Amazon’s game streaming service leaves its invite-only beta
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Amazon Luna — the company’s cloud-based game streaming service — is officially launching in the US today for anyone to use, in addition to adding a variety of new features, including free games for Amazon Prime members.
Luna was announced in fall 2020, but since then, it has only been available to a limited number of customers through an invite-only “early access” program. Today’s launch, however, finally opens up the service for anyone to use in the United States, which could significantly expand the number of Luna customers.
Alongside the broader launch, Amazon also announced three additional “channels” (Luna’s term for bundles of games that customers can subscribe to on a monthly basis, similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass) that customers will be able to enjoy.
The most notable of the new additions is the Prime Gaming Channel, which will offer Amazon Prime members a selection of free games to play on Luna that rotate each month. To start things off in March, Prime members will get access to Devil May Cry 5, Observer, System Redux, PHOGS!, and Flashback. Additionally, Immortals Fenyx Rising will also be available to play for free but only from March 8th through March 14th (instead of the entire month, as is the case for the other titles listed).
Also launching on Luna is the “Retro Channel,” which will include classic games like Street Fighter II—Hyper Fighting, Metal Slug 3, and Castlevania Anniversary Collection, and the “Jackbox Games Channel,” which includes all eight Jackbox Party Pack titles. Amazon is also using the Jackbox Games Channel to debut a new “Luna Couch” feature that lets other friends join you in playing even if they don’t subscribe to Luna themselves. Both the Retro Channel and Jackbox Games Channel will cost $4.99 per month.
Luna works differently from other cloud services, like Google Stadia, where players can purchase games like they would for any other non-streaming-based platform. Instead, players subscribe on a monthly basis to individual channels, which come with their own bundles of games. Currently, Amazon offers the primary Luna Plus channel ($5.99 per month), the Ubisoft Plus channel ($17.99 per month), and the Family Channel ($2.99), along with the new additions mentioned above.
Lastly, Amazon is using the official Luna launch to debut a few new features for the platform. The company is leveraging its ownership of Twitch to add native support for one-click broadcasting — simply press a button on Luna, and you’ll instantly be able to stream your game live, complete with a camera feed overlay. There’s even a QR code system for users playing on Fire TV to link their phone to use as a webcam.
And for those who don’t have a dedicated controller (like the optional Luna Controller Amazon sells), the company is adding the ability to use an iPhone or Android smartphone as a controller when you’re playing on Fire TV.
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Amazon Luna launches for anyone in the US, adds free games for Prime members and Twitch integration – The Verge