Amazon is getting into cloud gaming. Its upcoming service Luna will let you stream games over the internet to your TV, PC or mobile device, much like Google Stadia and Xbox Game Streaming.
Luna is powered by AWS (Amazon Web Services), which is one of the world's largest cloud platforms. Like Microsoft and Google, Amazon wants to leverage its in-house technology, products, and services to get into cloud gaming.
Luna will be available on select Fire TV devices, PC, Mac as well as web apps for iPhone/iPad. Android support is coming later. Why 'web apps', you may wonder? Apple and Microsoft are already fighting over access to Xbox Game Streaming on iOS.
– "We created Luna to make it easy to play great games on the devices customers already own and love," said Marc Whitten, VP of Amazon EDS. "It’s Day One for Luna—we are excited to work with gamers, streamers, and publishers like Ubisoft and Remedy Entertainment to build a great gaming experience for everyone."
Luna will support game streaming in up to 4K60 for select games and up to two simultaneous streams.
Twitch integration, Luna controller
Because games are being streamed over the internet, you can jump right in – no downloads or game installs required.
The company said that you will even be able to instantly start supported games from Twitch, which Amazon owns. There will also be Twitch integration inside the Luna app to let you watch other gamers play games.
Gamers can play with keyboard and mouse, a Bluetooth game controller (including Xbox One controller and DualShock 4), or the company's new $50 Luna Controller that connects directly to the cloud rather than via Bluetooth. That is similar to Google's Stadia Controller and Amazon says that its own testing has found it to reduce latency by 17-30ms compared to a Bluetooth controller. It also lets users switch seamlessly between screens without having to pair or connect the controller.
Games and Luna+
Consumers in the US can request access to Luna now. There is no word on when Luna will open to the public but during early access a Luna+ subscription plan will cost $6 per month.
Luna+ will include action games like Resident Evil 7, Control, and Panzer Dragoon; adventure games like A Plague Tale: Innocence and The Surge 2; platformers like Yooka-Laylee, The Impossible Lair, and Iconoclasts; and other games like GRID, ABZU and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
In addition, a partnership with game studio Ubisoft will bring a separate Ubisoft subscription plan to Luna. It will give users access to stream existing Ubisoft titles in up to 4K resolution plus new titles like Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising the same day they release. The monthly price was not disclosed.
– "We're proud to be working alongside Amazon on Luna, utilizing the power of cloud gaming to provide our players with another way to access our games, wherever they are," said Chris Early, SVP of Partnerships and Revenue, Ubisoft. "Ubisoft's channel on Luna will allow players to experience our new releases along with many of our catalog games, while enjoying player-friendly features like Alexa and Twitch integrations."
Amazon stressed that the partnership with Ubisoft is the "first of multiple Luna game channels in development". The company has seen success with offering video streaming services as individual channels on Fire TV and it hopes that a similar concept will work for game bundles.
Amazon Luna has been rumored (codenamed Tempo) since last year but the big announcement still came as a surprise. Amazon now looks like a serious contender in the space through integration with Fire TV, AWS, and Twitch. And at $6 per month, provided that this is the final price, it looks more competitive than Google's $10/month plan that includes only a couple of games.
With Amazon Luna, PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Streaming, Google Stadia, and others, cloud gaming is shaping up to be a major battleground in the coming years.
Gamers in the US can request early access to Luna via amazon.com/Luna. The service will open to the public later.