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.

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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
  • Control
  • Panzer Dragoon
  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • The Surge 2
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
  • Iconoclasts
  • GRID
  • ABZU
  • 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.

No Caption Provided

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.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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freedom01

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Edited By freedom01  Moderator

yeah....I see this ending up like the Stadia

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Kim_Jong-un

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Well, well, weel, Bezos thug make another cloud failure everyone soon forget - Kim

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Pupchu

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@kim_jong-un: where have you been, o'great leader?

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Thanatos2k

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God, more of this crap. More millions thrown down the drain by another company trying to break into a market that no one wants.

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wolfpup7

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@Thanatos2k: if the economics somehow worked out to do a cheap game rental service this way...and maybe they can because PlayStation now is $5/month and includes lots of streaming, but to me it doesn’t make sense for anything but a Netflix style rental system.

And that’s assuming I could get used to the input lag.

And this Amazon service would chew through my monthly internet using it way less than I use my systems now, and at 1080p, not 4K.

If the regular price was $5-$6 and it was a rental service, then maaaaybe.

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Thanatos2k

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@wolfpup7: I mean, you need only to look at Amazon's other streaming services and their spotty licensing agreements and libraries that change with the seasons to know this would be just as worthless.

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nintendians

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Edited By nintendians

i guess cloud gaming is became a thing then.

but still want to buy games and own them, physically.

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Pupchu

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Tuna

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ssdd_again

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I want Amazon and Google to fail as hard in the gaming industry as the next gamer but let's face it; stupid people will help them succeed.

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Pyrosa

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...Drunk New Jersey guy shows up late to the wedding...

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CJ_Topspin

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If indie developers continue doing what they have always been doing, hopefully it won't matter. There will always be the Romero's and Carmack's of the world looking to build and release the next Doom.

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gotrekfabian

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Edited By gotrekfabian

This likely won't be successful in the near future but, let's face it, streaming services are definitely the future of gaming. If Amazon can couple this with their other services (1 day delivery, video streaming, Twitch Prime, purchase discounts) then they really could be onto a winner. Of course, they'll need to offer desirable games and not games as a service to prey upon people with microtransactions which gamers will balk at but currently this seems like a good direction for Amazon to be taking.

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wolfpup7

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@gotrekfabian: I don’t know that they are. I don’t know that the economics work out, I don’t know that the tech is even possible what with tons of extra input lag. Then too they require a ton of expensive internet. I Wouldn’t be able to play as much as I wanted without spending another $50/month.

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gotrekfabian

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@wolfpup7: $50? I'm guessing that you have a datacap?

I have 200Mb down/20Mb up broadband and streaming is fine with that on current services although there are, of course, occasional stutters but that is likely more at the server end than an issue caused by my broadband. This makes online gaming an absolute no, no but with the inevitable tweaks that will occur in the future to technology and the internet itself, game streaming will happen. It is as inevitable as the change from ROM cartridges to discs was back in the mid to late 90's

It may not be what we want right now but it is impossible to halt progress.

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Pyrosa

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@gotrekfabian: No one on the planet understands how to play "loss leader" like Bezos.

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gotrekfabian

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@Pyrosa: With a net worth of about 175 billion he can afford to do a little loss leader now and then. In business it's always been speculate to accumulate and with Google and Microsoft entering the game streaming service industry he'd be foolish not to try and take a piece of that action.

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P00DGE

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Honestly, 30 years from now... it won't be Microsoft and Sony leading the gaming industry. 30 years ago, nobody would have imagined those 2 being what they are today. Google and Amazon have a real chance at being the industry leaders in the future. And streaming is probably that future, but the tech just isn't there yet. At least, not widespread.

Anyway, I like that this controller is simple and straightforward. It looks comfortable to hold too. That is a good start.

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Pyrosa

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@P00DGE: You understand that Azure is the 2nd biggest public cloud, right?

I.e., you're half-right.

Amazon (or maybe Google) will straight-up BUY Sony's whole gaming division when the time is right.

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xNSHD

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@P00DGE: not gonna happen if anyone will win the streaming race it will be microsoft since they actually have a good business model with a one time payment per month instead of making you buy games in full (stadia) or paying for multiple different subscriptions to access all the games on the service (luna) amazon and google will soon get bored when these experiments fail and they will back out of the games industry all together.

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Gaijin

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Edited By Gaijin

In future news amazon shuts down the Luna gaming service joining several other companies in failure.

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bookfan8780

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I won't be trying this service until Xfinity removes the bandwidth cap on cable internet in my area. I'm capped at 1200 GB per month or I pay $10/50 GB after that cap. You might think that's a lot, but between working from home, kids streaming, me and my wife streaming and me downloading big games, not to mention playing online MMOs occasionally, I hit that cap when I'm 2/3 of the way through the month on average.

So I'm certainly not going to do Stadia or Luna or even xCloud if it requires streaming from the cloud. That's just asking for my cap to be reached sooner and cost me money.

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Bamda

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@bookfan8780: My Xfinity cap is at 1TB and I hit it often.

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Pyrosa

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@bookfan8780: Comcast and Verizon are on the wrong side of history on this one.

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xNSHD

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@bookfan8780: you would need to use a hell of alot of streaming to get through 1.2TB of data dude. hell im constantly downloading and online pretty much 8 hours a day and at most i normally use 1TB.

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wolfpup7

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@xnshd: that’s only playing 4 hours a day at 1080p (not 4K), and doing NOTHING else with the connection the entire month.

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xNSHD

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@wolfpup7: most people really wouldnt be playing 4 hours a day though if they have outside commitments. honestly thats part of why streaming is just dead on arrival pair that with they only have games that are years old and anyone who wants to play them would have already played them. thats why luna will die on its arse the moment it is released.

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Jega

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Price point?

Will you need to pay sub fee + pay for the games?

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wolfpup7

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@jega: probably. I’d guess it’ll be similar to stadia, and kind of a rip off.

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thenephariouson

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Edited By thenephariouson

The controller layout looks mighty familiar....

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Naydazng7

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@thenephariouson: if they let you reuse to fire controllers I would try it out bought several for $15

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SystemOverload

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So how well is Amazon Game Studios doing? Not many video games developed in the past decade...

Amazon spending more money into the video game industry for their cut of the pie paying off?

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wolfpup7

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@systemoverload: I’ve played like 2...did they ever do anything else?

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so_hai

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No two words evoke a feeling of excitement and quality more than "cloud gaming".

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Soulcrusher777

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No surprise. Amazon wants to own the world. Lol.......it won't do good at all. Too much excitement between Nintendo, X box, and PS 5. Stadia was even a dud!

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joalopes

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Edited By joalopes

As I already expected. The future where you you pay and never own anything.

I have Game Pass. I know where Microsoft is going and now is the cheapest time to get it.

If they expand quickly and gain momentum they will raise prices and people will stay anyway because that's what people do.

This is Microsoft and monetization is at their core. From Xbox Live to Office Subscription.

But this is going to be so bad for gamers. It's going to further fragment the market.

You're going to have games that you want to play but they'll only be available on this or that service.

NVIDIA is going to do well and remain popular in the long run because they'll be the cloud for online stores that don't won't to build their own infrastructure. Steam, EA, UbiSoft , GOG and others have a good option here.

It gives companies leverage against big cloud providers like Microsoft Azure, AWS so they are not locked.

And for NVIDIA this is good because it keeps their hardware relevant.

But we consumers have another option that is much better then cloud providers in the long run.

It's be your own cloud. It's PS4 remote play, Xbox streaming or NVIDIA gamestream.

If many customers prefer this , content will have to be available on more open platforms.

By the way. Because we usually go for instant gratification instead of long term gains , we are screwed.

Cloud gaming services are going to take over. And you will likely pay several subscriptions to access the games you like. You will "feel" that you are getting value but when you sum up the costs over the years you'll see that you are paying more than you did when you actually owned the games and comsole.

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deactivated-60368fd7c2c18

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Out of all the names in all of the world, they went with a name Vegan Astrologists would give their beautiful non-binary female child.

They own TWITCH. You're telling me that no one in that meeting said "Hey, how about expanding the Twitch brand"?

Amazon Luna. I don't know if I want to play games or check my horoscope.

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wolfpup7

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@tlpina: I don’t know, I like the name better than twitch, and don’t have any positive connotations with twitch in my mind.

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Gallowhand

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Edited By Gallowhand

@tlpina: More disturbingly, does this mean users of the service will become Luna-tics? ;P

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gotrekfabian

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@Gallowhand: Well, it's way past the time I expected us to be found out anyway.

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JustTheTip

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Yeah. Good luck with this. Cloud gaming is still at least 5-10 years away from really becoming a thing. Especially if the PS5 and the Series X are huge hits, which, duh. No one is going to care about this with those systems on the market. For every one person who wants cloud gaming, there are a hundred who won’t bother with it.

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P00DGE

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@justthetip: 25 years ago, no one expected a Sony console to take the world by storm. Nintendo and Sega were the only conceivable companies to make game hardware. Game company mixups happened once, it could happen again.

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YukoAsho

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@P00DGE: For every PlayStation, though, there are at least four 3DOs.

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SkyHighGam3r

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xCloud is an extension of Xbox - a bonus for your library of games.
PS Now is like that, but nowhere near as robust. lol good luck streaming to your phone right now.
Nintendo... just take it with you.

I'm not sure who Luna and Stadia are for.

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Crazy_sahara

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Edited By Crazy_sahara

Jeff bezos isn't happy, seems he's lumberyard isn't doing him justice, after what recently transpired.

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dmblum1799

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Another service for games I already own, some of them on 2 platforms.

It reminds of the fight scene in Anchorman 2:

Paul Rudd: "I can't believe there's so much news!"

Ron: "It's true, the market is getting saturated."

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