Amazon announce Luna, a new cloud gaming service to take on Stadia and Xbox Game Pass

Amazon Luna is a new cloud gaming service from the tech giant, coming soon to PC, Mac, Fire TV and iPhone and iPad (via web apps), with an Android release planned for later on. To start with it will only be available in the US and by invitation only, but expect it to branch out to the rest of the world as soon as Amazon can.

More in line with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, it’s based of a subscription model, instead of Google Stadia’s model where you buy each game. However, what’s interesting is that they are angling to have gaming “channels”. The main one will be Amazon’s own, Luna+, which offers over 100 games for an introductory monthly price of $5.99. They also mention a Ubisoft channel coming in the future, allowing for other companies to come in and set up shop as well.

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Games will be streamed at 1080p as standard, with 4K60fps coming soon for select titles – initially it’ll target Control, Panzer Dragoon, A Plague Tale: Innocence, The Surge 2, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Layer, GRID, Resident Evil 7, Abzu, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Interestingly Luna+ will let you stream at 1080p to two devices at once, while Ubisoft’s channel will only allow one stream at a time.

Following in Google’s footsteps is the Luna Controller, which connects directly to Amazon’s cloud, shaving the input lag from 57ms to 30 ms. However, you can play with an Xbox One Controller, DualShock 4 or just use mouse and keyboard.

Honestly it was only a matter of time before Amazon turned its eyes to cloud gaming. Microsoft and Google have both entered the arena with their sprawling cloud computing set ups, leveraging their network server farms around the world, but while Amazon is most famous for being a global online retailer, their subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS) is actually the dominant cloud computing platform. Oh, and a big part of their network is dedicated to game streaming platform Twitch, with Luna poised to tap into this connection and lure stream watchers to play games via Amazon’s service.

Will they be successful? Well, they certainly have a cannier business model compared to Google Stadia, which hasn’t captured imaginations with its business model, and Luna is also able to reach iOS and iPad where Google and Microsoft have both stuttered. They’re doing this by way of a web app that run in a basic web browser, skirting past the restrictions that the iOS App Store places on streaming services. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft and Google follow suit in the next few months, as both have been angling to get dedicated apps and the home screen presence they have through Apple’s stubborn rules.

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6 Comments

  1. It seems everyone wants to get into the game streaming business right now but I’m staying old school with a physical console next to my TV for the foreseeable future. But I do like the way AWS is providing F1 viewers with a lot more info during races.

    • “Info”

      • Stuff like driver X will catch driver Y in Z number of laps, percentage of tyre life left etc.

      • I’m being a bit facetious and they are seemingly getting more accurate with it, but there’s no denying that a lot of the time the stats they put on screen are dubious at best. It can really feel pretty lazy at times.

  2. Whatever happened to OnLive? I was very dubious about the idea but now feel terrible for them, they are the fallen pioneers.

    • Sony bought what was left of them 5 years ago and shut them down. I suspect the only thing worth buying at that point was some patents. They’d already been sold 3 years earlier for just $5m, so by that point it was probably easier for everyone involved to just buy them rather than have some tiny company going up against Sony over those patents. That’d just have been embarrassing for everyone.

      Sony have also got a bunch of stuff from buying Gaikai as well. Probably means if you’re not Amazon, or Google or MS, you can’t launch a streaming game service without risk of Sony’s legal people coming after you. Amazon/Google/MS/Sony can afford enough lawyers and have enough patents that the situation there is probably more “You’re infringing on our patents, but we’re doing the same to you, so nobody piss anyone off too much. Maybe we can all license things and shift some money around. Probably good for tax reasons”

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