Luna Kinda/Sorta Starts Selling Games… But Also Not Really

Luna Purchases

In a blog post today, Amazon Luna announced that they had begun selling games on their service. On Twitter, they called the feature “entirely new”:

So, what is actually new here? And, is it a big deal? We ourselves were pretty confused about what this meant. So, let’s break it down.

What You Could Already Do

Since last December (December, 2022) you could play games you already owned or just recently purchased on Ubisoft Connect via Amazon Luna if you subscribed to any of Amazon Prime, Luna+ or Ubisoft+. That’s key: you needed to both purchase the game and subscribe to an Amazon subscription to be able to play.

It’s what everyone always (wrongly) accused Stadia of doing – making you pay both for the purchase of the game as well as the subscription to play it. It’s also not all that different from how GeForce NOW and Boosteroid operate.

If our memory serves us correctly, Ubisoft games on Amazon Luna later began providing links for the purpose of enabling game purchases. But, those links took you to an outside Ubisoft page to complete the process.

What’s Different Now?

Well, not a whole lot. Except… that link to purchase a game? Amazon will now process the payment right within Luna instead of taking you to an Ubisoft Connect page. Presumably, Amazon could be taking a cut of the sale as well.

However, from the image above, you can see that not much else changes. You are still really buying the game from Ubisoft Connect, where you can download the title. And, you still need to pay a separate subscription fee to Amazon to actually play the game via Luna. This is, of course, not like how purchasing a game on Stadia worked.

And, according to Amazon’s terms, the ability to access the game via Luna could still be removed at Ubisoft’s sole discretion:

c. PC Games. We may offer PC games for sale that are capable of being played on the Service or on other compatible services or devices (“PC Games”). We may require you to have a Luna+ Channel or Prime subscription to play PC Games on the Service. You may also be able to download and access PC Games from the applicable Publisher or another third party such as a game store, but you are responsible for ensuring that your device meets any applicable minimum system requirements. In order to purchase, download, or play a PC Game, you may need an account with the applicable Publisher or third party, and you may need to link that account to your Amazon account.

e. Purchases of PC Games and Add-Ons Cancellations. All purchases of PC Games and Amazon-Sold Add-ons are final, and we do not accept returns of such PC Games or Amazon-Sold Add-Ons, except as expressly stated in the Digital Products Return Policy.

h. Availability of Amazon Sold Add-ons and PC Games. Amazon-Sold Add-ons will usually continue to be available to you as long as you have access to the applicable streaming game through the Service, but may become unavailable due to Publisher licensing restrictions, if the Publisher discontinues the streaming game, or for other reasons. PC Games may also become unavailable on the Service (or through the Publisher or another third party) due to Publisher licensing restrictions, if the Publisher discontinues the streaming game, or for other reasons.

This isn’t the same type of game purchase you make from Nintendo, Sony or Xbox where there are means of initiating a game return with the platform provider and/or being made whole by the platform if something goes wrong.

And! This isn’t just an academic issue! People have purchased game Add-ons from Amazon Luna only to have the game completely removed from the service and no refund offered. (Pro-tip: Never buy an add-on to a Luna+ game.)

Thankfully, in this particular case revolving around Ubisoft titles, even if Amazon Luna shutters or Ubisoft removes their games from the service, you should still have access to your purchases via Ubisoft Connect and other streaming services like GeForce NOW.

For now, I highly recommend you not consider this being a method to purchase a game from Amazon (aka the retail behemoth). While Amazon is the point of sale, they are really just processing the payment for a licence from the Ubisoft Connect store, which may very well have a long relationship with Amazon Luna. Or, it very well may not.

What We Still Like About It

So long as everyone has their expectations set that they are not actually purchasing the game from the streaming service (who is acting more as a payment processor) but are actually purchasing it from the underlying game store (Ubisoft Connect, Steam, Epic etc.), this could be a quality of life (QOL) improvement. You can imagine a service like GeForce NOW providing different screen-optimized interfaces for Steam game sales for example. That would save a couple clicks and potentially provide a more refined UI.


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Jack Deslippe

Jack Deslippe is an HPC professional with a PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley. As a hobby, he is passionate about consumer technology and Cloud Gaming in particular. He volunteers as an editor for Cloud Dosage in his spare time. See the games Jack is Playing at ExoPhase. Like his content? You can follow Jack on Threads: @jackdeslippe and Buy Jack a Beer.

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