Cloud gaming has been talked about as a future industry disruptor for some time now. There have been numerous attempts over the years, but a combination of internet infrastructure hurdles and lack of consumer interest made it impossible for early contenders to succeed. Things have begun to change, however, as Sony (PlayStation Now), Microsoft (xCloud), and Google (Stadia) are all investing heavily in the market. And now Amazon, which already powers much of the business world with its cloud-based Amazon Web Services, has joined the cloud gaming arena.
Amazon Luna is launching in early access for $5.99 monthly across PC, Mac, Fire TV devices, Android and iOS (via a web app). Amazon is inviting players to request access and then if they are invited into early access, they can purchase the Luna-specific controller for $49.99. The controller is designed to reduce lag by connecting directly to the cloud, but Luna allows for any Bluetooth-enabled controller to be used.
Unlike Stadia, Luna is offering access to games (more than 100 to start) via a subscription with no need to purchase titles on the service separately. Moreover, Luna is planning to offer “channels,” beginning with a Ubisoft-specific portal that will provide day one access to upcoming releases like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Far Cry 6.
What could be a big differentiator for Luna is the service’s planned Twitch integration. Amazon intends to include Twitch streams for top games, and viewers can start playing those games instantly with one click. Twitch has nearly 4 million content creators and is forecast to reach 40 million monthly active users in 2021. That’s a built-in audience that would make any service jealous.
Considering the nascent state of cloud gaming, global interest in the technology is fairly strong among both Twitch viewers and Amazon shoppers, according to Interpret’s NMM: Global Profiles®, with 18% of the Twitch audience and 12% of Amazon customers stating they are likely to try a cloud gaming service in the next 12 months.