Luna, Amazon’s first game streaming service arena, is now officially available after a five-month invite-only period. Luna is launching with a library of over 100 games, and tight integration with Twitch, the world’s largest online game broadcasting platform. The service competes with Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming, Sony's PlayStation Now, and Nvidia's GeForce Now, and lets you play technically demanding games on a Fire Tablet, iOS devices, Android devices, PC, Mac, or TV (via an Amazon Fire TV Stick).
Amazon Luna allows you to play games that weren't developed to run on your device, or would be too resource-intensive to work well (if at all). Instead, you can control games running on a remote computer that's powerful enough to handle them. If you have a fast, stable internet connection, game streaming can work quite well and it enables you to pick up and play the same titles on all of your devices. Crucially, your game save will sync to the cloud, so you'll never lose any progress hopping between different devices. Game streaming is a great option for anyone who doesn't have the space for a dedicated game console, or has had trouble finding one due to the current global chip shortage.
Amazon is offering Luna streaming packages, Luna streaming packages, each of which includes access to a different assortment of games. These packages range from $2.99 per month for the "Family channel" to $17.99 per month for the "Ubisoft+ channel," which features premium titles like “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey”, “Far Cry 5”, “Watch Dogs 2”, and “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint”. Both the Luna+ and family channels are launching with "founder pricing" of $5.99 and $2.99 respectively; "founders" will lock in these lower rates once they get raised at a later date. Amazon has also cut the price of its Luna Game Controller, which was designed to sync with mobile devices or a Fire TV Stick and provide a more traditional experience, from $69.99 to $49.99. Many of these games offered as part of Luna's libraries were designed with controllers in mind, which can make playing them on a touch screen more difficult.
If you're curious about Luna — or game streaming in general — and subscribe to Amazon Prime, you'll be able to play a "rotating selection of games" for free. This is the latest Amazon Prime perk, and the Prime channel's current library consists of four titles: "PHOGS!," "Devil May Cry 5,” "Flashback,” and "Observer System Redux." For comparison, an Amazon Luna+ subscription currently offers access to 115 games.
If you're a Prime Member who acts quickly, you can use the free games to test whether your internet connection is fast enough for cloud gaming, then take advantage of Amazon's "founder pricing" to gain cheaper access to a larger library of titles. Amazon is also offering a free, seven-day trial to Luna to all channels for anyone who shops on Amazon, if you'd prefer to test more games under a time constraint.
One of the biggest advantages Amazon's Luna service has over its competition is its tight integration with Twitch.tv, the most popular gameplay-streaming platform. Amazon bought Twitch in 2014, and the site continues to grow, attracting millions of viewers every month. If you're playing a game on Luna, you can start streaming it to Twitch from a computer or Fire TV Stick in a few taps. Amazon has provided step-by-step instructions on how to do so. You can begin broadcasting to Twitch in one button press if you're using the Luna Controller.
Modern game consoles are all built for broadcasting gameplay online, but live streaming to Twitch requires paying monthly for a specialized service, or investing in a PC and capture card. These hurdles can be difficult to climb if you're less technically proficient, have limited space, or are on a budget. PC gamers can stream directly to Twitch using free apps like OBS, but it's hardly as simple as pushing a button. As live-streaming to Twitch becomes more popular, Luna's advantage will become even greater.
Amazon has entered the streaming game market a few years after its steepest competition, but Luna's affordable entry price, launch library, and Twitch integration allow it to stand out. Time will tell if Amazon wins out, but it's clearly taking game streaming seriously.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.