Amazon is throwing its hat into next-gen gaming with Luna, a new streaming service. Here’s everything we know about Amazona’s latest venture.
The gaming industry can be an incredibly difficult market to get into for companies, but that won’t stop them from throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. In that spirit, Amazon has announced its new game streaming service, Amazon Luna.
Rumors about Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming began last year, with the project previously called “Tempo.” Amazon has not given a release date for the finished service but has opened up early access registration for US players, though they provided no information about availability in other countries. Luna will be available Mac, PC and Fire TV, as well as web apps for iPhone and iPad at launch, with Android support coming at a later date.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Much like Google Stadia, the focus is on being a streaming game subscription. Luna Plus will be offered at an introductory price of $5.99 per month during the early access period, with more titles to be added over time. Additionally, Luna Plus subscribers can play on two devices simultaneously, with support for resolutions of 4K/60fps for select titles planned.
Luna Plus already boasts an impressive library of over 100 games included at launch, including heavyweight Triple-A titles Resident Evil: Biohazard, Control and The Wonderful 101. Amazon also announced an included gaming channel included on Luna, which consists of a partnership with French publisher Ubisoft. Players who subscribe to this channel will have day-one access to upcoming Ubisoft titles such as Assassins Creed: Valhalla, Far Cry 6 and Immortals: Fenyx Rising.
Luna will be powered by AWS, a web platform of Amazon’s own design. While games can be played with a mouse and keyboard or a Bluetooth Controller, Amazon also announced the new Luna-Controller. The controller is reportedly Alexa-enabled and connects directly to cloud servers. This allows players to switch between screens, such as going seamlessly from a big-screen TV to a mobile phone, all without any configuration changes. The controller will be priced at $49.99 during the early access period.
To entice players, Luna is being packed with features. One of Luna’s main goals is to integrate it with the Amazon-owned Twitch streaming service, which has become a juggernaut in its own right in recent years. The plan is for Luna users to be able to not only watch Twitch streams inside the service but to be able to start playing Luna games from the Twitch stream instantly.
Of course, it’s an uphill battle for Luna. Even with Amazon’s clout and their ties to the Twitch brand, breaking into the gaming scene can prove challenging. Long-established companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo have remained at the top for decades and have begun populating their own streaming services. PlayStation has utilized the PlayStation Now service for some time, while Microsoft launched its xCloud gaming service as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
There’s also the faint memory of Google’s streaming service, Google Stadia. The system was met with mixed reviews after months of skepticism before launch, ranging from users not having high enough Internet bandwidth to a poorly realized game library. Hardware also appeared to be an issue, with platforms struggling to output reasonable FPS and facing lag issues. Even with top-notch games, Amazon will have to, at some point, contend with gamer’s perceptions of streaming services, as reinforced by Stadia’s rocky launch.
Amazon has been trying to venture into the gaming scene for some time. Twitch has become a significant part of their branding and has added significant perks with their Twitch Prime bundle. They’ve also been experimenting with creating new game IPs, but have been met with mixed success. Their most notable launch, the online shooter Crucible, did so poorly at launch that it was put back into closed beta until further notice. Suffice to say, Amazon’s push into the gaming industry is going to be an uphill battle.
Keep Reading: Could Sony & Microsoft Let You Turn Old Games into Digital Copies?
Bringing Spider-Man: Miles Morales to PS4 Is a Mistake