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Google launches paid app and games subscription service “Play Pass”

Google has launched a new subscription service Google Play Pass, which gives Android users access to over 350 games and apps. It will be served ad-free and is inclusive of in-app purchases. Google will provide users’ free trial for 10 days and is also planning on offering the subscription for the first year at $1.99 per month. Google has added a Play Pass tab to Google Play for subscribers, and those apps that have implemented the Play Pass will have a “ticket” shown on the app page. Play Pass is available for Android version 4.4 and above.

Is Google Play Pass available in India? No. The app is currently only available in the US; Google said services will launch “internationally soon”.

How much does Google Play Pass cost? It costs $4.99 per month in the US. New users will get a free trial. The company is expected to come up with its international prices soon. Google Play Pass purchases can be shared with up to 6 family members.

Which apps are included in Play Pass? Two third of the apps included in Play Pass are games such as Stardew Valley, Monument Valley, Limbo, Mini Metro, Old Man’s Journey, Eloh, Star Wars: KOTOR and Risks. Similarly, the non-game apps include AccuWeather, Signal Spy, Tasker and Hi-Q recorder.

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How will developers make money? Developers will earn a royalty that incorporates the time subscribers spend in their app. This indicates that there’s no money being paid to developers for just being a part of the program, or even if users actually download the paid app. So Google, as an aggregator, still gets paid, but developers, even if their app has been downloaded, don’t. There’s also no transparency in terms of how this payment will be made, since there’s no limit to the number of apps in usage: how much of the total $4.99 per month will be kept by Google, and how much will be split amongst developers.

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