We are witnessing some major changes in the landscape of electronic media. Lately, subscription services have definitely altered the way of using and consuming the media content. We can now subscribe to Netflix or Amazon Prime to get access to a rotating catalog of movies and TV shows, we also have Kindle Unlimited for digital books and audiobooks, and Microsoft and some of its competitors have also launched subscription services for video games. Productivity wise, Adobe CC and Office 365 are some of the most popular subscription-based services, but we’re yet to see a mobile platform based on subscribing for apps. However, that might soon change.
Mobile users generally aren’t so fond of the idea of paying for mobile applications, especially considering that mobile app developers avoid the “pay once” model in favor of “free with ads”, “freemium” or other models that are based on downloading the app for free. However, Google might have found a way to change that. The proposed solution is to bundle all the apps under one subscription. There were apparent hints about a Play Pass app subscription service, which are discovered in Crowd references and the Google opinion rewards survey. The survey shows that Play Pass service might offer app bundles worth hundreds of dollars for a monthly rate which is still not specified. However, it’s still unclear if and when Play Pass would go live, so we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath in anticipation.
Play Pass isn’t the first Android app service based on subscription, but it might easily be the most influential. According to certain studies, Apple’s App Store generates more revenue per download than the Google Play Store. The inclusion of Play Pass might help Google close the gap by offering some Android users to pay a modest monthly fee instead of buying apps separately. But the making of the Play Pass pulls some inevitable questions. First of all, how would Google choose which apps would make it to the Play Pass? This situation would create a perfect opportunity for some protectionism and favoritism. There is a lot of questions that need to be addressed before Play Pass is ready to hit the stores.