Games: Amazon launches multi-platform friendly Luna streaming game service in the US

Amazon's new streaming game service is effectively a 'gaming Netflix'
Amazon's new streaming game service is effectively a 'gaming Netflix' Amazon's new streaming game service is effectively a 'gaming Netflix'

I REMEMBER when Amazon only sold books. Not content to stream boxsets to your eyeballs, deliver drone drops of bog roll then listen to every grunt through Alexa, the online Goliath is now entering the gaming ring with a streaming service to rival Google's maligned Stadia.

As the pandemic relegates us to skulking in our hellholes like blind cave fish, gamers' loins are a-quiver in anticipation of new hardware from Sony and Microsoft. But rather than resort to a new console in the living room, Amazon hopes gamers will instead suckle at its servers for their hit.

Announced alongside an in-home flying security drone that'll make it much easier for the NSA to poke around your gaff, Luna is the latest hat-toss into the cloud gaming ring, promising to pump virtual escape down our network cables.

Unlike Google's much-maligned Stadia effort, which required both a monthly subscription on top of game purchases, Amazon's deal is much simpler, offering an initial glut of 100 games for an "introductory price" of six bucks a month, available on PC, Mac, Amazon Fire TV, and iOS.

The all-you-can-eat model is closer to a gaming Netflix – though at some point surely Netflix itself will join the party – and while there's no sign of the Luna eclipse on these shores yet, expect it soon.

Being a streaming service means you're at the mercy of your broadband connection, though, with no dedicated console to download games to, so hinterlands-types may well have to contend with constant buffering messages. With a beefy connection, however, all Luna titles will be playable at up to 4K, including the likes of Control, Panzer Dragoon, The Surge 2, Yooka-Laylee and Resident Evil 7. More will be added over time, and games can be played on up to two devices simultaneously with a single subscription.

In addition, Amazon has partnered with Ubisoft to create a gaming channel exclusive to Luna, giving subscribers access to the French giant's titles the same day they release, including Assassins Creed Valhalla and Far Cry 6.

Working like Prime Video, it seems Luna will offer additional channels dedicated to certain publishers, each with a separate fee. Think Sky – you get the basics for your subscription and pay extra for the perks.

Twitch integration means when you spy your favourite streamer playing, you can instantly launch the same game at the click of a button. And said buttons come mounted in a handsome controller that mimics the best, essentially ripping off the Switch Pro for an introductory price of 50 bucks, though I'm less than enthusiastic about lining Jeff Bezos' silk pockets even more – every penny I give to the cueball-headed tax-dodger chips away a sliver of my soul.

While game streaming has yet to dent traditional consoles, it seems physical copies are sadly going the way of vinyl, where only weary old farts like myself value the tactile joys of a box and shiny disc that's yours to keep, smell and fondle. And good luck trying to play classics in 20 years' time if companies decide to pull them from their online catalogue.

Ah well, we'll all be dead by then anyway, our carcasses having been drone-lifted out of Amazon's concentration camps.