AMAZON Announces LUNA, Their New Cloud Gaming Service

 Launching next month. $5.99 subscription for a “growing” game library, includes iOS support via browser.

At its 2020 hardware event today, Amazon announced a cloud gaming platform called Luna. Previously codenamed “Tempo,” while an Amazon-made game controller leaked out just ahead of today’s event.

It will initially be available on PC, Mac, Fire TV, and iPhone and iPad (via web apps), with an Android version planned for after launch. Amazon says that interested users in the US can request early access to the service starting today. There’s no word on international availability.

The service will be available for an “introductory price” of $5.99 a month during its early access phase, which gives subscribers the ability to play Luna Plus channel games across two devices simultaneously and offers 4K / 60fps resolution for “select titles.” It will be powered by AWS, Amazon’s ubiquitous web platform.

Amazon says more than 100 games will be available via the Luna Plus channel, and launch titles include Resident Evil 7, Control, Panzer Dragoon, A Plague Tale: Innocence, The Surge 2, Yooka-Laylee, GRID, Abzu, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Amazon says more titles will be added “over time.” The company has also partnered with Ubisoft for a specific “gaming channel.” Here’s how Amazon describes it:

Players who subscribe to this channel will have access to their favorite Ubisoft titles in up to 4K resolution, mobile gameplay, and access to new titles when the channel launches like Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising the same day they release. This is the first of multiple Luna game channels in development, where customers can play games from their favorite publishers and genres.

Luna will also feature Twitch integration. “Inside the Luna experience, players will see Twitch streams for games in the service, and from Twitch, they’ll be able to instantly start playing Luna games,” Amazon says. Games can be played either with a mouse and keyboard or a Bluetooth controller. Amazon also announced its own Alexa-enabled Luna Controller, which will cost $49.99 during the early access period.

Luna Controller is Alexa-enabled and connects directly to the cloud to effortlessly control your game, featuring a multiple-antenna design that prioritizes un-interrupted Wi-Fi for lower latency gaming. In fact, our testing showed a reduction in roundtrip latency when playing Luna Controller with Cloud Direct vs. Luna Controller via Bluetooth, with reductions of between 17 to 30 milliseconds among PC, Fire TV, and Mac. Because the Luna Controller connects directly to cloud servers, players can easily switch between screens — such as Fire TV to mobile phone — without additional pairing or configuration changes.

In early access, the baseline Luna service will require a $5.99/month subscription to Luna+, a “channel” offering unlimited access to a “growing selection of games.” Engadget reports that Resident Evil 7ControlTacomaRez InfiniteMetro ExodusThe Sexy Brutale, and Overcooked! 2 will be among the games included with Luna+, though some of those will not be ready at launch. Amazon’s Luna landing page also currently shows icons for games such as Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible LairBloodstained: Ritual of the NightSteamworld Dig 2, and Sonic Mania. There are no signs of an option to purchase games a la carte through Luna at this point.

UPlay+ subscription lets you play every Ubisoft game on PC and Stadia

Aside from Luna+, Amazon’s service will also offer a channel of Ubisoft titles for an unspecified price. This is likely an extension of Ubisoft’s existing UPlay+ service, which currently offers dozens of recent and classic titles from Ubisoft’s library for download or streaming through Stadia for $14.99 a month. All told, Amazon expects 100 titles to be available between the Luna+ and Ubisoft channels during the early beta period.

Luna will support Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers, as well as a standard mouse/keyboard on PC. But Amazon will also be offering subscribers a $50 Luna Controller that connects directly to the game servers via Wi-Fi (much like the similar Wi-Fi Stadia Controller). The Luna Controller’s direct connection will “reduce roundtrip latency by 17 to 30 milliseconds,” Amazon said, compared to a local Bluetooth controller.

Streaming will be limited to 1080p/60fps at first, Amazon says, with 4K support “coming soon.” Amazon recommends a minimum of 10Mbps for a smooth 1080p stream and says that quality level can consume up to 10GB/hr of bandwidth when playing. Amazon is also promising Twitch integration to allow players to “go from watching Twitch to instantly playing on Luna” (again, much like similar YouTube integration for Google’s Stadia streaming).

Amazon is launching Luna into a marketplace crowded with different streaming-gaming options. Besides Stadia, Microsoft now offers xCloud streaming as a free perk with its Xbox Game Pass subscription, and Sony has been offering PlayStation Now streaming for hundreds of PlayStation family games for years. For PC titles, GeForce NowParsec, and Shadow are just a few of the services letting you play games from Steam and other platforms via powerful cloud servers.