Amazon unveils Luna, how it will rival Google Stadia

Tech giant Amazon has unveiled Luna, its new cloud-based gaming platform, which it hopes will rival the likes of Google Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud, PlayStation Now, Apple Arcade, and GeForce Now.

Having confirmed its development back in April, Amazon Luna was officially announced on 24th September ahead of its launch in the US in October. With an introductory price of US$5.99 per month for its Luna+ channel, the platform will initially have 100 different games and be supported by Amazon Web Services (AWS), enabling users to stream games to Amazon Fire TV and PC, as well as iPhone and iPad devices.

Luna’s access on Apple devices is notable given rivals such as Google Stadia and xCloud are not playable on iOS. Though Luna will not be native to Apple’s operating system, nor feature in the Apple store, it will instead appear as a browser-based application that looks like an iOS app.

Support for Android devices will be available in the coming weeks.Amazon Luna is also not licensed for play on game consoles and it remains unclear if the platform will be able to be played with the upcoming controllers for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. However, players can use a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller, as well as a keyboard and mouse, if they do not wish to pay US$49.99 for a Luna controller, which cannot be used on any other consoles.

Amazon Luna vs Google Stadia : What will Amazon Luna have ? 

Twitch, Amazon’s gaming-focused streaming service, is integrated within Luna. The Google Stadia platform made a similar move by linking YouTube.

In addition, Amazon Luna will team up with gaming publisher Ubisoft, which will have a special channel, meaning users will have access to major titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla at launch. Other streaming services have been criticised for their lack of big new releases.

“You’ll see other channels over time,” Marc Whitten, Amazon’s vice president of entertainment devices and services, told Protocol. He added that feedback from publishers had been largely positive, saying they are “pretty excited about the idea”.

Amazon’s march into the gaming space follows its decision earlier in the year to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into becoming a leading creator and distributor of video games. Titles in development range from a science-fiction shooter and a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game to causal, interactive titles.

At the time, Amazon’s vice president for game services and studios, Mike Frazzini, said “it was very clear to everyone that people, customers, love video games”.

He continued: “It was so obviously important to customers that we need to be doing something.”