Amazon Luna – The Netflix Of Gaming?
In an effort to make way into the gaming market, Amazon has officially revealed their latest development, a video game streaming platform for desktop, mobile, and Fire TV devices known as Amazon Luna.
Some may have anticipated this move by Amazon due to a multitude of factors, such as their own cutting-edge streaming technologies, their video game development tools on AWS (Amazon Web Services), and of course, Amazon’s 2014 acquisition of the Twitch streaming platform.
Granted, the concept of streaming games from your desktop or mobile is nothing new, with implementations such as Google’s Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud, and NVIDIA’s GeForce Now dominating the market, however there is a certain lack of popularity, as well as some major differences between these platforms, allowing room for Amazon to take storm. There is also a massive amount of room for improvement, with the existing platforms struggling to maintain consistent connectivity and strengthened lag control, though they have improved drastically over the years.
Of course, Amazon is known for their high-quality streaming technology, being one of the leaders in cloud technology, and they always seem to have success in every market they disrupt. It offers a great deal of confidence to consider Amazon’s Luna will be powered by Amazon Web Services & NVIDIA’s GPU units, which are the industry leading graphics cards.
As we mentioned, Amazon Luna will be accessible by almost every device, especially thanks to their Fire TV integration. This concept was first adopted by Google with their Chromecast Ultra allowing you to use Stadia on any monitor or TV.
The mobile implementation of Amazon Luna is an especially interesting one. They will be using what’s known as a PWA (Progressive Web App), which is a type of application that’s powered by web technology for use on mobile & desktop devices. In the software world, there is a pretty clear-cut difference between web apps and mobile/desktop apps, and because many go into the web space due to the immense popularity, they developed a method to serve web apps on those devices without learning new technologies.
In Amazon’s case, this is a sneaky way of dodging the controversial App Store / Play Store fees that you’ve likely been hearing about on the news. Many began to take notice when Hey.com called out Apple for selectively charging people fee’s, and making exceptions for others, and because Hey uses an annual subscription model, losing out on 30% can easily eat into the profit margin. The controversy was further accelerated by Epic Games when they were removed from the App Store for setting up a method to collect microtransactions without Apple’s involvement.
For Amazon, the Luna platform is not expected to be a big money maker, and so keeping the little profits they will make is essential for this platform to be a success.
How Much Will Luna Cost?
With 3 major technology companies already filling the video game streaming market, many are wondering if Amazon will get their piece. To accurately predict their success, we need to understand what their competitors are doing, and how Amazon is going to be different. Here’s the breakdown:
⦁ Microsoft’s xCloud is pretty much a rehashed version of Xbox live & Game Pass. This service allows unlimited access to a large library of video games with multiplayer capabilities for $14.99/month.
⦁ NVIDIA’s GeForce Now doesn’t offer any library, but instead the access to their remote servers to play any game you already own. What’s unique is they offer a free tier, that’s more similar to a “demo”, offering 2k resolution in one-hour sessions. If you pay their $4.99/month premium, however, you will get access to higher-grade remote GPU’s in six-hour sessions.
⦁ Google’s Stadia is in a way a combination of both of the above. They allow you to play any game you own for free with 2k resolution, similar to NVIDIA, while offering 4k resolution and a rotation of games in their premium version, at $9.99/month. Some may see this as the best of both worlds.
Amazon Luna, however, is taking a totally new approach to this business. Rather than subscribe to a single library, they’re using a “channel” approach, where you the user decide what collection of games you’re willing to pay for.
The only two offerings they’ve informed us of thus far are the Luna Plus channel and the Ubisoft channel. Luna Plus will offer an unknown selection of games for an “early access pricing” of $5.99/month, while the Ubisoft channel is expected to offer a selection of their own games for an unknown price.
This approach is expected to be a massive hit amongst video game publishers, as it will allow them total control over their content. In early 2020 we witnessed a major fallout with NVIDIA and a handful of game publishers due to NVIDIA getting ahead of themselves and calling too many shots.
One key factor we need to consider as well is Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch, a popular streaming platform. This acquisition (which amounted to nearly $1Billion) allows Amazon to integrate Luna with Twitch & Amazon Music, which not only allows them to leverage an existing large customer base, but also provide a seamless experience for any gamer interested in Luna.
Google follows this same model with YouTube Gaming, however, that platform is far less popular than Twitch. Twitch is used by nearly 66% of video game streamers, offering Amazon a massive advantage for Luna, and potentially take the lead in this space.
It’s safe to say that there’s a lot of room for Amazon’s Luna to grow in without a clearly defined leader in the video game streaming space. Their technological advantages with AWS, strategic approach to publishers controlling their content, and ownership of Twitch give Amazon a major edge, and we’re very excited to see what comes of Luna.
While early access is invitation-only, you can request access at:
As we close out 2020 and head into 2021, we expect a lot more news to come out, so stay tuned.
Will Luna take off or be a flop? Let us know what you think on our IG at blerdofficial
Also thank you to Musician Nerd for putting this on our radar. If you are looking for information on what microphones to get for your gaming setup make sure to check them out!