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Amazon Luna: Everything you need to know about Amazon's cloud gaming service
Cloud gaming might still be in its infancy, but major companies aren’t shying away from investing early in the future of gaming. Amazon Luna is the latest platform to join the fray, and with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Twitch behind it, Luna could very well take the cloud gaming crown.
After over a year of rumors, Luna was officially announced in September of 2020. In March 2022, after a long invite-only testing period, the service officially went live for anyone in the US to check out. If you want to sign up for Amazon Luna, you can do so at the link below.
What is Amazon Luna?
Amazon Luna is a cloud gaming platform powered by Amazon’s ubiquitous cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services (AWS). Like other cloud gaming platforms, it allows consumers to stream games instantly to a number of devices. This eliminates the need for downloads, updates, or even local storage, but requires a high-speed internet connection.
Like Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming platform, Luna includes a Netflix-of-games style catalog of games under a monthly subscription fee as part of Luna Plus. And like Amazon Prime Video, it also offers channels that unlock more content from a specific publisher for an extra monthly fee. Currently, there are five paid channels to check out.
Although Amazon Luna doesn’t require any specific hardware, the company released a dedicated controller for the service. Similar to a Google Stadia controller, it has a built-in Wi-Fi receiver to eliminate the middleman and reduce input latency. In online games where a few milliseconds are the difference between life and death, it’s a worthwhile purchase.
Unlike other cloud gaming services, Luna offers a kind of couch co-op experience in the cloud called Luna Couch. As long as the host is a paying subscriber, non-paying players are able to join their game and play along.
Is Amazon Luna worth it?
Since it just launched, it’s hard to say whether or not Amazon Luna is worth it at the moment. While it does look to be an attractive alternative to Xbox Cloud Gaming or Google Stadia, there are still a lot of unknowns that might give gamers pause.
Chief among those concerns is price. While the service was certainly worth the low $5.99 price tag at launch, Amazon has since nearly doubled the price to $9.99 a month for Luna Plus. However, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can check out a few of the games on the service for no additional cost.
The service does perform similarly to its competitors. Casual gamers with a solid internet connection may not notice they aren’t playing on a local machine (at least until the connection temporarily hiccups). Leveraging Amazon’s enormous AWS infrastructure has really paid off in that regard.
Ultimately, whether or not Amazon Luna is worth it depends on you. If you want a taste of the future, it’s absolutely a respectable alternative to Xbox Cloud Gaming or Google Stadia. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend it over either service, but since it’s a simple subscription you can try and cancel at any time.
Amazon Luna Plus costs $9.99 a month for new subscribers as of April 1.
Internet requirements and data usage
One nice thing about Amazon Luna is that it offers a variety of streaming options to cater to different speeds. Amazon recommends speeds of at least 10Mbps for 1080p streaming, or 35Mbps for 4K when it becomes available.
Data caps are also a concern for many customers and can lead to reduced speeds or a shockingly high bill at the end of the month. Gaming at 1080p can consume upwards of 10GB per hour, so use discretion if you don’t have an unlimited plan.
Thankfully, Amazon Luna has implemented an option to cap stream quality at 720p. This should alleviate data consumption woes faced by other cloud gaming services.
Currently, Luna supports Fire TV, PC, Mac, Android phones, iPhones, and iPads via web apps. PC and Mac users can access the platform either via the Chrome browser or the standalone application.
In December 2020, Amazon Luna added support for Android smartphones. They must be running on Android 9 or higher, and access the service on the Chrome web browser version 86 or above, with a download speed of at least 10Mbps.
Play games with your phone as a controller
If you have an Amazon Fire TV-based device or smart TV, you can download the Luna Controller app for iOS and Android, and use that app as a touch controller for gaming on your big screen TV. This controller app is mainly for casual games that don’t need a real physical controller.
In addition to Luna, Amazon also owns the popular Twitch streaming service, which is mostly for “Let’s Play” live gaming streams. Amazon Luna subscribers on their PC, Mac, or Amazon Fire tablets, and a webcam, can click on a broadcast button in the user interface to go live with their stream. Viewers can also see you with a camera feed that’s placed on top of the gameplay video stream. You can also go live on Twitch if you have a Fire TV smart television, and your smartphone can serve as your camera and microphone when you scan a QR code that’s placed on the screen.
How much is Amazon Luna?
Amazon Luna doesn’t have a single price, and is instead broken into several libraries, called channels. Currently there are six different channels available. Here’s a look at all of them:
- Luna Plus — This is the main gaming channel for the service. It launched at a founder’s price of $5.99 a month, which remains the price for subscribers who maintain their subscription. However, it jumped up to $9.99 a month for new subscribers after April 1. This subscription includes unlimited access to a growing catalog of games and 1080p/60fps streaming on two devices simultaneously. 4K quality was previously listed as “coming soon” but the service has since backtracked and instead will focus on other improvements.
- Prime Gaming — Amazon Prime subscribers can access a select number of Luna games for free, which is certainly a nice additional perk for being a member.
- Ubisoft Plus — This channel features games developed and/or published by Ubisoft and includes both classic and its most recent games. It costs $17.99 per month. It includes the same 1080p/60 quality and unlimited gameplay, but only for one device. However, it features the ultimate edition of each game, with all DLC unlocked for certain titles. If you already pay for Ubisoft Plus on another platform, you can connect your Ubisoft account to access the Amazon Luna channel at no additional charge.
- Family Channel — This channel costs $2.99 a month until April 1, when the price goes up to $5.99 a month. As with the main Luna Plus channel, you can lock in that $2.99 a month fee for the Family channel of games until March 31, and keep it for as long as you are subscribed. It features, as you might guess, a number of games for kids and their parents to play together.
- Retro Channel — This features a number of old-school gaming titles and it costs $4.99 a month.
- Jackbox Games — This channel features the many casual trivia games made by the Jackbox Games publisher. You can get it for $4.99 a month.
The Amazon Luna controller
If you want to get the most out of a Luna subscription, you’ll also want to pick up an Amazon Luna controller. Amazon claims that using the official controller can reduce latency by 17 to 30 milliseconds when compared to standard Bluetooth controllers, which is huge for competitive multiplayer titles.
It does this by connecting directly to Amazon’s servers with a built-in Wi-Fi receiver with support for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks. This removes the middleman of your local PC or streaming device for inputs. Wired gameplay is also available with a USB-C cable, which unfortunately isn’t included in the box.
The Amazon Luna controller is similar to an Xbox controller, but with built-in Wi-Fi for reduced latency.
As for the controller’s design, it closely matches the layout of the hugely popular Xbox controller. It features a textured grip and the standard layout: four action buttons, two offset joysticks, a d-pad, two bumpers, and two triggers. There are also four buttons in the center for home, action, menu, and microphone control. On the bottom of the controller, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio.
The controller is powered by two replaceable AA batteries, which are included in the box. You need to use the Luna Controller mobile app to set it up, but once completed, you can switch between devices with ease.
The Amazon Luna controller normally costs $69.99 on its own, or $82.98 when bundled with a phone clip. However, for a limited time you can get the controller for just $49.99 a month. You can also get the controller bundled with a Fire TV 4K stick for $119.98. Click the button below to learn more.
Amazon Luna games
An Amazon Luna subscription includes unlimited access to roughly 120 games from a variety of publishers. The list isn’t as impressive as Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming catalog, but it’s a solid start. The games are running on Windows machines, so theoretically it should be easier to add games to Luna than Stadia, which requires developers to port their games to a Linux-based platform.
However, these games cannot be purchased individually and require a persistent subscription to play. Games may also be removed from the service as time goes on, removing access for even paying subscribers. In this regard it’s similar to Xbox Game Pass, but without the option to buy a game once it’s removed.
Although you can get more games by subscribing to more channels, the base subscription to Amazon Luna Plus includes a wide variety of games. Here’s the full list of Amazon Luna Plus games.
- Devil May Cry 5
- Sonic Mania
- Team Sonic Racing
- Saints Row The Third Remasters
- Metro Exodus
- Resident Evil Biohazard Gold Edition
- Dirt 5
- Dirt Rally 2.0
- Observer System Redux
- Control Ultimate Edition
- Super Mega Baseball 3
- Star Wars Pinball
- Moving Out
- Kingdom Come Deliverance
- Yakuza Zero
- Yakuza Like a Dragon
- Hokko Life
- The Medium
- Ride 4
- Infinite Mini Golf
- Alien Isolation
- Enter the Gungeon
- Tennis World Tour 2
- BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle
- Tow Point Hospital
- A Plague Tale Innocent
- Mortal Shell
- Contrall Anniversary Collection
- Yooka-Laylee And the Impossible Lair
- River City Girls
- Megaman 11
- The Wonderful 101 Remastered
- Valkria Chronicles 4
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- Monster Boy
- Katamari Damacy Reroll
- Under Night N-Birth
- The Surge 2
- Bug Fables
- The Surge
- Castlevania Collection
- Trails of Cold Steel IV
- Call of the Sea
- Hard Reset Redux
- Steamworld Dig 2
- Victor Vran
- Lumines Remastered
- Cook Serve Delicious
- Trail of Cold Steel III
- Ghost of a Tale
- Epic Chef
- Switch Force Collection
- Amnesia Rebirth
- Katana Zero
- Killer Queen Black
- Blazing Chrome
- No More Heroes 2
- Shadow Tactics 2
- Tokus Island Express
- R-Type Dimensions EX
- Bridge Construction The Walking Dead
- Paper Beast Folded Edtion
- Shanrae Genie Hero
- Steamworld Dig
- The Pillars of the Earth
- Rezoo Infinite
- The Falconeer
- The Mummy Demastered
- No More Heroes
- Panzer Dragoon
- Dice Legacy
- Edna and Harvey
- Disc Room
- SteamWorld Quest
- Shantae Risky Revenge
- Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
- Edna and Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes
- Thimbleweed Park
- Marita Boy
- Steamworld Heist
- The Sexy Brutale
- Deponia Doomsday
This list will expand over time, and you can gain access to more games by subscribing to more channels. For example, you can also access nearly the entire Ubisoft catalog via the Ubisoft Plus channel.
Amazon is also developing first-party games under Amazon Game Studios. The studio’s first major title, a battle royale game called Crucible, had a disastrous launch and was ultimately put back into development before being canceled. The second title, an MMO called New World, managed to gain a lot of traction in the November 2021 early access period, but it’s not yet available on Amazon Luna. It is, however, included in GeForce Now.
What is the Amazon Luna release date?
Amazon Luna officially launched on March 1, 2022.
Where is it available?
Amazon Luna is currently only available in the continental United States. You can sign up for the service at the link below.
How does it stack up against alternatives?
Amazon Luna is poised to take on the likes of Xbox Cloud Gaming, GeForce Now, and Google Stadia. Although it’s still too early for a definitive take on which is best, there are some key similarities and differences to take note of.
Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly Project xCloud) is the service that’s most similar to Luna. It also has a library of games locked behind a single subscription fee, but the games are a step above Luna’s offerings. They include all of Microsoft’s first-party titles from popular franchises like Halo and Gears of War. However, cloud support is currently limited to 720p quality and doesn’t include games you’ve purchased. It also costs more than twice as much at $14.99 a month.
GeForce Now is more of a virtual machine service than a true cloud gaming platform, but it offers many of the same benefits. It allows you to play your existing game library from Steam or other stores on a powerful machine in the cloud. The free plan is limited to game sessions of just one hour, but the Priority plan bumps that up to $9.99 a month. There’s also an upcoming RTX plan that includes access to RTX 3080 GPUs, costing $100 for six months. Just keep in mind that you will need to buy all of your games separately, and not all games will work with the service.
Google Stadia is the only cloud gaming platform that doesn’t require a persistent subscription. You can pick and buy just the games you want and play them at any time at 1080p/60fps. You can also bump that up to 4K quality with Stadia Pro, which costs $9.99 a month and includes a decent catalog of games to play as long as you remain subscribed. However, the service closed its first-party Stadia game studios, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for future investment from the company.
Yes. Like Kindle devices, Amazon Luna displays advertisements while connecting to a game. However, they do not appear while the game is loading or during gameplay.
Yes. Amazon has over 100 games for the base Amazon Luna Plus subscription, plus many more with add-on channels like Ubisoft Plus.
Project Tempo was the codename for Amazon Luna while it was in development. Now that it’s been officially revealed, the codename has been dropped.
No, Amazon Luna is currently only available for early access in the US. We’ll update this article as soon as global availability expands.
While the main service is available separately from Amazon Prime, those members can check out a small selection of Luna games for no additional cost.