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A new challenger appears - Amazon Luna


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59 minutes ago, thesnwmn said:


Probably no other controller support unless they release an adapter because the controller connects directly to the service, not the device showing the video feed.

 

Although I see Stadia does support it in some setups so meh, possible then. Surprises me as the controller was a big part of their reason latency was so good.

 

It's been confirmed any Bluetooth controller will work. 

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1 hour ago, HarryBizzle said:

It'll be interesting to see how well this works through the browser on mobile devices and whether Apple try and do something to Safari to break it.

 

Apple specifically allowed it in their recent rules update:

 

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4.9 Streaming games

 

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.

 

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10 hours ago, Hass said:

Yeah. I reckon Amazon doing a combo deal covering movies, music and games could be pretty compelling here.

 

Apparently this isn't its own platform, just Windows. So it shouldn't run into the content availability issues of Stadia requiring bespoke ports. 

 

I didn't realize Stadia required extra work

 

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The precise amount of porting work needed for a Stadia port can vary. A game like Doom (2016), which already supported Vulkan graphics, reportedly took only three weeks of fulltime work by two developers to get running on Stadia. But Cyberpunk 2077 will be coming to Stadia after its Windows and console launches, according to publisher CD Projekt Red, likely due to the extra porting effort.

 

Amazon hopes to avoid that hassle with Luna. "Our goal is to make porting games as low effort as possible" for developers, Amazon Luna Director of Product Oliver Messenger told Ars Technica. "We'll support existing Windows games... [Developers] don't need a new tech stack to port over. If there's a Windows version of their games, they can bring them over to our service in short order."

 

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/09/amazon-luna-supports-existing-windows-games-on-turing-level-gpus/

 

So just running on standard AWS and available via browser was both a good idea (see Apple) and probably means this gets preferred over Stadia. Oops. 

 

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9 hours ago, Eighthours said:

Will a browser-based web app be as reliable in terms of visuals and latency for this sort of service as a dedicated app?

 

Seems like it

 

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Tsipolitis said that any additional overhead from running in a Web browser wouldn't be significant for a streaming game service like Luna. The open source WebRTC protocol that Luna uses for server-to-player communication (and back) runs identically in the browser and in a native app, he said. That protocol will also allow Luna to monitor network conditions and adjust streaming quality on the fly to account for congestion and provide "low-latency, high-fidelity" gameplay. Amazon did not directly address questions on precisely how much control latency users could expect on the service, though.

 

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Stadia's approach makes sense if you want to enable Devs to build games that aren't constrained by local hardware (i.e. it's not just what you currently have streaming from the cloud). You need a separate platform in order to make that possible, but ultimately I'd expect only Stadia's mythical first-party dev studios to take advantage of this because, by definition, building a game with this approach in mind rules out cross-platform compatibility.  Stadia either needs to delivering those things fast (unlikely) or start hoovering up content producers like MS to keep the platform alive until the benefits of the cloud-native platform can be realised. There's ultimately a chicken/egg scenario for Stadia there. They either need to go big or go home now.

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They (Google) seem to struggle when something is going to require a big investment (either monetary or just pure commitment to a vision). Fine when they can let an idea grow into something over time but getting into existing markets seems to flummox them.

 

I think it’s why most of their hardware bets seem stuck in a limbo.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

People are starting to get access to the beta. No impressions about the controller yet as it hasn't shipped. 

 

https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/20/21525339/amazon-luna-hands-on-cloud-gaming-streaming-early-access-price-games

 

Few points of interest:

-The iOS webapp basically just works

-Seems like Amazon's recommended minimum of 10Mbps is optimistic. The writer is suggesting 25 Mbps for it to be playable.

-At the moment it sounds like switching between devices isn't as good as Stadia. 

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Lastly, Luna allows players to easily jump from one device to another but with a fairly large catch: you can only easily jump from, say, an iPhone to a PC if you’re still actively running the game on your phone. Once you’ve “quit” a game, there’s no quick-resume functionality; you’ll have to wait for the game to fully relaunch

 

 

Quick resume for the Series S/X and the cards stuff on PS5 seems like features that could help avoid that issue on Xcloud/PSNow.

 

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More

 

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/10/amazon-luna-cloud-gaming-impressions-more-than-good-enough-for-5-99-mo/

 

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Amazon Luna's first strength, compared to the existing competition, is its incredibly clear sales pitch: pay a monthly fee to access streaming-only games on a variety of devices, with neither confusion as to whether something is console- or device-specific, nor whether it requires an a la carte purchase. Its second strength is its price-to-content proposition, offering 50 games in its current beta period at a $5.99/mo rate.

 

Instead of selling "performance" tier upgrades, like in Stadia or GeForce Now, Amazon has opted for a clever "channel" strategy. Think of how you access various movies and TV series on a streaming box (like, ya know, Amazon Fire TV). You pay Netflix, Hulu, and others a monthly fee, then visit their portals for specific content. Amazon Luna works the same way, with only Amazon's "Luna+" channel available as of press time. Amazon has already announced that Ubisoft will have its own Luna channel, which will require a separate monthly subscription (price not yet confirmed).

 

So I guess subscribe to each channel only as it has something you're interested in. Remains to be seen if that's more cost effective, but still. Interesting approach. 

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