Amazon Introduces Cloud Gaming Service, Luna
Amazon is getting into the cloud gaming business with Luna, a new service that uses its Amazon Web Services tech as the backbone.
Amazon has unveiled its own cloud gaming service called Luna, which will use Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its backbone. CNET reports the service is touting the ability to play anywhere, including iPhone and iPad. You can request early access to the service starting today.
Amazon Luna Platforms
Amazon says that at launch, Luna will be playable on PC, Mac, Amazon's own Fire TV devices, as well as iPhone and iPad through web apps. An Android version is said to be coming soon as well.
This is a notable difference between Luna and the cloud gaming services from Microsoft and Google--xCloud and Stadia, respectively--which have run into Apple policies that have prevented the ability to play on iOS devices. Apple recently changed its rules, but Microsoft issued a statement maintaining that it's still a bad experience for gamers.
For the time being, Luna will be available in the mainland US. It is not yet available in Hawaii, Alaska, or US territories.
Luna+ Subscription Service
Amazon is offering a Luna+ game channel, which gives you access to a library of games for a subscription price. During the early access period, Luna+ will include a number of games like Resident Evil 7, Control, and A Plague Tale: Innocence, among others. It will cost $6 per month, and Amazon promises quality up to 4K with 60FPS for some games. You can play on two devices at a time with Luna+.
Amazon also announced a partnership with Ubisoft to offer its own game streaming channel through Luna. That will give you access to new games like Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals: Fenyx Rising on release day. It did not detail pricing for those games or the Ubisoft channel.
Amazon says it will give at least 30 days notice before the early access period ends. You can check out all of the games announced for Luna+ below. Some are more recent, while others have been available for years:
Luna+ Early Access Game Library:
- Resident Evil 7
- Panzer Dragoon
- A Plague Tale: Innocence
- The Surge 2
- Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Amazon Luna Plus Twitch
Amazon is also leveraging its ownership of Twitch. The Luna interface will show Twitch streams for games that are supported in the service, and players can launch into games right from the Twitch. This is similar to the functionality that Google has promised is coming to Stadia and YouTube.
The Twitch functionality with a competing service could also explain why, after closing Mixer, Microsoft has partnered with Facebook Gaming instead of Twitch.
Amazon Luna Hardware
Amazon Luna is a cloud gaming service that's meant to take advantage of the devices you already own, so Amazon isn't producing dedicated hardware for it--with one notable exception. The Amazon Luna Controller is an Alexa-enabled controller that connects directly to the cloud service for a lower-latency experience, similar to the Google Stadia controller. And since it's connected directly to the service instead of the app, you can switch screens easily without changing your controller sync. It will be available for $50 during the early access period. This is quite a bit cheaper than some other modern controllers, including the PS5's $70 DualSense. As you can see, the design is similar to a Nintnendo Switch Pro controller. However, there is a microphone button in the middle and the X/Y and A/B buttons are swapped to match the Xbox configuration. We'll have to wait and see if it's up to par.
You can also play with any regular Bluetooth game controller, or with a keyboard and mouse. It's a similar setup to that of Google Stadia, which also offers a unique controller but supporters other brands' versions.
Luna Device Compatibility:
- PC (requires Windows 10 with support for DirectX 11)
- Mac (OSX 10.13+)
- FireTV devices (Fire TV Stick - 2nd gen, Fire TV Stick 4K, or Fire TV Cube - 2nd gen)
- Chrome web browser (version 83+) for PC and Mac
- Safari web browser (iOS14) for iPhone and iPad
Early Access Sign-Ups
You can request an early access invitation now through the official site. Amazon recommends a 5Ghz wifi connection for the best experience, though it supports both. It also says users can expect to consume up to 10GB per hour at 1080p resolution.
The early access members will also be invited to give feedback to influence the service going forward. The company has not announced when invites will begin to arrive or when it expects to launch the full version of the service.
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