Google Stadia, Google’s answer to cloud gaming, promised a lot to its gaming users, such as cloud gaming, with resolutions up to 4k supported at 60 frames per second display with added support for HDR (high-dynamic-range). These were all put into shambles as games became unplayable. Users paid subscriptions & games and got in return the uncertain possibility of them becoming inaccessible at any given time; This was all done by Google’s poor execution in the market. How will Amazon make a difference with the release of its Luna service?
One thing is for sure; Amazon must learn from Google’s mistakes to make Luna successful. The question is, has Amazon & its Luna development division learned from Google & its Stadia division’s mistakes?
What is Amazon Luna?
Google released its cloud gaming platform, Stadia, a year ago. It is no surprise that Amazon, their direct rival, decided to launch its rivalling platform called Luna. Both platforms essentially stream cloud applications on computers, Macs, Fire TV, even iPhone/iPads through certified specialty web applications made for mobile devices. Amazon’s Android software development & design department announced that it would bring support to Android devices.
Amazon Luna promises to target for its customers over 1001 games initially, including “Control, GRID, Abzu, Sonic Mania and many more.
From a pricing perspective, the introducing price of Luna+ will be 5.99$ per month; additionally, you can subscribe to the Ubisoft channel to access some of the firm’s most famous titles.
What does $5.99 per month get you? It gets you unlimited gameplay, access to all the games in the Luna+ library, and 1080p resolution with 60 frames per second during gameplay.
But why should you get it? How does it differ?
Luna will be more refined at launch than Google Stadie was; Now, of course, you are wondering how you play the games? Well, Amazon is developing its very own Luna controller for gameplay. The controller is said to skip latency of Bluetooth or local connections & connect directly to Amazon’s cloud servers; This is expected to cut latency by 17-30 milliseconds, which does not sound like much but to gamers, is a very substantial difference. The Luna controller will cost $49.99 when purchased during the early access. Of course, Amazon Luna will please streamers as it will feature integration with Twitch (Amazon’s streaming service). With a click of a button, users can stream their gameplay onto Twitch.
What does Amazon need to learn from Google?
It’s safe to say Google Stadia had mistakes ever since the news of the release. The main issue of Google Stadia was the latency issue. It was so bad that one journalist from ApparelGeek stated, ‘I hit the spacebar once I joined the game, it took a whole full second to register it.’ Besides the latency, the business model & release notes/software design & development of Stadia was sandbagged from the beginning.
“We expected Netflix of games, a gigantic suite of games for a low monthly fee but instead got something way stranger. A hamstrung piecemeal selection of mostly mediocre games for free & an invitation to pay full price for recently released games” stated ApparelGeek. In 2020, Google Stadia is a ghost town with no one playing on it.
Seeing that failure, Amazon & its Luna development division have learned a thing or two from the failure of Google’s Stadia. On release date, Luna states it will have over 100 games to play for a $5 monthly subscription. In comparison to Stadia, which gives only 25 free games with its pro service. Luna also promises that it will not charge consumers extra for new release games on top of its monthly
cost. Finally, Amazon’s executives in charge of Luna acknowledge the platform isn’t to compete with Sony’s PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox; however, it is to lower the entry point for gamers, providing the cheapest way to dip into gaming to ‘burn those extra free minutes2’.
Why Stadia failed, yet Luna succeeded.
Well, we all know the obvious answer to this one, better planning. Google had made mistakes upon the Stadia platform’s business structure plan, having a very traditional approach while the project was a lot bigger than expected. Google never paid full attention to what gamers look for in terms of libraries & utilities. The service only had 25 games on its pro subscription & offered additional games with an additional fee. Luna did not do such additional fees & had over 100 games ready on the release date.
Stadia also never, as mentioned, paid attention to what gamers look for & that’s latency. Many people complained that games were not playable due to the terrible latency issue. Luna looked at every possible way of reducing latency in the cloud-based system’s software design and its accessories, in cooperation with several connection technologies to minimize any potential latency issues. Amazon researched & used Google as a business case study to further develop its product in a much more efficient & quality-based way.
Recap & Final Verdict.
Google’s Stadia was a failure from the beginning, with its small library of games, ridiculous pricing & business strategy, as well as its issues software-wise with latency & unplayability. Amazon’s research into Google’s failures led to the success of Luna. Should you look at getting Luna to burn those free minutes you have? Absolutely.
The service so far is foolproof & provides one of the biggest libraries of games for a low affordable pricing point. For an entry-level gamer, it is an ideal cheap service to get used to gaming before moving onto heavier platforms & for an average gamer, it’s great to be able to take the games you love anywhere & play anywhere to kill some time.