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Luna is Amazon's answer to Google Stadia, and it looks so much better

Amazon Luna
Amazon Luna (Image credit: Amazon)

What you need to know

  • Amazon has officially unveiled its cloud-based game streaming service — Luna.
  • Luna will be available for Android, iOS, PC, Mac, and Fire TV.
  • The service costs $5.99/month and supports two streams at 4K/60 FPS.

It's long been rumored that Amazon has been working on a game streaming service, and at the company's Fall event on September 24, we finally got to see what it looks like.

The service is called "Luna," and it looks a lot like what we were all hoping Google Stadia would be. Luna is entirely cloud-based, meaning all you need is a controller and a screen — with supported platforms including Android, iOS (though a web app), Mac, PC, and Fire TV. It's powered by Amazon Web Services and is able to kick out game streaming in 4K at 60 FPS, and with your Luna subscription, you'll be able to have two simultaneous streams so more than once person can play at once.

Amazon Luna

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

Luna will come with access to over 100 titles to play, including the likes of Resident Evil 7, Control, GRID, Metro Exodus, and tons more. Unlike Google Stadia where you need to buy individual titles in addition to your monthly membership, all of these games are included with your Luna membership. In other words, it's a lot more like the "Netflix for games" that we've been waiting for.

Rounding out the Luna experience, Amazon's deeply integrating Twitch into the service. Per Amazon:

Inside the Luna experience, players will see Twitch streams for games in the service, and from Twitch, they'll be able to instantly start playing Luna games.

In other words, it's basically how Stadia and YouTube go hand-in-hand.

Amazon Luna

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

You can play Luna with any Bluetooth controller or a mouse/keyboard, but of course, you also have the option of purchasing the Luna Controller. The Luna Controller should help to reduce any possible latency you experience when playing Luna, with Amazon saying that it, "connects directly to the cloud to effortlessly control[s] your game, featuring a multiple-antenna design that prioritizes un-interrupted Wi-Fi for lower latency gaming."

In fact, our testing showed a reduction in roundtrip latency when playing Luna Controller with Cloud Direct vs. Luna Controller via Bluetooth, with reductions of between 17 to 30 milliseconds among PC, Fire TV, and Mac. Because the Luna Controller connects directly to cloud servers, players can easily switch between screens — such as Fire TV to mobile phone — without additional pairing or configuration changes.

If you want to pick up a Luna Controller for yourself, it'll run you $49.99 while the whole Luna service is in early access.

As for Luna's pricing, this is where things still remain a little uncertain. If you request early access (opens in new tab) to the service and get accepted, you'll pay just $5.99/month. Once again, this gives you access to over 100 games, two simultaneous game streams, and 1080p/60 FPS gaming with 4K "coming soon." It's likely that monthly price will increase when Luna exits the early access phase, though it remains unclear when that'll happen.

Amazon Luna

Source: Amazon (Image credit: Source: Amazon)

What's also interesting is the Ubisoft channel you can get with Luna. Pricing for this is still unknown, but subscribing to the Ubisoft Luna channel gives you access to new Ubisoft titles the day they're released — including titles like Far Cry 6 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

Amazon says that other channels like this are being developed, which means we can probably look forward to ones from the likes of EA, Activision, Capcom, etc. Assuming these also grant access to new titles on release day from those other publishers, Luna has the potential to get really exciting.

There's still a lot that's up in the air, such as how well Luna plays on slower network connections and how the game library will grow over time, but everything Amazon's shown so far looks incredibly promising.

If I were Stadia, I'd be a little nervous right about now.

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

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35 Comments
  • The only real competition is between Luna and xCloud. Stadia and GeForce Now have no chance. What is intriguing is that Luna is available on iOS while the other services are not. And that Luna will not be available on Android during the beta phase (even though Chrome on Android supports more features than Safari on iOS does).
  • Stadia is getting better all the time, they just had a rough launch. Lots of subscription services and hardware launches are rough, but thankfully companies keep making them better. You can't expect perfection on day one.
  • Wow! Gotta say THIS is the cloud gaming service I've been waiting for. Stadia is super disappointing, xCloud is cool but just doesn't quite give me what I am looking for, GeForce Now is nice but requires buying the game on Steam (or whatever service) first. Luna looks like it checks all the boxes. Though they won't have Android support out the gate (even though Fire TV is just a modified version of android) its fine because when it does start working on my Note 20 Ultra I'll enjoy it then. For now, I'd rather it work on any of my Fire sticks littered around my house. Well done Amazon; take my money!
  • Lmao it hasn't even come out to the public and you already saying its the best. This entire comment is like an Amazon ad. It feels faker than the Amazon owned Washington Post review on Stadia. How much money did they pay you to post this?
  • I re-read my post twice and never once did I say nor imply Luna is the best. I simply said it looks more like what I've been looking for. And I don't work for Amazon and get no money from them. I'm just a random guy who lives in northwest Arkansas and likes tech.
  • I'm confused, what makes this better than xCloud?
  • I never said it was better. I said xcloud didn't offer me what I was looking for. I think xcloud is great but Luna sounds more like what I was looking for.
  • I'll stick with Stadia. You don't own the games on Luna. Also, they may disappear on a rotating basis, if they are even announced. I think we can all agree to this though, the more competition, the better. Everyone will have their favorites.
  • 100% agree that the more competition in the space, the better it is for consumers. I like the Stadia model, but competition drives innovation.
  • Movies rotate in and out of Netflix and no one cares. I don't really care about ownership of movies and music, I enjoy the instant access to a huge catalog. Plus I'm tired of paying $40-$70 for individual games. It's one of the reasons why Netflix, Spotify, Xbox Game Pass, and other services have become successful, the convenience of having access to a huge catalog of content.
  • I don't see how this offers any advantages over Stadia
  • Price. Outside of a couple free games every month with Stadia Pro, you have to buy everything you want to play. This gives you 100+ titles right off the bat with that $5.99 subscription, with more likely being added as time goes on
  • They are only launching with 7-10 titles in early access, which you have to get an invite for (I signed up for early access). Those titles are currently maxing out at 1080p60 and it's only available in the us (not even canada) at the moment. Also if you look carefully some of those 100+ games are really old ( I am talking emulated from older systems old). Some of them may also be mobile games... By the time they launch with 100+ games (this is 3-6 months probably) Anything could happen to Stadia between now and next year March.
  • Netflix has plenty of old stuff but people still subscribe to it, same with Spotify. Just because something is old doesn't mean it's irrelevant. There are lots of old games, songs, and movies I haven't experienced, so I appreciate having that content on these services. Also, the full game list for Luna has been posted on other sites, and there is a wide diversity of content, from big games to smaller indie stuff. Don't judge until you've tried it.
  • Yeah it's a growing library, definitely doesn't have that many games available
  • I would rather buy my games and have ownership rather than have a subscription. Personal preference.
  • Do you do the same with movies or music? For me subscriptions services are more convenient, because I'd rather have access to a huge catalog of music/games/movies than buying all that stuff individually.
  • Lol, seriously? Stadia is like subscribing to Netflix but then having to buy the shows. Does anybody care if you own the game after you've played and beaten it?
  • It's sort of like Netflix vs. PPV you can sit there and wait for years until a good title from the theater shows up on Netflix vs renting it or buying it now and watching. Luna you can play Frogger, Tetris and Candy Crush while you wait for AAA games to come as where Stadia they are growing their list of AAA games.
  • Luna has plenty of big games (the full list is posted on other sites), plus you have AAA Ubisoft stuff if you choose to subscribe to their channel, and more publisher-specific channels coming. It really is no different from Xbox Game Pass in that regard, mixed with a "channel" model like cable or Prime Video. Does it really matter if it has all the big stuff on day one? People subscribe to Netflix even though it doesn't get every new movie.
  • Ah ok... now the microsoft and issue becomes more apparent. Game streaming services are ok as long as it's from the company that already has a better deal in place.
  • This is silly. You don't "have to pay" for Stadia. It's literally free. Buy the games you actually want, instead of being stuck with just these 100 (probably lame) Amazon games. If you choose to subscribe to Stadia, then you get the free games too but it's not a requirement and they actually have some AAA games available (with a lot more on the way). It's unresearched BS like this that hurts platforms like Stadia (and others).
  • I thought you had to pay for an account and buy the games too, until I had an online chat with Google support that told me otherwise. If this 'info' is so easy to get, why do so many articles get it wrong? Stadia is the only service that streams Red redemption 2.
  • Stadia Pro gets you 4k 60fps 5.1 surround sound additional Free titles that get released, and extra discounts
  • And what happens to those games that you "bought" after Google shutters Stadia because it sucks?
  • I was just trying to correct false information.
  • Good question because we all know Google puts out half ass three quarter baked products and ditch them when they can't figure out where they went wrong.
  • You haven't stayed up to date with Stadia have you, instead of reading reviews from a year ago so whats been happening lately.
  • Google hasn't given up on YouTube, Android, Docs, or Google Assistant. Companies drop products that aren't used much, Microsoft is guilty of this as well (Windows Phone, Windows RT, Zune, etc.).
  • You could say the same thing if Steam goes under. All those PC games you bought will be useless without a Steam account to verify the license. Same thing with movies bought from Apple and Google Play, you stream them to a TV or compatible device.
  • If you actually looked at the game list (multiple sites have it posted), you'd see Luna has plenty of big games, along with indie stuff. Netflix doesn't have all the big movie releases but that hasn't stopped people from subscribing. What you call lame, another person might enjoy.
  • This is a good question that interests me as well. Thanks for answers https://www.masterpapers.com/cpm-homework-help
  • Wow this blogger and the commentor's here are basically expecting this Netflix for gaming to include all the AAA games and all the latest and greatest features and have no issues "Ok everyone that's a wrap , Amazon is the King now" What a dissapointment when you find out all the games you can play are out of date or mid tier games and Amazon will be going through similiar issue's Stadia had to iron out over the past year. People still knocking Stadia haven't been paying attention what they have been improving on. It's turning out to be an excellent product. But please continue. My guess Amazon will aim this towards to the same people who they aim their Fire Tablets, kids and casual play, so the question is will they put in the time and resources in the way Google had to and still have to in making cloud gaming more smooth while offering not just casual games but top tier games. Soo Joe, I would slow your roll and let this thing come out and see what it can do before declaring King of cloud gaming.
  • Xbox Game Pass has tons of big games, and all Microsoft games are on there day of release. Ubisoft's Luna channel will do the same thing with their new releases. I don't see why you think new releases won't be on these services on day one. Spotify has new music all the time, Disney+ and Netflix launch their original content on day one as well.
  • I really like Amazon's pricing model on this, pay for the "channels" you want and get access to the games you want, similar to cable. Game subscriptions are a better value for me, because I'd rather have access to a huge catalog instead of buyng each game individually. I don't buy individual songs or movies anymore thanks to Spotify and Netflix, so I'm glad games are following suit. And if games rotate in and out of the catalog, oh well. I don't have a problem when Netflix does that. I have a free trial to Stadia Pro and really enjoy it, and I already have dozens of "free" games to play. But sadly there's a lot of misinformation about Stadia, even a year after launch.