Amazon Luna Announced; What it means for the industry and why I’m worried

Yesterday at the Amazon 2020 Hardware event, the company announced their next step in the gaming space. A streaming service akin to Goodle Stadia and Game Pass, called Luna.

Out of the gate, this feels like a better package than what Google currently offers on its platform Staida, because of multiple reasons. First and foremost is the price, which will be $6 a month, and you’ll get access to the entire catalog similar to Game Pass. The controller will be $49.99, which is also a nice price after the trend of expensive controllers.
However, you can also play with a mouse and keyboard or a “Bluetooth controller of choice”

It’ll enter early access (soon) on Fire TV, PC, Mac, and iOS. The latter is interesting since Microsoft has a lot of trouble putting Game Pass on the App Store, something that Amazon was very honest with during their presentation.

Just to be super transparent, on iOS, it is through the browser, so it’s not a native app in the App Store

But the most important part about a gaming platform is the games, which Luna luckily has plenty of. Amazon said that the total launch lineup will include more than 100 games.

While it has a great mix of indie games, AAA titles like Control and Metro Exodus – I want to give credit to Ubisoft that truly believes in both new platforms and streaming platforms. They’ve had a big Stadia push, and it seems like they’ll equally support the Luna at launch.

And since Amazon owns Twitch, it’ll feature seamless Twitch integration. The platform will be integrated into the UI and games on Luna, similar to how PS4 has a streams section under selected games, you can watch streams for the game you’re going to play on Luna.

Another upper hand that Amazon has on Google, is the fact that they already have some game studios developing games. For example, earlier this year Amazon released their first game Crucible which had such a bad launch, they went back to the closed beta. They are also working on another game that is targeted towards 2021, called New World.

I think the service sounds great from the get-go. I feel like Amazon already has an upper hand on Google Stadia, their initial reveal wasn’t hyped up, they delivered a great presentation with good information.

It’s affordable, and the fact that you get all games simply by paying the initial fee is a big win over Google. The bigger question is how it stacks up to Game Pass. Well, I think Luna offers a great alternative, and for starters, for now, Game Pass can’t be on Apple devices because of their policy. At the same time, Luna isn’t on Android for now, which Microsoft is.

But in the end, I don’t think that the platforms are what matters, its the games. Bringing Google into the discussion, this is something that they seem to have misunderstood because they started producing exclusive content a few months ago – which means it won’t be ready for a few years most likely.

However, looking at Luna they already own a few studios that develop new IPs. The question is; After Microsoft’s move of buying Zenimax Media (Bethesda, iD Software, etc) will Google or Amazon be more hostile?

I recently wrote an article about this, and my worries on the subject. My conclusion was that I wasn’t worried about Sony or Nintendo getting a publisher, more-so Google, Amazon, or even Tencent. It all depends on how serious Google and Amazon actually are in gaming.

My current stance is that Google will most likely not do anything as big as purchasing a publisher, but I could definitely see Amazon go for it at some point. Whether we’re talking about publishers or not, I think that it’s pretty clear that an acquisition war will break out over the course of the coming two years or so.

If the stance companies take is that gaming should go into Netflix, HBO, Disney+, Hulu pool of services – exclusive content is the key. Microsoft currently seems to excel at putting out the exclusive content on their platforms, while we haven’t seen it from Amazon yet at all. I think the risk is we’ll see developers whether indie, AAA, or publishers get bought by these companies.

Since the future seems to be focused on streaming, I think the two interesting pieces will be Nintendo and PlayStation. Honestly, Nintendo is doing fine, actually, it’s doing great and I don’t think that’s changing. The question is, if PlayStation wants to focus on generations and their hardware, I feel like they have to stop focusing on the competition as much and do “their thing” exactly like Nintendo. Which is: Great exclusives and experiences.

As of right now, I think Amazon Luna has a great shot at being something great from the get-go. They’ve said the correct things, and I’m impressed by their crystal clear messaging. The question will be how their exclusive content will be handled, and that’s what worries me. Will we see the streaming wars begin with the acquisition war?

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