Amazon’s new cloud gaming service, called Amazon Luna, is set to take on established players in the streaming space like Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, Microsoft’s xCloud and Sony’s PlayStation Now – other services that also let you play games straight from cloud servers without the need to download them first.
While it would be fair to say cloud gaming hasn’t hit the mainstream market yet – mostly due to the need for a fairly fast internet connection and the varying business models available – Amazon’s entry into game streaming shows that there’s certainly interest from consumers.
But what does Amazon Luna offer that separates it from the competition, and how does it work exactly? There’s a lot to unpack, but here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Luna.
- Check out our Google Stadia review
- What you need to know about Nvidia GeForce Now
- Read our Amazon Fire TV Stick review
Amazon Luna: key facts
- What is it? A cloud gaming service from Amazon.
- Amazon Luna release date: TBC. Users in the US can request early access to the service when it launches for a small number of subscribers in October, 2020.
- What can I play on it? Amazon Luna will launch with more than 50 games, including Remedy Entertainment’s Control, Resident Evil 7 and Metro Exodus.
- Can I play on multiple devices? Yes, you can stream titles to PC, Mac and iOS (via the web).
- How much does Amazon Luna cost? Amazon Luna is launching with an introductory price of $5.99 per month, however, the price of individual channels varies (more on that below).
- Does it have a controller? Yes. The Amazon Luna has a unique controller that’s sold separately for $49.99. It connects directly to the service to reduce latency and is Alexa-enabled.
- Do I need Amazon Prime? No. Amazon Luna is a separate subscription from Amazon Prime.
- What internet speed do I need for Luna? Amazon recommends a minimum internet connection speed of 10Mbps for 1080p and 35Mbps for 4K.
What is Amazon Luna?
Amazon Luna is a game streaming service where users can stream titles wirelessly across multiple devices without downloading any games. It’s powered by Amazon’s AWS computing platform.
Amazon Luna seems like it will work in a similar way to Prime Video. You can subscribe to various channels, the key one being Luna Plus, and other channels will be available in the future, such as publisher Ubisoft’s own dedicated channel.
Unlike Google Stadia, you don't have to buy individual games, but the monthly subscription costs could increase significantly depending on how many channels you subscribe to. It’ll also have Twitch integration built-in, which should allow gamers to jump into games that their favorite streamers are playing.
Details are still slim at the moment, but Luna Plus promises to offer 4K streaming and “unlimited hours of play” (Nvidia GeForce Now caps free subscribers to one-hour sessions and Founder members to six hours of play). The service will initially launch with just two channels for a small number of users in early access.
Amazon Luna release date
Amazon Luna will only be available via early access for US gamers to start with, so while the service will hopefully launch elsewhere over time, we don't know international pricing as of yet. You can request an invite via the Luna website if you live in the US, and if you want a more in-depth guide, we've written instructions on how to register for Amazon Luna.
Amazon Luna games list
Some games confirmed for Amazon Luna include Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Control, Two Point Hospital, Sonic Mania Plus and Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair. While Amazon has only confirmed these titles for the service so far, the company has stated there will be more than 100 games to play in total, which is quite a bit more than Stadia had at launch. In comparison, Microsoft’s xCloud service has over 100 games to play on Android devices.
During early access quite a few games will be accessible: these include Resident Evil 7, Control, The Surge 2, Iconoclasts and GRID, with a total number over 100.
Meet the Amazon Luna controller
You can buy the Amazon Luna controller to play games. The Luna controller, which looks like a mash up between the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and an Xbox One controller, costs $49.99 – however, you can also use a PS4 or Xbox One controller, or keyboard and mouse if you prefer.
The main benefit of the Amazon Luna controller is that it connects directly to the cloud, which should reduce input latency. It also has Amazon Alexa built-in, although it’s currently unclear how it will be utilized.
What devices can I play Amazon Luna on?
You can play Amazon Luna via Amazon products like a Fire TV, and other devices like your smartphone, Mac or PC. It's possible, though not confirmed, that other Amazon devices like Fire Tab HD tablets, will be eventually compatible too, as Amazon looks to make sure its family of products all work cohesively.
Despite Apple blocking Microsoft xCloud, Nvidia GeForce Now and Google Stadia on iOS, Amazon Luna dodges the App Store guidelines by not being a traditional app. Instead, Amazon Luna will be a progressive web app (PWA), which is basically a website that you can launch and run separately from the rest of your web browser.
It’s likely that we’ll see Microsoft, Google and Nvidia follow suit if Amazon’s approach proves to be a successful workaround.
How much does Amazon Luna cost?
The Amazon Luna employs a channel-like subscription model. There's a separate subscription service called Luna Plus, styled by Amazon as Luna+. As previously mentioned, this is a channel you can purchase access to. It lets you play a library of games but comes with a few extra benefits, like 4K / 60fps gaming (which Amazon notes is coming soon) and the ability to play on two devices at once.
The service will cost $5.99 per month, and works on PC, Mac and Fire TV stick. It also works on iPhones and iPads (via the workaround we mentioned above) but isn’t on Android handsets just yet.
Amazon calls Luna Plus the first official channel for Luna, which makes it sound like more could be coming in the near future.
The games streaming market is quickly becoming a crowded one, but it's hard not to get excited for cloud gaming – if it works right (looking at you, Stadia). We're intrigued to get our hands on Amazon Luna (well, metaphorical hands) and see how it plays.
- Amazon Luna: 5 things you need to know