Following Apple, as ever, Google to launch subscription-based game service

Apple Arcade, featuring games such as “Skate City” from Snowman, is playable from an all-new tab on the App Store across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV.
Apple Arcade, featuring games such as “Skate City” from Snowman, is playable from an all-new tab on the App Store across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Apple TV.

Dan Gallagher for The Wall Street Journal:

In tech, no good idea goes uncopied… Google, owned by Alphabet is launching a subscription-based mobile game service this week. Known as Play Pass, the service allows users of Android devices to play games and access other apps free of advertising and in-app transactions for about $5 a month. It comes just days after Apple formally launched Arcade—a similar service at the same price.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s not “similar.” Apple Arcade games are exclusive. Google’s aren’t. Apple Arcade games let users play on seamlessly across smartphones, tablets, TVs, personal computers. Google’s doesn’t.

Arcade was previewed by Apple earlier this year as part of the company’s expanded slate of entertainment offerings… Granted, Google’s Android is on 85% of the world’s smartphones, which means Play Pass could generate a sizable business by converting just a small portion of that enormous base. But despite its dominant share, Android’s app business hasn’t proven nearly as lucrative as Apple’s. Ben Schachter of Macquarie estimates that Google Play will generate about $8.7 billion in revenue next year—half of his projection for Apple’s App Store. Which means that when it comes to getting gamers to pay, Google has about twice the work ahead.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, those who settle for Android do not pay for things:

Android is pushed to users who are, in general:

a) confused about why they should be choosing an iPhone over an inferior knockoff and therefore might be less prone to understand/explore their devices’ capabilities or trust their devices with credit card info for shopping; and/or
b) enticed with “Buy One Get One Free,” “Buy One, Get Two or More Free,” or similar ($100 Gift Cards with Purchase) offers.

Neither type of customer is the cream of the crop when it comes to successful engagement or coveted demographics; closer to the bottom of the barrel than the top, in fact. Android can be widespread and still demographically inferior precisely because of the way in which and to whom Android devices are marketed. Unending BOGO promos attract a seemingly unending stream of cheapskate freetards just as inane, pointless TV commercials about robots or blasting holes in concrete walls attract meatheads and dullards, not exactly the best demographics unless you’re peddling muscle building powders or grease monkey overalls.

Google made a crucial mistake: They gave away Android to “partners” who pushed and continue to push the product into the hands of the exact opposite type of user that Google needs for Android to truly thrive. Hence, Android is a backwater of second-rate, or worse, app versions that are only downloaded when free or ad-supported – but the Android user is notoriously cheap, so the ads don’t sell for much because they don’t work very well. You’d have guessed that Google would have understood this, but you’d have guessed wrong.

Google built a platform that depends heavily on advertising support, but sold it to the very type of customer who’s the least likely to patronize ads.

iOS users are the ones who buy apps, so developers focus on iOS users. iOS users buy products, so accessory makers focus on iOS users. iOS users have money and the proven will to spend it, so vehicle makers focus on iOS users. Etcetera. Android can have the Hee Haw demographic. Apple doesn’t want it or need it; it’s far more trouble than it’s worth.MacDailyNews, November 26, 2012

“All men are created equal.”

Well, not when it comes to users of smartphones and tablets…

The bottom line: Those who settle for Android devices are not equal to iOS users. The fact is that iOS users are worth significantly more than Android settlers to developers, advertisers, third-party accessory makers (speakers, cases, chargers, cables, etc.), vehicle makers, musicians, TV show producers, movie producers, book authors, carriers, retailers, podcasters… The list goes on and on.

The quality of the customer matters. A lot.

Facile “analyses” that look only at market (unit) share, equating one Android settler to one iOS user, make a fatal error by incorrectly equating users of each platform one-to-one.

When it comes to mobile operating systems, all users are simply not equal.SteveJack, MacDailyNews, November 15, 2014

See also: What we mean by ‘Hee Haw demographic’


  1. Gee, what a surprise. Surely Amazon isn’t too far behind. Pathetic, but then again, Google has always been pathetic. Apple has been misfiring consistently for years (though I love Apple Arcade) IMO, yet STILL the rest of the valley innovates by xerox machine. Sad.

  2. As always, Apple has the huge advantage of closely integrating the user experience of all supported Apple devices in Apple’s ecosystem. And it further enhances loyalty to stay in ecosystem. There’s no way Google can control how Android is implemented, not to mention computers (desktops and laptops) running Windows and MacOS. It probably won’t be seamless even among only Android smartphones, because of software and hardware fragmentation. And there’s relatively low loyalty in Android world to particular brand or service provider.

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