Amazon today revealed new Echo products and also a new cloud gaming service called “Luna” that will be available later this year. Interestingly enough, the company promises support for Windows, Mac, Fire TV, Android devices, and surprisingly, iPhone and iPad.
Luna will be launched with over 100 games available, including titles such as Resident Evil 7, Control, Panzer Dragoon, A Plague Tale: Innocence, and The Surge 2, with more titles coming in the future.
Thanks to a partnership with Ubisoft, Luna users will also have access to a specific gaming channel with Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising. Games can run at up to 4K 60fps resolution for selected titles on the Luna platform, which is entirely powered by Amazon Web Services.
According to Amazon, Luna will be released for Windows, macOS, Android, and even iOS — which sounds extremely surprising. As pointed out by The Verge, Luna games will be available in iOS as web apps, but there are no further details on how this will work.
Apple announced this month new App Store guidelines addressing game streaming services, which weren’t allowed on the App Store. The company says that streaming games are now allowed, as long as developers submit each game to the App Store as separate apps in compliance with all guidelines.
The Cupertino-based company has stated that developers who choose not to follow the App Store rules can offer web apps, although these apps have several limitations compared to a native app.
Streaming games are permitted so long as they adhere to all guidelines — for example, each game update must be submitted for review, developers must provide appropriate metadata for search, games must use in-app purchase to unlock features or functionality, etc. Of course, there is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.
It’s not clear whether Amazon will launch Luna on iOS as a web app to bypass the App Store guidelines or whether the company has decided to launch each individual streaming game on the App Store, as Apple suggests. If these are real web apps, it will be interesting to see how these games will perform since websites don’t have access to controls and sensors as installed apps do.
Although this seems more unlikely, Amazon may have come to an agreement with Apple to offer the Luna platform on the App Store. Both Microsoft and Google gave up on providing their streaming gaming platforms on iOS due to strict App Store guidelines. It’s worth mentioning that Apple and Amazon already have some special agreements regarding Amazon Prime Video on the App Store and Apple TV app.
Update: Amazon told Engadget that Luna will be available as a PWA for iOS users. The company says it has worked with the Safari team to make sure everything works as expected, and it also mentioned that Amazon will continue to work with Apple to enhance Luna’s experience in iOS devices.
Luna’s official controller will communicate directly with Amazon’s server instead of using native system controls, so the games can run smoothly even through the PWA version. As expected, game progress is synchronized between all devices.
Amazon also suggested that Luna’s games might come to the iOS App Store as native apps in the future.
We’ll continue working with Apple. We’d love to do a native experience. They’re evaluating what their policies are there, they keep talking about them. And when we can come up with a good experience there, we’ll ship that one, too.
Amazon Luna will be available for an introductory price of $5.99 per month. Users in the US can already request early access to the service, but Amazon hasn’t said when the platform will be available in more countries.
Don’t forget to check out our full coverage on 9to5Toys of everything Amazon announced today.
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