Amazon has launched its own cloud-based gaming system, Amazon Luna, taking on Google Stadia and Xbox Game Streaming. Based around a new, wireless Luna Controller that connects directly to the cloud, along with AWS and a partnership with Ubisoft, it promises instant play across Fire TV, computers, and smartphones, along with baked-in Twitch integration.
Certainly, cloud gaming has been big news in 2020, and has formed a centerpoint of at least one next-generation console. Xbox Series X and Series S will be tightly integrated with what used to be known as Xbox Project xCloud, Microsoft’s game streaming service that – for a single subscription – offers access to hundreds of games in the cloud.
Now Amazon is getting in on the action. Luna will use custom AWS game servers to bypass individual downloads and updates. It means you’ll be able to start playing much sooner, Amazon says, though you’ll also need a decent connection: 10 Mbps at least, or 35 Mbps if you want to play in 4K. Since latency is perhaps the biggest issue with cloud gaming services, Amazon took particular efforts to minimize that.
The Luna Controller has what Amazon is calling Cloud Direct technology It has a multiple-antenna design and links directly to AWS rather than pairing with a console or adapter in the home. That way, Amazon says, it can trim latency significantly: versus using Luna Controller with Bluetooth, it can cut 17-30 milliseconds among PC, Fire TV, and Mac.
It’s also easier to switch gaming between screens, since there’s no individual controller pairing to consider. Alexa support is built-in, and if you’d rather go old-school – or just not pay – there’s keyboard and mouse support for Luna, too, as well as compatibility with your Xbox One controller or PlayStation DualShock 4 controller.
As for the games, there Amazon has a variety of different titles to choose from the Luna+ game channel during the early access period. That includes “Resident Evil 7,” “Control,” “Panzer Dragoon,” “A Plague Tale: Innocence,” and “The Surge 2.” There’ll also be “Yooka-Laylee,” “The Impossible Lair and Iconoclasts,” “GRID,” “ABZU,” and “Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.”
Luna+ subscribers will also be able to play games on two devices simultaneously. Depending on game, there’ll be support for up to 4K/60fps video.
A deal with Ubisoft, meanwhile, brings the studio’s popular titles to Luna. Again, that includes up to 4K resolution, and availability on the same day as general release for new titles. That’ll include “Assassins Creed Valhalla,” “Far Cry 6,” and “Immortals Fenyx Rising,” Amazon says. “The Ubisoft channel will provide you access to play on one device at up to 4k resolution for select titles,” according to the company. Multiple other Luna publisher channels are expected to follow in due course.
As for Twitch, there’ll be embedded Twitch streams for games within Luna. Amazon is also adding the ability to start up a game that you’re watching a Twitch gamer play.
At launch, Luna will be available on Fire TV, PC, and Mac as well as on web apps for iPhone and iPad, with Android coming soon. Would-be gamers can request early access to Luna from today, with the service initially priced at $5.99 per month, while the Luna Controller will be $49.99 during the early access period.