Amazon revealed its new cloud gaming service, officially called Luna, at its annual Alexa event today. That makes it an immediate competitor to Google’s stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud, Sony’s PlayStation now, and a number of other services from major game publishers.
Amazon’s Marc Whitten, the company’s vice president of entertainment devices and services, revealed what’s the business model?. From what we can glean from the interview, it’s looking a whole lot like the cable of video games.
Luna wo n’t follow the stadia model, which is free but requires users to pay for individual games to stream on the platform. That arrangement lets you stream any of the 100-plus games on the game pass platform but only to an Android device right now.
Luna will offer individual’channels’ for partner publishers. The service will launch sometime soon in early access for a small number of users with just two channels to start.
The first channel will be an Amazon-branded one called Luna plus. It offers access to dozens of games all for $ 5.99 a month. It does n’t appear that Luna will let users pay for any games at all.
The second channel will belong to Ubisoft, which is offering the same perks as Luna plus. Amazon is limiting users to one stream per account instead of the two allowed on Amazon’s channel.
It’s unclear how, say, indie games or titles from midsized publishers that may not be able to support a full-fledged Luna channel will be added. Electronic Arts, which is working on its own cloud gaming platform, did earlier this month partner with Microsoft for Xbox game pass.
Luna’s format sounds like a lucrative format for cloud gaming. Amazon Prime gives you access to Prime video for free with your monthly or annual payment.
Amazon gets a cut of all monthly subscription revenue in exchange for managing account sign-ups and powering the entire Luna channel on its AWS cloud computing platform. The whole thing feels a lot like a basic cable package with add-ons you pay for separately or the cord-cutter equivalent of paying for a half-dozen streaming services.
Nvidia’s model lets you play games you already own via valve’s steam marketplace on a number of screens, including a Mac or Android phone.
The service was initially met with fierce opposition from game publishers when it exited beta. Nvidia began charging for the service earlier this year. Many publishers have since opted back into NVIDIA’s platform.