Everything you need to know about Amazon Luna, a new cloud-gaming contender
Move over Google Stadia.
Google and Microsoft will need to step up their game now that Amazon has entered the crowded cloud gaming space with the Amazon Luna. On September 24, Amazon unveiled its upcoming cloud-based gaming platform, its unique take on subscriptions, and many of the games that we can expect to play on it.
Using AWS server technology and the cloud, Amazon Luna can stream games through an internet connection, just like Google Stadia and Microsoft's xCloud. It also stands out with its channel-subscription features, as users just have to pay to subscribe to certain services instead of buying individual games.
Will this finally give Amazon a clear way to succeed in the gaming market? Here's everything we know about the platform so far.
When is the Amazon Luna release date?
Instead of a full launch like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna is opting for an invite-only early access state for some time. If you're interested, sign-ups for Amazon Luna are already available on the platform's website. Early access started rolling out to those that signed up on October 20, 2020.
No specific date for the service's full launch was given, but the press release says the invite-only period makes it so "players will have the opportunity to contribute feedback that will inform future Luna features and development."
What kind of internet connection do I need to play Amazon Luna?
Amazon detailed the official internet requirements for Luna on the official website. A 10 Mbps internet connection is required to stream games well, though Amazon recommends speeds of 35 Mbps if you want to try games in 4K.
Luna is also estimated to use "10 GB/hr at 1080p," so keep that in mind if you do have data caps. It will also work at both 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz, though Amazon recommends 5 GHz.
What games will be on Amazon Luna?
When it's in early access, players can try over 70 games with an Amazon Luna subscription. Amazon highlighted major partners like WayForward, 505 Games, and Team17. It's most indie and AA games, but a few AAA titles like Resident Evil 7 and Control also make the cut.
Amazon gave the full list of games that will be available in early access to Digital Trends:
- Hard Reset Redux
- Atomik: RunGunJumpGun
- The Surge
- The Surge 2
- Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- SteamWorld Dig
- SteamWorld Dig 2
- SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition
- SteamWorld Quest
- Shantae: Risky’s Revenge – Director’s Cut
- Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
- Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – Ultimate Edition
- Mighty Switch Force! Collection
- The Mummy Demastered
- River City Girls
- Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair
- Yoku’s Island Express
- Redout: Solar Challenge Edition
- Rez Infinite
- Lumines Remastered
- Metro Exodus
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III
- Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
- Wonder Boy: The Dragon Trap
- Sonic Mania Plus
- AO Tennis 2
- The Sexy Brutale
- Star Wars Pinball
- Infinite Minigolf
- Shadow Tactics
- Edna & Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition
- Deponia Doomsday
- Ghost of a Tale
- Victor Vran: Overkill Edition
- R-Type Dimensions EX
- Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes
- Super Mega Baseball 3
- A Plague Tale: Innocence
- Castlevania Anniversary Collection
- Panzer Dragoon Remake
- Overcooked! 2
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
- Paper Beast
- Blazing Chrome
- Tennis World Tour 2
- DiRT Rally 2.0
- Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!
- Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]
- Contra Anniversary Collection
- Resident Evil 7
- Sythentik: Legion Rising
- Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth
- Thimbleweed Park
- Goodbye Deponia
With the Ubisoft channel, games like Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising are also come to Amazon Luna later this year. The library will also grow over time, and depending on its success we could see more developers bring their games to the service.
Will Amazon Luna have exclusives? Do you have to buy games individually?
As of right now, Amazon Luna does not have any exclusive games that you can't play anywhere else. That said, Amazon does own three game development studios and is working on New World, a Lord of the Rings MMO, and many other unannounced projects, so it's very likely that Amazon Luna could eventually get some games of its own.
Unlike Google Stadia, you can't buy these games individually either. Whether you have the Luna+ or Ubsioft channel subscription, it's currently impossible to buy each game on Amazon Luna individually. As such, its approach to cloud gaming is much more similar to Xbox Game Pass and xCloud than Goolge Stadia.
What channels will Amazon Luna have?
When it's in early access, Amazon Luna users will have to subscribe to Luna+ for $5.99 a month or the Ubisoft channel for a currently undisclosed price. Luna+ comes with 1080p/60 FPS gaming as, with 4K planned for the future. It also includes the aforementioned list of games, and it can be streamed on two devices at once. The Ubisoft channel is mostly similar, though it can only play Ubisoft games and is limited to just one device at a time.
Digital Trends also reports that users aren't required to subscribe to both channels, so if you just care about playing Far Cry 6 and Immortals Fenyx Rising day one you don't have to also pay for the other 72 games on Luna+. Amazon has confirmed that multiple Luna channels are in development, both for specific publishers and certain genres.
What devices does Amazon Luna work on?
At launch, Amazon Luna will work on PC, Amazon Fire TV, Mac, and iOS. While Google Stadia and xCloud are struggling to get on Apple devices, Amazon is circumventing the issue by making Amazon Luna web-based on Apple platforms instead of going through the app store. An Android version of Amazon Luna is also in development, but it is simply labeled as "coming soon" after the platform's launch.
What does the Amazon Luna controller look like?
The Amazon Luna does feature its own proprietary purple controller. It looks quite similar to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and Xbox One controller, but that's not a bad thing as those are some of the best controllers on the market. According to Amazon, Luna's controller is built with "Cloud Direct" technology that decreases the latency of inputs.
This tech even allows the controller to switch devices without having to reconfigure. The controller will cost $49.99 and will only be available to those that get an invitation to try Amazon Luna. It will also support Amazon Alexa, though this feature hasn't been delved into much yet.
What do analysts think of Amazon Luna so far?
Analysts are looking upon the service more favorably than Google Stadia. George Jijiashvilli, a Senior Analyst for games at Omedia, told Inverse that "Amazon has many strengths suited for cloud gaming." Still, they pointed out that "this does not guarantee success" because AWS "is only one dimension of the final offering, and the emerging features, content, Twitch integration, and monetization models will determine the uptake of the service.”
NPD Analyst Mat Piscatella also commented on the service on Twitter, saying that including every game in one subscription was the "right way to go" for Luna. He did point out some of the struggles Luna could run into, including "poor US internet infrastructure and expensive ISP plans and/or data caps."
Amazon Luna is entering invite-only early access on a rolling basis this year.