The cloud gaming service market has been expanding and the intensity of competition has heightened further with the entry of Google with its Google Stadia and Amazon with its Amazon Luna. For its part, Amazon expands its business and reiterates its business interest in digital publishing with the introduction of its own cloud gaming service.
Officially launched on 1 March 2021, the service promises to offer a range of game titles across different genres, including top-rated games from established game developers and AAA games. Furthermore, it also promises a stable gaming experience as it takes advantage of Amazon Web Services. This article reviews the pros and cons of Amazon Luna.
Pros of Amazon Luna: Reasons Why You Should Subscribe
Initial reactions regarding the upcoming launch of Amazon Luna were positive. Observers noted that the tech company can pull off a cloud gaming service given its expertise and experience in providing on-demand cloud computing platforms through its Amazon Web Services. The actual service did not disappoint upon its launch.
Below are the specific features, advantages, and reasons why you should subscribe to this cloud gaming service from Amazon:
• Minimal Network Latency and Lag: One of the major strengths or advantages of Amazon Luna is that it uses the existing network infrastructure of Amazon Web Services or AWS to deliver on-demand gaming with low network latency and lag. AWS has data centers across the world, thus allowing it to reach as many people as possible. Furthermore, in cloud gaming, the closer the gamer to a data center, the less likely he or she would experience network problems.
• Available in Different Platforms: Similar to Google Stadia and unlike PlayStation Now or Apple Arcade, another selling point of this cloud gaming service from Amazon is that it is available in different operating systems and devices. These include macOS, Windows, Android, iOS and iPadOS, and ChromeOS, as well as most web browsers such as Google Chrome and Safari. The Luna Controller complements the entire user experience but games on this service are also playable using Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers, as well as a computer mouse and keyboard.
• Flexible Subscription Plan: The subscription plans are categorized into so-called channels. Each channel represents a collection of games and subscribing to one gives a user unlimited access to this collection. The Amazon Luna Plus channel costs USD 9.99 per month. Other channels are cheaper. For example, the Family Channel and the Retro Channel cost USD 5.99 per month. Game developer Ubisoft also has its own channel with its dedicated catalog of games.
Cons of Amazon Luna: Reasons Why You Should Not Subscribe
Most of the selling points and advantages of Amazon Luna are similar to the strengths of Google Stadia. These two services have the potential to dominate the cloud gaming market. However, both also suffer from limitations and drawbacks that are typical to new market entrants. These include issues regarding pricing and vis-à-vis its game library.
Below are the specific issues, disadvantages, and reasons why you should not subscribe to this cloud gaming service from Amazon:
Expensive With Multiple Channels: A probable disadvantage of Amazon Luna is that subscribing to different channels all at once can jack up the total subscription cost. Remember that the Plus channel costs USD 9.99 per month while channels such as Family and Retro cost USD 5.99 per month each. Subscribing to all three will bring the total subscription cost to USD 21.97 per month. The Ubisoft Plus channel is also expensive at USD 17.99 per month.
Limited But Expanding Game Library: The game library or catalog of games can make or break a cloud gaming service. Xbox Game Pass Library has about 258 game titles while the catalog of PlayStation Now has over 800 games. Amazon Luna has about 120 game titles and its entire library is currently expanding. Still, the fact remains that it has an inferior library compared with two of its largest competitors. Note that Google Stadia also has a small but expanding library of more than 200 game titles.
Verdict: Pros and Cons of Amazon Luna
With an expanding game library that currently contains about 120 game titles, Amazon Luna can soon compete with bigger and more established cloud gaming services such as Xbox Cloud Gaming and PlayStation Now. However, to do so, it needs to expand its library as fast as possible to make it more appealing to its target customers and existing subscribers. This is also the same challenge that needs to be addressed by Google Stadia.
The subscription plans organized through the so-called channels provide subscribers with a considerable level of flexibility. Some might find this off-putting because subscribing to multiple channels can cost between USD 21.97 to USD 39.96. It should be reiterated that these added costs are optional. Amazon Luna is essentially a pay-for-what-you-want cloud gaming service structured similar to the Amazon Prime video streaming channels.
Nevertheless, this cloud gaming service from Amazon is still worth exploring. Seasoned gamers might come across some rare finds in its game library. Furthermore, existing subscribers of Amazon services such as Amazon Prime might not mind subscribing to another service from the same company. It is still important to note that Xbox Cloud Gaming and PlayStation Now are better alternatives for individuals who want to dive deeper into cloud gaming.