertising. You can even buy a one-year subscription for € 29.99, which would cut the price in half. And for the undecided, a trial month.
Of course, all this doesn’t make any sense if the catalog is mediocre. Apple knew how to see it from the beginning and opted for ‘exclusive’ titles (they may appear on other platforms, but not on Android or similar subscription services) that practically by themselves would justify paying five euros. With releasing one or two a month, everyone is happy.
Google is not so clear. If Apple jumped headlong and with a corkscrew, the search engine enters the water little by little and thinking each step: a less dignified image; a little memorable bathroom . But if it stays cool, who cares?
Thus, the game repertoire is an interesting entree that promises good things if the company takes it seriously and that will sink into a sea of indifference if no big titles come in in the coming months. Pocket City, Stardew Valley, Agent A, Game Dev Tycoon, Bridge Consructor Portal or Holedown are strong arguments to justify the payment … for a few months. Nobody keeps the oranges when they have squeezed all the juice.
Along with them there is a middle class of free titles with payment made: coins of all kinds, clues or additional attempts that only make sense if it is understood that outside of Play Pass they are ads or micropayments. They serve to hang out and, above all, to point out the nudist emperor and proclaim from the rooftops “they weren’t fun, just addictive!”
All of them are arranged in their own tab on Google Play , where everything that goes into the subscription has its own icon and the price that mortals pay crossed out. It is not a bad way to remember that, in a way, it means savings and to generate interest, but when all the fish is sold it is a bit worth walking around the fish market.
In the productivity applications section, the subscription has much less to offer, although there are hidden gems like FlipaClip . In general, anyone who needs a scientific calculator on their mobile has already downloaded it and, even at the risk of falling into generalizations, those looking for a unicorn diary with a password may not be the target audience for Play Pass (which, in fairness, can be share with several people from the same family and there may appear the little unicorniophiles).
Possibly right now the best thing about Play Pass is its free trial month, which activated before the holidays at least provides 30 days of sudoku, tower defenses and confidences to mythological horses. When we return to the routine, we can decide if it is worth continuing to pay for the same thing and what comes next.
It remains to be seen how long Google can convince developers to stick around if subscriptions don’t reach critical mass. If they start to abandon the project, the quality will drop – which, remember, from the outset is not something to shoot for – this will reduce subscriptions and the whiting will have a grand feast.