Google is jumping headfirst into the battle for the wallets and pocketbooks of casual gamers, with the launch Monday of "Google Play Pass" offering hundreds of different games and apps for a monthly fee.
Shares of parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report edged up 0.59% to $1,237.13 as Google rolled out its new, $4.99-a-month gaming service aimed at Android mobile phone users. The tech giant is also offering a 10-day free trial and other promotions to get Android users to sign up.
The new service will bundle together 350 games and apps and will be free of ads under a subscription service model. Google Play Pass is designed to go head-to-head with Apple Arcade, which its giant, Cupertino, Calif-based rival Apple (AAPL) - Get Report launched last week.
The titles offered by Google under the package will range from "Stardew Valley to Risk and Facetune to AccuWeather" the tech giant said in an announcement on its website.
Google sees Google Play Pass as building on its already existing Google Play feature, with hopes that bundling a range of games and apps will help give them greater traction that they would have had as solo offerings,
"Since everyone plays a little differently, we're introducing a new way to enjoy many of these digital experiences: Google Play Pass," Google said in its rollout announcement.
Google and Apple are competing for a piece of the casual gaming market, in which gamers can play on their phones without consoles and other hardware. The overall market for video gaming is expected to top $152 billion worldwide in 2019, according to a recent report by Newzoo.
And the largest single segment is gaming on smartphones and tablets, which account for nearly half the global market, or $68.5 billion, according to the report.