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Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass will be totally different stores

Date published: 2019-10-08
Originally published: Here. Excerpt below.


Google launched Play Pass, its own subscription service, September 23rd. Play Pass hosts Android games rather than iOS, and it didn't debut with the same fanfare as Apple Arcade (or, for that matter, Google's other game-streaming service, Stadia). While Apple had a lineup of exclusives and new titles go live alongside Arcade, Google launched Play Pass with a generic promise of access to "hundreds of awesome games and apps" for $5 a month.
Paying to acquire games wasn't, and isn't, part of Google's plan. Instead, it pays Play Pass developers after their titles go on sale, determining their value with an algorithm that factors in how much time players spend in-app.
Over the past five years I've tried to be as productive a developer of small, short narrative games as I possibly could.
I knew this day would come. pic.twitter.com/LJUFWGkPLE
— Will O'Neill (@willoneill) September 23, 2019
That's a red flag for mobile developers. After all, many of mobile gaming's most powerful and acclaimed titles are contained experiences rather than infinitely replayable tapping extravaganzas. Games such as Florence, Device 6, Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery EP and Monument Valley helped prove the depth of mobile experiences, but they're designed with endings in mind. In a playtime competition with Candy Crush, they're doomed.
Google's algorithm considers other "signals" besides in-app minutes to determine a game's value, and the company says it will continue to tweak this model so that all types of content can succeed on Play Pass. Soon after the rollout, Google edited the language in its Play Pass developer guide to remove a direct reference to time-based royalty payments. However, playtime is still a factor in Google's algorithm. It isn't for Apple Arcade -- and these disparate revenue models will likely shape two wildly different worlds of mobile gaming.
Chain reaction
The bar for mobile games is high, with players expecting perfectly addictive vignettes and console-quality ...


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Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass will be totally different stores https://t.co/a6Q4171oCQ #Play #Pass #Apple #tech pic.twitter.com/pSJKSTm7zw

— NUS Trivia | tech news (@NusTrivia) October 8, 2019