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Amazon Joins the Streaming Wars with Luna

I hate to admit it as a collector who enjoys having something to show for his purchases, but the future of gaming has continues to point towards an all-digital future. Both Sony and Microsoft will be launching their next generation of consoles with disc and disc-less variants, and companies continue to scratch their heads as they try to bring Netflix-like game streaming to the mainstream market. Google’s Stadia, while initially promising, proved to be a pretty big flop with both consumers and game developers alike. I’d say we’re still a ways from cloud gaming being the end-all solution moving forward, but that hasn’t stopped corporate giant Amazon from throwing their hat in the ring with Luna.

Revealed last week, Amazon Luna already has quite a few aspects that give it an edge over Google’s Stadia. For one thing, you aren’t going to need to go out and purchase the company’s streaming box (or a console) in order to get in on the fun. You’ll be able to stream games on your PC, Mac and Apple devices as well as Android at some point later on. Of course, the service will also work on the Fire TV if you have one.

Amazon will be launching a controller that looks quite similar to the Nintendo Switch’s lovely Pro. You’ll also be able to use an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller out the gate. At the same time, you might think that purchasing another controller might be silly. Suppose you can use one you’ve already got lying around (and are familiar with). In that case, the Luna controller hopes to circumvent one of the most significant issues regarding cloud gaming-input latency. According to the official Amazon listing for the unit, it “Connects directly to Amazon’s custom game servers when playing on Luna,” said Amazon. “This way was reducing roundtrip latency by 17 to 30 milliseconds vs. a local Bluetooth connection among PC, Mac, and Fire TV.” Currently available via early access (more on that later), it will be shipping for $49.99.

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None of this truly matters without a lineup of great games to play, and this is where my primary concern lies. Amazon hasn’t confirmed many games, but it has promised that there will be over 100 games to play when Luna officially launches (TBA). Real bangers are being established. Sonic Mania Plus and Yooka Laylee & The Impossible Lair are being confirmed alongside Assassin’s Creed- Valhalla and Control for starts. Press images also suggest that we’ll be seeing indie gems such as Steamworld Dig 2 and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero on the service. But they aren’t officially confirmed just yet. However, these games are available on all other major platforms without the need for a robust internet connection. If you don’t happen to own any modern consoles or a PC that’s not from the stone age, I can see some real value. Chances are, however, that you do- especially if you’re browsing Anime Pad.

Luna will cost you $5.99 at its introductory price when it officially releases in October of this year. If you’re looking to become an early adopter, you can request early access to the service here. Amazon is currently recommending internet speeds of “10Mbps for 1080p and 35Mbps for 4K.” so be sure to check that out ahead of time.

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While Amazon Luna appears to have the edge over the Stadia failure, I’m not entirely convinced just yet. Services like PS Now, PS Collection, and Xbox Game Pass allow subscribers to download games to their consoles. These services prevent the need to have a strong internet connection to get the optimal gameplay experience. Ultimately, I think Luna’s success will hinge on its library and reduce latency on both the streaming and controller side of things. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments!

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