How Amazon Luna Could Succeed Where Others Failed

Live your life in the cloud

Key Takeaways

  • Luna will offer cloud-gaming on Amazon-based servers.
  • Luna will feature special subscription channels with access to multiple games.
  • Experts believe that Amazon could push more users in with Twitch integration.
Assassin's Creed displayed on a TV with the Amazon Luna logo above it.

With so many cloud gaming services already available, Amazon Luna might seem like just another log to add to an already smoldering fire, but some experts say it could be the "Netflix of games."

Amazon’s cloud gaming service began sending out early access invites this week, just a couple of weeks after the video game streaming service was initially announced. Unlike other streaming services, Luna will offer users various channels that they can subscribe to, giving them access to different games and other content via the cloud. Because of its unique approach to game streaming, as well as its ties to Amazon itself, some experts believe Luna could become the best cloud gaming service on the market.

"The last one to the party gets to avoid all the mistakes their competitors made," Adrian Higgins, software engineer and owner of Musician Nerd wrote in an email. Higgins, who has followed cloud gaming quite extensively, believes that Amazon is setting itself up to take the market by storm.

Going In Prepared

With previous applications like Google Stadia and NVIDIA’s GeForce Now already live, Amazon isn’t the first cloud gaming software to hit the market. Other online game streaming options have come and gone over the years, with more notable entries including OnLive and Gaikai, both of which would go on to be acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment.

While Stadia and GeForce Now have approached cloud-based gaming from different angles (Stadia requires full purchases of games on the Stadia platform and GeForce Now allows streaming of the games you already own), Amazon is approaching it as a subscription service.

A screenshot of the Amazon Luna web page with Request Early Access button available.

"Luna uses a channel-based approach that allows publishers to control their own content," Higgins said. "One of Luna’s largest competitors, NVIDIA GeForce Now, lost a ton of publishers this year for overcontrolling the content." Higgins believes that by giving the publishers full control over what is available on the streaming platform, Amazon is already setting itself up to win big.

This channel system that Higgins mentions is unique in the more recent cloud gaming services. By allowing users to subscribe to different channels, Luna is giving users ways to access different content depending on what they are looking for. Luna+ is already available to early access users, and other channels like one from game publisher Ubisoft are set to arrive down the line. 

Help Along the Way

Another big feature that Higgins believes could push Luna above the rest is Amazon’s close relationship to Twitch. Since the online merchant purchased Twitch in 2014 it has included various ways for the online streaming site to tie in with other Amazon products. Prime Gaming, which offers free subscriptions to your favorite streamers (with other goodies) is another way that Amazon leverages Twitch. 

Amazon owns Twitch and will be integrating the two platforms, allowing you to seamlessly broadcast your gameplay from Luna, said Higgins. "Google does it with Stadia and YouTube Gaming, but Twitch controls two-thirds of the video game streaming market. YouTube Gaming doesn’t come anywhere close to that figure."

The biggest advantage Amazon has with Luna is Amazon Web Services. Considered one of the most powerful web service platforms by many, AWS brings a lot of power to the table. With AWS, Higgins believes that Luna will have excellent online support, helping it beat out the constraints that the competition has in place.

Despite the quick launch, Luna already appears to be making some good first impressions with Twitter users like GnomeFighter3D, who tweeted at the official Luna Twitter account, "Games run great, I’ve yet to have any issues with input lag, frames, etc." Amazon also outlined the early access release, noting that users will have access to the Luna+ channel, which currently featured 50+ games for them to try. Other channels, like the Ubisoft channel, will be available soon, and will include upcoming titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

While Luna is still in the early days, the amount of tools at Amazon’s disposal have high expectations on the rise and experts like Higgins believe that Luna could be the game streaming service that finally fills the "Netflix for games" hole that gamers have been looking for.

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