Amazon Entering Cloud Gaming
LUNA is Amazon's latest entry to the already crowded cloud gaming market. From a positioning point of view, it is between GeForce Now and Stadia.
You will not be able to stream games that you already own, but there will be many channels. Which means it isn't precisely like Stadia either.
So it looks like Amazon is taking a page out of the Amazon Prime Video book where the channel construct is already implemented.
The first channel Amazon will open for Luna is one from Ubisoft. Next to the general Luna+ channel that comes from Amazon.
This model allows for a much more selective bundling from the customer side. Games that you wouldn't want you don't have to pay for.
As for Cloud Gaming accustomed, you will be able to use it everywhere. Including iOS because instead of causing trouble as EPIC did, Amazon decided to use the open web. Progressive Web App to be more precise.
Streams will go up to full had, 4k is on the list but not there for the launch. And you can get a Luna controller, much like Stadia.
With Stadia, we have a platform that adds value by offering the game to players and allowing for much deeper software integration. One of the clear benefits of Stadia is the possibility to scale games.
Allowing for a lot more players in the same universe.
But this needs special software. Running existing games without tweaking is not possible.
Most of the games on Stadia are not using the full potential. They are ports of existing platforms.
GeForce Now from NVIDIA is different. Here you buy the processing power. There is minimal benefit besides performance and accessibility. The list of added benefits is small. But you can use it for the games that you own and is available much broader.
Luna is somewhere between, as it can't run your existing games. It has no extra functionality and is not able to run your pre-owned games. That is where the gaming channels come in.
Having the best cloud infrastructure and hosting provider in AWS makes an excellent foundation for Luna. While Google also plays in that segment, as does Microsoft.
Increasing the utility from existing systems still has its merits.
What was valid with Stadia is also true with Luna. With a gaming platform like YouTube or, in Amazon's case Twitch, you directly access a large customer base.
Using them to generate a more interactive environment is excellent. As more and more are looking to create there own ecosystem and keep them within there reach.
One clear step that Amazon already announced is the Twitch integration: "Watch popular Twitch streams directly from Luna and go from watching Twitch to instantly playing on Luna."
I guess it is fair to say that most cloud gaming providers will get the technical details done. I can't see someone pacing ahead with superior processing or anything related to it.
So for me, there are two segments where it will be decided.
Content is the first, who can get those AAA titles and offer them exclusively or create there own. With Microsoft on a shopping spree, Amazon has already seen how hard it is to see this war already.
Services and ecosystem are, for me, the second significant sector to look out for. Those YouTube / Stadia or Twitch / Luna combinations are powerful. Jumping live into action with your favorite streamer or following a let's play 1:1 might be very powerful.
Stadia has a small advantage here, as they right from the start offered a platform for gamers and publishers. They are allowing a much deeper integration. But this has come as a disadvantage from the content perspective.
Predicting the future is, as always, super tricky. From the current looks, I would assume we will have a similar ecosystem as we have with cloud computing.
There will be a dominating player, and then a few others left and right with different offerings, which makes sense, especially when you have diverse backgrounds. I would worry more because the need for gaming PC's will decrease more and more this way for the hardware sellers. Imagine Amazon Prime will be bundled with Luna ...