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Amazon Takes A Stab At The Cloud Gaming Business

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Perhaps someday, no one will own any games, not even digitally. We’ll all rent them from large corporations and play them on the cloud forever (or until the day they’re taken off the servers and replaced with other games). Based on the tepid response to Google Stadia, we’d say that day hasn’t come yet. Maybe someone should have told Amazon.

Today the e-business behemoth announced Luna, a very Stadia-like cloud gaming service that has its own controller and a virtual library of games. Luna’s initial lineup isn’t even as impressive as Stadia’s was — it’s mostly indie stuff, though to be fair, it’s the good kind of indie stuff. Both Yooka-Laylee games, Bloodstained, Iconoclasts, Indivisible, Wonder Boy, River City Girls, Abzu, Ryme, and others have been spotted on the menu screenshots.

Sonic Mania appears to be there, as does Control, The Surge 2, Resident Evil 7, and the Panzer Dragoon remake. But here’s the twist: though Luna offers all those games, you may not be able to play all of them at once. Other cloud gaming services work through a flat fee, but Luna will charge in “tiers” which means you’ll pay for access to clumps of games at a time. Want a game? Rent the clump it’s in.

There will be several clumps, some of which no one knows anything about, but we can inform you of an impending Ubisoft clump that will offer Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising, among other things. The best thing we can say about Luna at this point is that XBox and Playstation controllers will be compatible with it, so you don’t HAVE to purchase a specific Luna controller.

Amazon hasn’t announced a finalized release date for Luna yet, but it’s offering the service in Early Access beta form starting today (only by invitation, so you must be a chosen one). It’ll be available on Fire TV, Mac, Windows PC, Android and iOS….yes, we just said iOS. What does Amazon have on Apple that Microsoft and Google don’t? It likely has something to do with the promised access “through web apps,” which means it’s a workaround.