With Amazon announcing its Luna game streaming service you may find yourself wondering how it stacks up against Google's cloud gaming service Stadia. These two services have some great features but we'll show you why we think one is the better option for most people.
Amazon Luna vs Google Stadia: Pricing and availability
Google's Stadia debuted almost one year ago, but it's already being upstaged by Amazon at just the announcement stage. Amazon's Luna provides significantly more games included at an early access price for half of what Stadia costs monthly. However, the same availability across most screens, the quantity, selection, and costs of games will be the main deciding factors for these services.
Stadia is available now in a nice Chromecast Ultra bundle with 30 days of Stadia Pro for $100. Individually a Stadia controller and a Chromecast Ultra are both $70, so the bundle saves you $30 if you include the month of Stadia Pro. Stadia Pro is $10 per month and provides access to 25 games, 4K streaming, 5.1 surround sound, and special discounts. However, you can use almost any wireless game controller with Stadia if you're playing on PC or a mobile device.
The free games change occasionally but if you have claimed a free game you retain that game as long as you maintain your subscription. All other games, unless on sale, are full price. The free Stadia plan would be a great solution for someone that wants to play a few of the available games without the restriction of gaming hardware.
Amazon has taken a much different approach to Luna. Similar to Netflix you pay a monthly fee and gain access to over 100 game titles. You don't have to buy each game on top of your subscription.
Amazon's Luna controller is $50 available through early access invite. You may also want to pick up an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k For $50 since it'll be the best way to play Luna on your TV when it becomes widely available. You can request early access to Luna's $6 subscription now but just note that pricing may change.
|Google Stadia||Amazon Luna|
|Subscription Price||Free/$10||$6 (Introductory)|
|Controller style||Left thumbstick below D-pad||Left thumbstick above D-pad|
|HDMI dongle price||Chromecast Ultra $70||Fire TV Stick 4k $50|
|Games included in subscription||25||Over 100|
|Ability to play a game being streamed||Yes||Yes|
|4k support||With Pro||Coming soon|
Amazon Luna vs Google Stadia: Game availability
Both Stadia and Luna offer a fun cloud-based gaming experience. Other than the flipped left thumbstick, Amazon and Google's controllers even look very similar. Both systems also include their parent companies' Voice Assistant services, support up to 4K streaming at 60FPS, and connect to most screens. I would even speculate that pricing after Luna's early access will likely match or come close to Stadia's $10 per month.
Stadia will eventually support cool integrations with Youtube through Crowd Play. For example, a game streamer could challenge viewers to a race. Luna will have cool integrations with Twitch as well, like being able to start playing a game directly from a Twitch stream you are watching. Stream Connect on Stadia could hopefully make local co-op cool if we're ever allowed to have people over again. Stream Connect is like split-screen unleashed, with the ability to add additional viewpoints or multiple other players streams.
Amazon Luna vs Google Stadia: Wait for Luna if you can
With similar hardware and service offerings, how can Google and Amazon differentiate from each other? Price and content are where the real winner will be determined, and Amazon's Luna is taking a substantial lead. With an introductory price of $6 per month, you get an impressive catalog of games including Resident Evil 7, Control, GRID, Metro Exodus, and over 100 more included at no additional cost. Meanwhile, Stadia's list of games has PUBG, Farcry, Marvel's Avengers, Serious Sam 4, and about 75 others, and most must still be purchased at full price.
After almost a year Stadia has failed to deliver on all of the announced features. However, the main struggle for Stadia continues to be the selection of games available and what is included for the Stadia Pro subscription. Out of the 75 games available on Stadia, only 25 of those are included with the monthly subscription — the 50 other games must be purchased at retail price. The main attraction for Stadia is its free option for a specific game you might want and may not be available on Luna.
Another exciting announcement for Luna was that launch day titles from Ubisoft will be available soon. Not much was shared about this but I suspect there will be an additional charge to add this channel, similar to adding an HBO subscription to an Amazon Prime Video subscription. I could see Amazon charging an extra $5 to $10 per month for access to Ubisoft games.
If you are looking to get started playing today, Stadia is the obvious choice. If you know the game you want and don't know if it will be available on Luna then Stadia is a great option. However, with at least 25% more games available Luna is making Stadia look bad. On top of the larger games library, Luna comes in at a lower price for both the controller and the HDMI stick you would connect to your TV.
The Netflix of cloud gaming
More games, better pricing
With more games, lower prices for hardware, and a great introductory offer, Luna instantly becomes an excellent offering to those looking for a cloud-based gaming service. The Netflix styled, pay one price and get unlimited play for hundreds of games is what we have been wanting.
Too soon to call it Blockbuster?
Fewer games, higher prices
Stadia is a fun cloud-based gaming system. You still have to purchase most games but if you don't care about the included free games, the subscription-free model might be perfect for you.
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