At the September Amazon Event, the tech big introduced a host of recent products in its Ring and Echo line – and out of nowhere, launched Amazon Luna, a game streaming service to rival Google Stadia and GeForce Now.
Sure, there’s another game streaming service to choose from, including yet another choice to play cutting-edge games on nearly anything with a display. And Luna has some similarities with current companies: much like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna has its personal non-compulsory customized controller, which prices $49 (around £38 / AU$69), although folks can decide to make use of a present console controller or mouse and keyboard instead.
However, there’s a few Amazon-specific twists that differentiate it from the competition.
The first is worth: instead of tiers, the Luna service breaks its gaming catalog up into channels, with Luna Plus being a selection of games Amazon has already licensed. Luna Plus prices an introductory charge of $6 monthly (under £5 / AU$9), making it cheaper than different services. The one different confirmed channel is Ubisoft, which has a separate (and never yet defined) subscription price to entry its personal catalog of games.
Another is the variety of units to stream to: up to now, you can stream Luna gameplay over Mac, PC, iPhones and iPads (Android assist coming quickly), and apparently, Fireplace TV units.
A last attention-grabbing note: you can play on two units simultaneously, which suggests that you just and a buddy or member of the family can play games on a similar time (and potentially together) on the identical account.
There’s still so much we don’t know about the service, which can be revealed in time. However here are the 5 large questions we can answer right now.
You can play soon – but only in the US
You can request early entry for Amazon Luna proper here, but only if you’re positioned within the US (and for now, solely the continental US – Alaska, Hawaii, and US territories must wait). Sorry, worldwide customers, we couldn’t even get a VPN to work: it requires you to sign up with your region-locked Amazon account first.
Those selected for early access, will be notified through email, but we don’t know precisely when people will have the ability to begin using Luna. When they can, they’ll have to start out paying the month-to-month subscription fee – no free trials on this service yet, even in early entry.
50 games are playable on Luna Plus, with more to follow
One distinction here: Luna is the platform, and you can select which channels you subscribe to and entry their games. Amazon’s major choice is within the Luna Plus channel, which is the one you’ll be able to currently subscribe to. So, what games are on Luna Plus?
The introductory slate of 50 games on Luna Plus seems fairly broad, from AAA games like Resident Evil 7, Control, and Panzer Dragoon to titles from smaller publishers like A Plague Tale: Innocence, The Surge 2, and Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair, Abzu, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
You’ll note most of these aren’t terribly new, but we’ll wait to see the whole list to cross judgment. The list is anticipated to develop to over 100 titles by the tip of the early access period.
The Ubisoft channel will also be available during early access, coming in the fall (Q3 2020), with a catalog starting at 50 of the publisher’s titles. Both that and the Luna Plus channel are anticipated so as to add extra games over the weeks and months – and in Ubisoft’s case, it will include brand-new titles like Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising, which can be playable on Luna the day they launch.
You don’t need the Luna Controller to play
You can buy the Luna Controller if you want, nevertheless, it isn’t required. If you want, you’ll be able to play on Xbox One and PS4 controllers, or mouse and keyboard. It’s unclear if controllers from the brand new consoles will work on Luna, or when you’ll have the ability to play utilizing contact controls when streaming on mobile units (though we doubt it).
There are causes to pick up the $49 Luna Controller, though. Since the gamepad connects on to the cloud, it reduces lag by 17ms to 30ms, in keeping with Amazon’s testing. That direct connection additionally means gamers won’t have to calibrate the controller with every new machine they swap their gameplay session to, essentially allowing you to seamlessly play as the game is handed off between cellular phones, computers, and Fire TV units.
Naturally, the Luna Controller comes with Alexa. It also has Bluetooth and USB connectivity, so you’ll be able to theoretically use it on other platforms, although it’s not licensed to play on game consoles. Oh, and you’ll solely purchase a Luna Controller if you make it into early entry.
What can I play Luna games on?
You can stream Luna games using native apps on PC (Windows 10 with support for DirectX 11), Mac (OSX 10.13 and newer), and Fire TV units (Fire TV Stick – 2nd gen, Fire TV Stick 4K, or Fire TV Dice – 2nd gen).
You can also play through the Chrome web browser (version 83 and newer) on PC and Mac, if you so select.
Funny enough, playing on iPhones and iPads also works through a browser. You’ll primarily play by means of Safari, requiring iOS 14 or iPadOS 14, respectively. Why the workaround? Apple isn’t taking too kindly to challengers to its App Store conditions right now and has kept its Microsoft xCloud ban in place.
What’s the minimum bandwidth for basic service and 4K?
Amazon Luna requires a minimum of 10 Mbps for standard games, and 35 Mbps for playing games in 4K. Note that most games will stream in 1080p, with solely choose titles accessible in 4K.
Whereas Amazon didn’t state how much data gamers should count on Luna to gobble whereas streaming, the platform’s official FAQ (on the backside of the Luna website) did note that cloud gaming typically can “devour as much as 10GB/hr at 1080p”, so that’s at least a benchmark to go by