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Amazon's Luna game streaming service takes on Google Stadia
Amazon didn’t just introduce hardware at its Alexa event — it also launched its own game streaming service. Luna is available in early access for the US mainland (you can request access today) and promises to challenge cloud gaming rivals like Google Stadia, GeForce Now, and Microsoft’s Game Pass Ultimate.
Like its competitors, Luna offers game streaming to a variety of devices, including Fire TV devices, Macs, and PCs as well as web apps for iPad and iPhone (Android is “coming soon”). You’ll even get to play games you see streaming on Twitch. The appeal is similar — this lets you play advanced games across platforms without having to wait for downloads or install updates.
Paid access is organized into channels. A Luna Plus channel ($6 per month during early access) offers a curated set of 50-plus games like Control, Metro Exodus, and Resident Evil 7. It also unlocks 1080p gameplay at 60 frames per second, with 4K on the way, and allows playing on two devices at a time. Over 100 games should be available by the end of early access. There will also be an Ubisoft channel (again with around 50 games) that only allows one device at a time, but offers ultimate editions for some titles with all their DLC ready to play. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be available on the channel when it launches.
You can use any Bluetooth controller or mouse and keyboard, but there’s also a Luna Controller (shown above) that connects directly to the cloud and promises to cut latency by as much as 30ms. The gamepad allows easy switching between devices without pairing and will cost $50 during the early access phase.
There’s no guarantee Luna will succeed. Stadia has improved significantly over its lifetime, but there’s little doubt that it isn’t as popular as classic console or mobile gaming. Game Pass Ultimate’s streaming, meanwhile, is too young for a definitive verdict.
Amazon’s approach to cloud gaming may shake things up, however. It’s providing guaranteed access to a significant selection of games from the start, and won’t have to deal with Apple’s game streaming limitations like Google or Microsoft. And while we wouldn’t count on the $6 per month price for Luna Plus holding outside of early access, it does undercut Stadia Pro and Game Pass Ultimate. The main obstacle is building up a compelling game library that’s worth the outlay.