It's been over a year since Amazon first released its. The game streaming subscription service works well technically, but its value proposition as a monthly subscription service has faced competition from other subscription and streaming services including , Nvidia's , and . Technically, Luna was in an early-access phase before, and it's now officially launching in the US with more game channels, and added Prime and Twitch integration.
Game streaming still remains a bit of an unknown quantity compared to gaming on PCs and consoles and phones, especially when subscription gaming services also exist that don't require cloud streaming. But tossing in a rotating batch of free monthly games for Prime customers seems like a way to pull more people into trying Luna's services with no extra cost, which is a movewhen Luna was announced back in 2020. Prime membership, while already used by many people, recently to $139 a year.
Luna's Prime gaming offerings are an expansion of Amazon's existing Prime Gaming, which already has free downloadable games each month. Luna's first streaming Prime games for March are Devil May Cry 5, Observer, System Redux, PHOGS!, Flashback and a more limited one-week access to Immortals: Fenyx Rising. While games will cycle in and out of free access, Amazon confirmed to CNET that game saves will be kept even if the player isn't a Luna Plus subscriber yet.
While the free Prime games are new, the price for Amazon's Luna Plus service, which has a subset of streaming games separate from its additional add-on gaming channels, will be going up from $6 a month currently to $10 a month on April 1.
Luna's Twitch integration, meanwhile, will add instant game broadcasting while playing, using a device's cameras to add a webcam stream as well. The Twitch integration will work on laptops, phones and on Amazon's Fire tablets. The connection to Twitch sounds like it's designed to work pretty instantly, with some flexible customization for extra monitors or screen layouts, but I haven't tried it yet.
Amazon also added a Retro gaming channel for $5 a month. The games announced so far include SNK, Capcom, and Konami titles (Castlevania Anniversary Collection, Street Fighter II - Hyper Fighting, and Metal Slug 3), but many of these games are available at low costs elsewhere. A little more intriguing is a new Jackbox Games channel, which adds all the existing multiplayer Jackbox Games collections for $5 a month, and can be used with multiplayer/screen sharing options.
Amazon Luna's General Manager, George Tsipolitis, told CNET that future Twitch integration could further explore multiplayer gaming hosted by live players, the sort of broadcast-meets-competition ideas that Google Stadia has with some games via Crowd Play on YouTube. Amazon's own original games could end up appearing on Luna, too. "We are super thrilled with the success of New World and Lost Ark. We're working with [those teams] to figure out how to get that selection available online as well. You will see, over time, a better integration on that front."