Amazon opens Luna video game streaming to anyone in US
Amazon launched its Luna video game streaming service for the general public on March 1 in the United States, aiming to expand its multi-pronged empire into the booming gaming industry.
Luna allows players to access games directly online with no need for a console as part of the cloud gaming technology that is seen as a future direction of the industry.
“Luna harnesses the power of the cloud, enabling customers to instantly play high quality, immersive games on the devices they already own,” Amazon entertainment services vice president Daniel Rausch said in a release.
Amazon had limited Luna to members of its Prime service as it fine-tuned the service, which takes on Xbox-maker Microsoft and PlayStation-maker Sony as well as Stadia fielded by Google.
Luna+ subscriptions cost $6 monthly, with that rate set to rise to $10 at the start of April.
Other game channels at Luna, including one from French video game powerhouse Ubisoft, are available at additional costs.
Amazon is making some games available free to members of its Prime service, and weaving in features from Twitch game-play and commentary broadcasting platform, according to the release.
Game software is hosted at datacenters and streamed for play on an array of devices including computers and many smartphones “without lengthy downloads or updates, expensive hardware, or complicated configuration,” according to Amazon.
Microsoft is considered the streaming video game heavyweight with its Xbox Game Pass service and large community of players using its consoles and desktop computers.
Microsoft catapulted itself into the big league in one of the world’s most lucrative markets early this year by announcing a $69 billion deal to take over video game maker Activision Blizzard, the biggest acquisition in the sector’s history.
The deal will bring some of the world’s most famous games into Microsoft’s possession, including “Call of Duty,” “Candy Crush” and “Warcraft,” and make it the third-largest gaming company in the world, behind only Sony and Tencent.
Pushing cloud gaming along with mobile platforms and gaining a bigger foothold in Asia are all part of Microsoft’s thinking, according to Niko Partners, which specializes in the gaming sector in Asia.