[Update 2: Coming Soon] Google may be launching a subscription service called “Play Pass”

[Update 2: Coming Soon] Google may be launching a subscription service called “Play Pass”

Update 2 (9/10/19 @ 9:45 AM EST): Google Play Pass is coming soon, according to the official Google Play Twitter account.

Update 1 (7/31/19 @ 10:22 PM EST): Google has confirmed that Play Pass is now in testing. One user grabbed screenshots showing the in-development subscription sign-up, giving us an early glimpse at what we might see when it goes live. More details below. The original article follows.

Since the Google Play Store is so widely used, any changes to the platform can take months to roll out. We haven’t seen any significant changes to the platform in the past few months apart from the Google Play Points program silently rolling out in Japan and the introduction of playable game demos. But now, we’re seeing evidence for a new, paid subscription service in Google Play which may be called “Play Pass.”

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.

Back in late June, XDA Recognized Developer Quinny899, Kieron Quinn of MightyQuinnApps, spotted an in-development Play Store feature called “Play Pass.” He discovered this while tinkering with the Play Store using the Xposed Framework.

Google Play Pass Play Store

Forcing the feature flag to “true” didn’t show anything new in the Play Store, but decompiling the code showed that Play Pass had something to do with a subscription. Without any strings to reference or any way to enable the feature, we waited until we could find more information.

Screenshots showing the in-development “Play Pass” feature. The code was decompiled using PNF Software’s JEB Decompiler.

Earlier today, one of Kieron’s friends sent him a screenshot of a survey he received in Google Opinion Rewards. The question asks the user to imagine an unnamed “app store” that “has a subscription that offers hundreds of dollars worth of paid apps and games for a monthly fee.” The question then finishes by asking the user to describe how well “Pass” describes the name for such a service.

Google Play Pass Play Store subscriptionNormally, we wouldn’t have paid any attention to this survey sent randomly to users in Google Opinion Rewards. However, given that this corroborates our finding in the Play Store app a few months back, we now have more evidence that Google is working on a paid subscription service in Google Play.

Google sometimes sends surveys about new products or services in testing. Back in March of 2016, Google asked users about tasty foods that start with the letter “N.” One of the choices was “Nougat,” and as we all know, Nougat is the marketing name for Android 7.0 and Android 7.1.

Google Opinion Rewards
Google Opinion Rewards
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

If we learn more information about this upcoming “Play Pass” subscription service, we’ll let you all know.


Update 1: Google confirms Play Pass

A user sent AndroidPolice the below screenshots showing off the new Google Play Pass app and game subscription service. According to the screenshots, Play Pass provides access to “hundreds of premium apps and games, with no ads or in-app purchases” for $4.99 a month after a 10-day free trial. Apps included in the subscription include “puzzle games to premium music apps and everything in between.” One screenshot suggests games like Stardew Valley and Marvel Pinball will be included in the subscription. There is no commitment required and users can cancel at any time. There’s even a family plan.

Screenshots via AndroidPolice

AndroidPolice reached out to Google, and a spokesperson confirmed that this app and game subscription is currently in testing. It’s been over a year since we first spotted evidence for Google Play Pass, but it seems that the subscription service may finally materialize in the near future.


Update 2: Coming Soon

According to the Google Play Twitter account, Google Play Pass is “coming soon.” They also shared the logo that will be used for the service, which is different than the one shown in previous screenshots. It’s possible that both logos will be used. Regardless, Play Pass is coming soon, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it was announced at the Pixel 4 event.

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