Amazon has unveiled its cloud-based gaming service, Luna, which has been long-since rumoured but only just come to pass. The unveiling comes as gaming giants make the same leap to cloud-based gaming, i.e. Microsoft with Project xCloud, following in the footsteps of Google Stadia.
Luna is coming to Fire TV, PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android and ushers in an offering of a growing list of titles that you can play immediately on any screen you have available up to a maximum of 1080p at 60fps, without the hassle of downloading, installing or updating. Amazon has even done okay with the branding, using almost the same classic SkyPunk colour palette.
Luna's Early Access appetiser sits at a measly $5.99/month and aims to trial the service to see what traction it gains in the gaming community, and apparently, is invite-only at present. With cloud-based gaming/streaming being earmarked as the future of personal gaming, it's not hard to envisage that this will be successful, but only if they manage to get some good titles on there and retain the community's intrigue. The Early Access will feature games from 'Ubisoft, Capcom, 505 Games, and Team 17' but will be an ever-growing list as per the norm and we can expect some bigger developers jumping on the bandwagon as time goes on.
Amazon has previously dipped its toes in the gaming pond with its streaming service Twitch, and Luna will mark the unification of the two, seeing a complete integration between them:
“Inside the Luna experience, players will see Twitch streams for games in the service, and from Twitch, they’ll be able to instantly start playing Luna games,”
Parallel to Luna, Amazon is also working on a dedicated Ubisoft version of the service where players will be able to stream-game on Ubisoft-specific Ultimate Edition titles.
As with anything, there is an auxiliary entity that Amazon will want to sell; its Luna Controller.
Here's what Amazon's selling points are (quoted on the Luna landing page):
Powered by Cloud Direct Technology (erm...what?)
Connects directly to Amazon's custom game servers when playing on Luna, reducing roundtrip latency by 17 - 30 milliseconds vs. a local Bluetooth connection among PC, Mac, and Fire TV (Oh okay, cool).
No pairing, just play
Luna Controller talks directly to the servers so no need for device setup.
Built for gaming
Features low-friction thumbstick, a comfortable textured grip, and wireless gameplay.
Alexa's got game
Press and ask Alexa to get your games faster. Try "Alexa, play GRID."
Sounding good? - head over to the Luna landing page and request an invite to the Early Access subscription of the service. Hopefully, this will push Amazon to master their attempts at making good games as well, and I predict that we'll see more from them in this regard in the near future.