Amazon has dipped its toe in gaming over the past few years, not always with the most success. Its cloud service, Luna, seems like an easy win, though. It just needs to remain committed, unlike Google. The retail giant first debuted its cloud gaming service in 2020 as a semi-closed beta. Now, Luna is officially available to everyone in the mainland US today. If you’re a Prime Member, you can even play a few games for free.
Luna is similar to Google Stadia and Microsoft GamePass in that you don’t need powerful hardware to play high-end games. All the hard work happens in the cloud, and then the video streams to a device like your phone or a TV box — a Fire TV in the case of Luna. Often, connection speed and latency are the main impediments to a good game streaming experience, but Amazon can leverage its AWS backbone, which hosts a vast swath of the internet. The video stream tops out at 1080p and 60 fps, whereas Google offers 4K HDR streaming on Stadia, but there are other issues with that platform.
Luna won’t offer individual games for sale like Stadia, but it’s not quite an all-you-can-play model like GamePass, either. Amazon has Luna organized into “channels,” some of which have specific themes. For example, there’s a Family Channel for $5.99 per month, and the Jackbox Games channel is $4.99 per month, the same as the new Retro Games channel. The existing Luna+ channel is going up in price from $5.99 to $9.99, but current subscribers can lock in their current rates by subscribing before the end of March.
Each one has a few dozen games you can play on-demand, but Prime subscribers can play a few titles for free. The Prime Gaming Channel will include a small selection of games that rotate every month, and you can play them instantly with no additional purchase if you subscribe to Amazon Prime. However, this only applies to the account holder. If you’re sharing Prime shipping benefits with a family member, they don’t get the free Luna games. The channel currently has Devil May Cry 5, Flashback, and Immortals Fenyx Rising. The latter game is only available March 8th to 14th, though. If you love Ubisoft games, you’re in luck. You can play almost all of them for $17.99 per month with the Ubisoft+ channel.
You can play Luna games on any recent computer with a web browser, but you’ll need one of Amazon’s Fire streaming boxes if you want to play on a TV. You’ll also need a controller for that, and Amazon would be happy to sell you one for $50. The same controller will work with Android and iOS devices. Like the Stadia controller, the Luna controller connects directly to the internet to reduce lag. Limiting access to only the US probably helps, too, but there’s no word on Luna access in other countries.