Amazon Luna will be powered by Windows, not Linux, making it easier for developers to port games

Luna Controller
Luna Controller (Image credit: Amazon)

What you need to know

  • Amazon's Luna is powered by Windows servers, the company shared.
  • This is part of an effort to make building games for Luna as low-effort as possible.
  • Amazon has managed to build up a launch catalog of 100 titles as a result of this.

Amazon launched Luna and the service hit the ground running hard. It'll be supporting multiple platforms from ranging from Android to MacOS, but its biggest feat remains its game availability. Luna will launch with over 100 games including Resident Evil 7, Panzer Dragoon, and GRID.

But how did Amazon manage to build out such a gaming catalog when Google hasn't been able to with more time? Well, it's simple; the company is backed by Windows and Nvidia, making themselves already known quantities for developers. Speaking to Ars Technica, Amazon Luna Director of Product Oliver Messenger said that the aim was to make porting apps as "low effort" as possible. Stadia, by way of contrast, is powered by Linux. For gaming developers, that's not as familiar a platform as windows.

The Verge reported:

Amazon's new Luna cloud gaming platform is powered by Windows servers and Nvidia GPUs. Luna supports more than 100 games thanks to this Windows support, allowing developers to quickly move their existing Windows games over to an AWS instance and provide cloud streaming access to subscribers. This backend Windows support also allows publishers like Ubisoft to host their own digital services (Uplay) on Amazon's Luna platformAmazon has confirmed to The Verge that Luna will run on a standard version of Amazon's EC2 G4 server instance running Windows, complete with Nvidia's T4 GPUs and Intel's Cascade Lake CPUs. Nvidia's T4 is based on the company's Turing architecture that also powers the previous generation RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards. A single T4 GPU (Amazon might be using multiple) provides 8.1 teraflops of performance and support for Microsoft's DirectX raytracing technology.

In other words, Luna is familiar technology for developers and Amazon is promising a powerful gaming experience for these same developers to showcase their IP.

Stadia already faces a lot of headwind as it stands, added pressure from companies like Amazon and Microsoft will only serve to force change onto the streaming service. Whether to make it a better product or to drive it towards the notorious Google graveyard depends on how Stadia fits in Google's overall vision.

Michael Allison