Apple Arcade vs. Google Play Pass: Which is best?

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Elia Tabuenca GarcĂ­a
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Both Apple and Google now offer game and app subscriptions for R$9,90 per month. See how these two new subscription services combine.

Apple and Google planted flags in the gaming world last year with the launch of mobile game streaming services: Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass. Both subscription services give you unlimited access to a library of games that you can play on your mobile devices without ads or in-app purchases, all for $9,90 a month.

While Apple Arcade is geared towards gaming, Google Play Pass also includes productivity, photography and utilities apps. Since its launch, Apple Arcade has built up a catalog of over 110 games, some exclusive to the platform, while Google Play Pass has over 350 games and apps, but none exclusive so far.

If you have exclusively Apple or Android devices, the choice is easy: you can only play Apple Arcade on iOS devices and you can only play Play Pass on Androids. But if you have both – or the gaming services factor in your purchase decision for your next phone – it gets a little harder to choose. Google Play Pass was launched in December 2020 in Spain, but Apple Arcade arrived in Spain in September 2020.

Read on to find out how the two mobile gaming services compare and which makes the most sense for you.

Google Play Pass

Best for those who want apps too

Play Pass is Google's subscription app service where you can install whatever you want, with over 350 apps and games available. It's a solid option for Android users. The mobile game subscription service offers a 30-day free trial and costs R$9,90 per month or R$89,90 per year for up to six family members to use. Play Pass gives you access to 350+ games and apps without ads, paywalls or in-app purchases. 

Play Pass is easy to find in the Google app store on your phone. Just click on the settings bar in the upper left corner and tap on Play Pass. After signing up, a ticket icon appears next to the Play Store items that are part of the program – a good filter to find quality downloads. 

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Google announced Play Pass ahead of the much-anticipated Stadia platform. It includes popular games like Monument Valley, Risk and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. If you're not looking for new or exclusive games, but you like the variety of games on offer, then Play Pass might be a good choice for you.

I liked the amount of games and utility apps available on Play Pass. Titles like Monument Valley and Eloh are included in your subscription, but you'll have to pay for them on iOS, even if you're an Apple Arcade subscriber. 

Apple Arcade

Best if you want new and unique games

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Apple launched the Apple Arcade mobile game subscription service in September as part of the iOS 13 public beta. You can now play over 110 games on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices. When you sign up, you can test Apple Arcade with a free one-month trial, after which it costs R$9,90 per month or R$99,90 per year.

Apple Arcade is on the App Store and games are downloaded to your device so you can play offline. You can play directly on any of your Apple devices, or you can also use Microsoft Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4 controllers for a more traditional console experience. 

New games, or game updates, are released almost every week, so there's always something new to try. Apple Arcade has no ads or in-game purchases, and one subscription works for up to six family members.

The service offers exclusive single-player, multiplayer, and AR games across multiple genres from developers like Square Enix, Bandai Namco, Ubisoft, Capcom, and Hipster Whale. Some of the top titles include nostalgic favorites like Pac-Man Party Royale, Rayman Mini and Frogger in Toytown, along with new hits like Crossy Road Castle and Ultimate Rivals: The Rink. 

I enjoyed the steady stream of new content coming to Apple Arcade every week. The games are beautifully designed and there is something for every mood and every player. While more games are now appearing on Steam and other places for standalone purchase, with an Apple Arcade purchase you're only paying a flat fee.

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