The cloud gaming space has been one of the key interest areas of Amazon for quite some time. Today, the eCommerce giant has finally thrown the hat in the ring by launching its very own cloud gaming platform called ‘Luna’, announced at the annual Alexa hardware event.
It wasn’t exactly too shocking of a revelation as this move by Amazon was well anticipated from beforehand. The launch of this service has been rumoured since the entire past year under the code name ‘Tempo’.
Currently, it is not entirely clear if Luna will be launched widely across all platforms however its availability on PC, Mac, Fire TV, and iPhone and iPad has been confirmed with an Android version planned and in the works.
According to Amazon, users in the U.S can request early access to Luna starting today. However, if the same offer will be extended internationally is yet to be known. The service is priced tagged with $5.99/mo, making it a very competitive offering, albeit only for during early access phase.
The early subscribers can expect access to select titles from Luna Plus channel with 4K / 60fps resolution across two devices simultaneously. Quite obviously, this service will be powered by AWS aka Amazon Web Services.
In the Alexa hardware event, the Bezos-headed e-commerce giant said that over 100 games have been scheduled to be made available on the platform including Resident Evil 7, Control, Panzer Dragoon, A Plague Tale: Innocence, The Surge 2, Yooka-Laylee, GRID, Abzu and much more.
Besides this, Amazon has partnered up with Ubisoft for a ‘gaming’ channel’ as well. Within this players will be able to access all of their favourite titles from Ubisoft in 4K resolution. But that’s not all.
Luna will be featuring a Twitch integration that allows players to watch Twitch streams for various games in the service. All the games can be played using a mouse and keyword or a Bluetooth controller. The platform is totally flexible with the various preferences that diverse users might be having.
Nonetheless, if one wishes to fully immerse themselves in the Luna experience they can opt for purchasing Amazon’s very own Alexa-enabled Luna controller which been priced at $49.99 for the early access period.
Amazon vs Google vs Microsoft
Amazon has been slowly, but steadily, penetrating the cloud gaming space for a few years now. One can say it began when they acquired Twitch in 2014 and then went on to develop its own games such as Crucible, the poorly launched online shooter game.
Currently, Amazon has been working on a mega multiplayer game called New World which is expected to be launched in 2021.
Today’s launch of the cloud gaming platform puts Amazon in direct competition with two other biggies in this space – Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud. However, it seems like Luna won’t be following in either of their footsteps.
Marc Whitten, Vice president of Entertainment Devices and Services – Amazon, mentioned how their service wouldn’t be following Stadia’s freemium business model which requires users to pay for each individual game they want to stream.
Neither will Luna be following the xCloud’s business model as well because it allows users to stream games on the Microsoft Xbox Game Pass platform only to an Android device making it very limited as of now.
Amazon’s cloud gaming platform will follow the ‘channels’ model instead which is quite similar to Amazon Channels platform. Luna will be enabling the addition of partner publisher channels by its users in the same way Prime subscribers add individual TV streaming services as add ons. Thus one can say it’s aiming to sort of becoming the ‘cable TV of online games’.
Considering that the Cloud Gaming is still at a very nascent stage there’s no tried and tested way to go about structuring the business model currently. All in all, with the launch of Amazon Luna, one can only expect to observe if Amazon can successfully pull off the template that’s been running fairly well in case of televisions.
Now, how exactly will users take to it is something that only the future can tell. We will keep you updated. Until then, stay tuned.