Amazon is the latest company to make a play for cloud gaming. The company is launching a game streaming service called Luna, which allows users to stream games to phones, tablets, PCs or Amazon Fire TV devices.
Luna leverages Amazon Web Services and, like rival services including Google Stadia, xBox Cloud Gaming, and NVIDIA GeForce Now, the idea is to allow users to start playing games nearly instantly without downloading or installing anything – and without the need to buy dedicated gaming hardware.
That said, there is a Luna Controller that will likely offer the best experience.
The Luna Controller is designed so that it can connect directly to the cloud when you’re using it with an Amazon Fire TV Stick. Amazon says that means you get about 20ms lower latency than you would have if you were using a Bluetooth controller for a local connection.
You can also quickly switch between devices, using the Luna Controller with a smartphone or other devices without adjust your pairing settings. (If you’re wondering how Amazon is getting around Apple’s restriction on game streaming apps for iPhone and iPad users, the answer is that there is no iPhone app per se, just a progressive web app that works on iPhones).
But Amazon notes that Luna is also compatible with third-party hardware. You can use an Xbox One controller, a PlayStation DualShock 4 controller, or a mouse and keyboard.
The Luna Controller is priced at $50, and Amazon is launching an early access preview of a Luna+ subscription service that costs $6/month and offers access to games including:
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- Resident Evil 7
- Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Layer
Other channels are also on the way, including an Ubisoft channel that will offer access to select titles including games in the Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry series.
Features seem to vary by Luna channel – Luna+ offers support for streaming on up to 2 devices at the same time, while the Ubisoft channel is limited to just one. But so far it looks like both channels will top out at 1080p/60fps streaming at launch, with 4K support listed as “coming soon.”
Amazon says the minimum requirements for gaming include a 10 Mbps internet connection for 1080p gaming, and a reasonable amount of bandwidth – the company says cloud gaming “can consume up to 10GB/hr at 1080p.”
You can request early access to Luna starting today, but at launch, Luna will only be available in the mainland US. It’s not available in Alaska, Hawaii, US territories, or other countries.