Cloud gaming might still be in its infancy, but major companies aren’t shying away from investing early in the future of gaming. Amazon Luna is the latest platform to join the fray, and with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Twitch behind it, Luna could very well take the cloud gaming crown.
After rumors were swirling for well over a year, Luna was officially announced in September of 2020, and is now entering early access for a limited number of users. Whether you want to get in early or just learn what the future may hold, here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Luna.
What is Amazon Luna?
Amazon Luna is a cloud gaming platform powered by Amazon’s ubiquitous cloud computing platform AWS. Like other cloud gaming platforms, it allows consumers to stream games instantly to a number of devices. This eliminates the need for downloads, updates, or even local storage, but requires a high-speed internet connection. Amazon recommends speeds of at least 10Mbps for 1080p streaming, or 35Mbps for 4K when it becomes available.
Currently Luna supports Fire TV, PC, and Mac devices, as well as iPhones and iPads via web apps. An Android version is expected soon, but no official news on this yet.
Like Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming platform, Luna includes a Netflix-of-games style catalog of games under a monthly subscription fee. And like Amazon Prime Video, it also offers channels that unlock more content from a specific publisher for an extra monthly fee. Currently the only channel (apart from the basic Luna Plus channel) is the Ubisoft channel, but it isn’t yet available for early access users.
How much is Amazon Luna?
Amazon Luna currently has an early access price of $5.99 a month. This subscription includes unlimited access to a growing catalog of games and 1080p/60fps streaming on two devices simultaneously. 4K quality is “coming soon” for select titles, but no exact date is listed.
Channels are available for an additional fee, but this fee is not yet specified. The Ubisoft channel includes the same 1080p/60 quality and unlimited gameplay, but only for one device. However, it features the ultimate edition of each game, with DLC unlocked for certain titles.
Note that the pricing above is only for the early access program. Expect the service to cost significantly more at launch (unless bundled with an Amazon Prime subscription). The company will send a notification 30 days before the pricing changes, but be aware that this is just an introductory price.
The Amazon Luna controller
If you want to get the most out of a Luna subscription, you’ll also want to pick up an Amazon Luna controller. Amazon claims that using the official controller can reduce latency by 17 to 30 milliseconds when compared to standard bluetooth controllers, which is huge for competitive multiplayer titles.
It does this by connecting directly to Amazon’s servers with a built-in WiFi receiver with support for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks. This removes the middleman of your local PC or streaming device. Wired gameplay is also available with a USB-C cable, which unfortunately isn’t included in the box.
The Amazon Luna controller is similar to an Xbox controller, but with built-in WiFi for reduced latency.
As for the controller’s design, it closely matches the layout of the hugely popular Xbox controller. It features a textured grip and the standard layout: four action buttons, two offset joysticks, a d-pad, two bumpers, and two triggers. There are also four buttons in the center for home, action, menu, and microphone control. On the bottom of the controller there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio.
The controller is powered by two replaceable AA batteries, which are included in the box. You need to use the Luna Controller mobile app to set it up, but once completed you can switch between devices freely.
The Amazon Luna controller costs $49.99 on its own, or $59.98 when bundled with a phone clip. However, it’s only available for those who have already been accepted into the early access program. Click the button below to learn more.
Amazon Luna games
An Amazon Luna subscription includes unlimited access to roughly 50 games from a variety of publishers. The list isn’t as impressive as Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming catalog, but it’s a solid start. The games are running on Windows machines, so theoretically it should be easier to add games to Luna than Stadia, which requires developers to port their games to Linux.
However, these games cannot be purchased individually and require a persistent subscription to play. Games may also be removed from the service as time goes on, removing access for even paying subscribers.
Here’s the full list of Amazon Luna games in early access:
- AO Tennis 2
- Atomik: RunGunJumpGun
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- Contra Collection
- Cook Serve Delicious 3
- Deponia Doomsday
- Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes
- Edna & Harvey: The Breakout
- Ghost of a Tale
- Hard Reset
- Infinite Minigolf
- Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth
- Lumines Remastered
- Metro Exodus
- Overcooked! 2
- R-Type Dimensions EX
- Rez Infinite
- River City Girls
- Shadow Tactics
- Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
- Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition
- Sonic Mania
- Steamworld Dig
- Steamworld Dig 2
- Steamworld Heist
- Steamworld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
- Trails of Cold Steel 3
- The Mummy Demastered
- The Sexy Brutale
- The Surge
- The Surge 2
- Victor Vran
- Yoku’s Island Express
- Yooka-Laylee Impossible Lair
- Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
This list will expand over time, and you can gain access to more games by subscribing to more channels in the future. Amazon has promised that more than 100 games will be included with Luna Plus at launch.
Amazon is also developing first-party games under Amazon Game Studios. The studio’s first major title, a battle royale game called Crucible, had a disastrous launch and was ultimately put back into development before being cancelled. However, a new MMO called New World is currently in the works, and could be a prime candidate for Amazon Luna support.
What is the Amazon Luna release date?
Amazon Luna doesn’t have an official release date, but it is currently in early access. We’ll update this article as soon as more details emerge.
Where is Amazon Luna available?
Amazon Luna is currently only available to a limited number of users in the continental United States. You can sign up for the service at the link below.
Does Amazon Luna have ads?
Yes. Like Kindle devices, Amazon Luna displays advertisements while connecting to a game. However, they do not appear while the game is loading or during gameplay. There’s currently no word on whether or not these ads can be disabled with a single purchase, which can be done with Kindle devices.
How does it stack up against alternatives?
Amazon Luna is poised to take on the likes of Xbox Cloud Gaming, GeForce Now, and Google Stadia. Although it’s still too early for a definitive take on which is best, there are some key similarities and differences to take note of.
Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly Project xCloud) is the most similar to Luna. It also has a library of games locked behind a single subscription fee, but the games are a step above Luna’s offerings. They include all of Microsoft’s first-party titles from popular franchises like Halo and Gears of War. However, cloud support is currently only available on Android devices and limited to 720p quality. It also costs more than twice as much at $14.99 a month.
GeForce Now is more of a virtual machine service than a true cloud gaming platform, but it offers many of the same benefits. It allows you to play your existing game library from Steam or other stores on a powerful machine in the cloud. The free plan is limited to game sessions of just one hour, but the unlimited plan is reasonably priced at $4.99 a month. Just keep in mind that you will need to buy all of your games separately, and not all games will work with the service.
Google Stadia is the only cloud gaming platform that doesn’t require a persistent subscription. You can pick and buy just the games you want and play them at any time at 1080p/60fps. You can also bump that up to 4K quality with Stadia Pro, which costs $9.99 a month and includes a decent catalog of games to play as long as you remain subscribed.
Learn more about cloud gaming: