It’s been a long time since we’ve heard anything significant from Luna, an Amazon game streaming service that’s a lot like Google Stadia, Xbox Game Streaming, and other cloud-based ways to stream video games from a server farm to the screen of your choice. Today, Amazon is breaking the silence of streaming with a few new ways to get more players into Luna for less money.
The first step includes Amazon’s massive Prime service, which is finally becoming an instant, free way with your subscription to stream Luna games. Starting now, paying Prime members can either download the Luna website or install the Luna app on any compatible device, sync a compatible gamepad, and play four very powerful video games: Resident Evil 7And subway displacementAnd Katmari Damasi Reroll, And Monster Boy and Cursed Kingdom.
This access does not require a subscription to a free Luna trial, nor does it pause any of these games after an arbitrary limit of hours or game progress. But there’s a catch: Prime access to these four games expires in seven days, on September 15th — at which point anyone who wants to keep playing these four games can officially sign up for the “Luna+” tier for $5.99 per month (with the release of Free seven-day trial, if you haven’t claimed one of these yet). Before September 15th, at least, no official subscription to Luna is required.
If you keep at it, your progress in these games will be saved and carried over, and you’ll have access to an even larger library of streamable games: up to 95 in Luna+ as of press time, which range from relatively new to pretty tacky. This cost compares favorably to the $14.99 per month cost of streaming Xbox games: 60 percent less, with games about 60 percent less. But why isn’t Amazon adding Luna’s long-running access to Amazon Prime’s $129.99 a year pile and skipping over this series of episodes, already?
As we’ve seen in the past, Amazon likes to arbitrarily grant various Prime privileges, and then take them away. Gamers in particular felt the sting in the form of sweeping changes to what was previously Twitch Prime and is now called Prime Gaming. Perhaps this seven-day trial is a tease for more ways to connect Luna and Prime in the future, or maybe it’s a temporary test to see if Amazon’s bean counters think Luna’s Prime-related gifts are worth maintaining.
The Luna Family: very little for $2.99 a month
The company’s second major step in software and pricing comes in the form of Luna Family, a new category of gaming access that costs $2.99 a month and focuses on e-fare for everyone. And the choice of game (printed in full at the end of the article) is not too bad.
Primer for Beginners: Luna offers subscriptions to various levels that interested players can pick up and place as they see fit, with some levels selected by the publisher. Luna Family can be your only Luna subscription, or you can use it as a cheap add-on on top of your other game collection subscriptions.
The 35 games that make up the opening roster for Luna Family include the likes of the critically acclaimed death boxAnd Super Mega Baseball, And Overcooked, a fully serviceable 3D platform for SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, the middle race Garfield Kart. You’ll also get additional kids-approved games that fall somewhere between those on the quality scale. Given that parents might not fall back on the $30 sticker price for a recognizable kid-friendly video game, the $36 per year estimate for 35 Luna Family games certified by Amazon is respectable.
Amazon goes further by emphasizing the ease of shared screen and collaborative collaboration for many of its Luna Family games, and its sales offering has a rare cloud-specific component: Load a Luna Family game on two devices, each streaming from the cloud, and they’ll be able to On downloading the same co-op or versus game. Each player will still see the exact same feed, rather than giving each player, say, their own unique first person view on their own screen. But if you have ever seen two sets of arcade sets with the same screen for a series like Street Fighter And you want to give your kids the same experience using two tablets and the same thing Garfield Kart Feed, there you are.
Luna Couch as a free path to participation, plus: Ubisoft+, “retro” tier
Speaking of shared screen functionality: If you’re a paid Luna subscriber on any of its tiers and want to host a replica of couch co-op, even with friends who aren’t paying, the new Luna Couch is for you. Upload a compatible game, create a “Luna Couch” link and share it with anyone else online, whether they live nearby or far, far away. Anyone can join for free, without having to pay or a Luna account – although not knowing exactly how international participation works.
If your friend uploads your link either in their web browser or in their compatible app, they will immediately take over one of the game controllers. This is because, again, you are all connected to one cloud server, so it can send a server farm game session to everyone equally. Amazon hasn’t stated exactly how many Luna Couch slots a single game instance can support or whether each of its players can arbitrarily grab console slots (eg I’m in one slot, a friend and wife in the second slot, and another friend himself in the the third).
This functionality is particularly similar to DIY cloud multiplayer services like Fightcade, which allow people to spin cloud instances and play “online” multiplayer in games that don’t officially support such a feature. The Luna Couch doesn’t seem to work in a “universal” way, so either the Luna game officially supports the Luna Couch, or it doesn’t – and we can’t yet say if its offering goes beyond GGPO’s approval of other DIY services. Either way, no official paid cloud gaming service currently has a similar “I sign up, join my session for free” option, which means Amazon has won this round of the cloud gaming battle over one of the services.
Today’s news also includes an increase in the number of games available as part of Luna’s Ubisoft+ channel, which will now include all-new games as soon as they appear on other consoles. This means this fall Far Cry 6 And Republic of Riders. As a result, Amazon is raising the price of that category to $17.99 a month, up from the current $14.99 a month; If you want to keep the old rate, start the subscription before September 30th and keep it. And Amazon has hinted at an upcoming “retro” Luna category, made up of games from SNK, Atari, and other classic publishers. However, the company has not confirmed the price, launch date, or the complete library.
But the perennial problem with gaming service from the cloud is your communication environment. Do you live near the server pool of a particular service? Can you play on a wired broadcast box? Can you tolerate any lag that appears? And how big are your bandwidth limits? But game companies continue to press ahead with increasingly competitive streaming options, and in a world with a chip shortage — where new consoles sell out and it takes regular game patches to download — these aren’t the worst backup options for fast and affordable games.
Luna Family Games Collection
(Any game listed in bold is compatible with Luna Couch.)
- Beach Buggy Racing 2: Hot Wheels Edition
- bee simulator
- Bridge builder portal
- Buildings have feelings too!
- death box
- DreamWorks Dragons: Dawn of New Riders
- The Son – A Tale of the Wild West
- Garfield Kart – Furious Racing
- The Gianna Sisters: Twisted Dreams
- melting world
- Adventures of Momonga Pinball
- Monster Truck Championship: Rebel Hunter Edition
- Collecting! Box by Box
- race with the sun
- Skelittle: Giant Party!!
- Summer Smoots Games
- World Cup Tennis Smooths
- snake lane
- space otter charlie
- spirit of the north
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Moisturizer
- summer paws
- Super kickers final league
- Super Mega Baseball: Extra Rounds
- adventure friends
- Tracks – Toybox Edition
- Transformers: Battlegrounds
- Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia
- urban experimental stadium
- Wonder Song
- Yuno and the Celestial Elephant
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Listing image from amazon