Amazon dropped a surprise reveal of Luna, its cloud gaming service, which has been in the works for several years.
However, Amazon left many details about Luna out of the initial reveal, leaving many to wonder how the service will work and how it compares to others. Here are all the details that you need to know about Luna.
Luna is a cloud-based gaming platform, meaning gamers will stream as they play rather than downloading a title. Games played on Luna run on Amazon’s own servers, which the company says lets players jump between devices seamlessly.
The service is supported by Amazon Web Services, which hosts nearly 50% of all web traffic, including Netflix. This means Luna is backed by a company that has proven streaming, though streaming video like Netflix is still much easier than an interactive game.
Luna plays the PC versions of each title, streamed in 1080p 60 frames per second, with some titles available to stream at 4K 60 fps. An internet connection speed of 10Mbps is required for 1080p, and 35Mbps is needed for 4K.
As for gameplay, there are no achievements or trophies, but those will perhaps be implemented down the line, Amazon representatives confirmed in a press Q&A. Ubisoft’s Uplay achievements will be compatible with the publisher’s titles played via Luna.
Luna offers libraries of titles and dubbed channels that players can pick and choose from. Luna+, which includes more than 50 games across genres for $6 a month, is the sole channel available at launch. There is also a seven-day free trial.
The $6 Luna+ subscription price will not change during the early access period, and Amazon did not confirm if there will be any changes post-launch.
A second channel from Ubisoft will add another collection of more than 50 titles from the publisher. The Ubisoft channel will include games from its back catalog and upcoming releases. There’s no word yet on how much the Ubisoft channel will cost, but Amazon did confirm that players can subscribe only to this offering without signing up for Luna+.
An Amazon rep confirmed in an email that Luna can run two simultaneous streams, so the primary owner and a secondary player can each play different games at the same time. This includes two streams of Luna+ titles or one stream of a Luna+ game and an Ubisoft game. However, players will be unable to stream more than one Ubisoft game at a time.
Both libraries will expand over time, and more channels will be added in the future. The channels will focus on developers and publishers, but there is potential for genre-specific and other types of channels.
Luna does not require an Amazon Prime membership. While there are no plans for this to change, there may be potential benefits for Prime members.
The team at Luna also said there are no plans for exclusives or individually-purchased games. One goal, however, is to create lasting partnerships to avoid games entering and leaving the services or gaming channels.
Luna will feature heavy Twitch integration, which is also owned by Amazon. Players browsing through games on Luna can see Twitch streams for those titles. On Twitch, Luna subscribers can jump into the game a streamer is playing if offered on the cloud platform.
During early access, Luna will be available through televisions via Amazon Fire TV products, computers via Chrome or Safari, and iPhone and iPad via Chrome or Safari. Compatibility with Android will be coming in the next few months. The iOS compatibility is one of the key selling points of Luna, as neither Google Stadia nor Xbox cloud streaming is supported due to Apple’s App Store policies. Amazon circumvents the App Store by allowing Luna to run in a mobile browser.
Those interested in Luna can sign up for early access now, with the first wave opening up in October.
Luna can be played with many third-party controllers, including the PlayStation’s DualShock 4, Xbox’s wireless controller, and a keyboard and mouse. However, to take advantage of Luna’s full capabilities, players can purchase a Luna controller for $50. It has Alexa built-in, providing players with the ability to control certain functions with their voices, such as starting up a game.
The Luna controller also directly connects to Amazon’s servers, which the company claims will improve latency up to 30 milliseconds over a third-party controller linking to the device that is being used. The controller uses two AA batteries, and up to four controllers can be used for local play.
Like the $6 price for the Luna+ channel, the $50 price of the Luna controller might change once early access has concluded. Currently, Amazon’s own listing for the Luna controller denotes $50 as a $20 discount for early access, although Amazon has not confirmed if the Luna controller will be priced at $70 once early access concludes.
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