Why Amazon Luna’s Strategy Shift Makes Sense

Amazon Luna first launched in the US in December 2020 (in “beta”). It left “beta” in 2022, followed by launches in the UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France over the course of 2023. Amazon Luna’s original business model focused on “channels” similar to Amazon Prime Video, where you could subscribe to select channels to access certain content. However, the service ended up shuttering 2 out of its 5 channels. Instead, they have recently been focusing on adding more free options for Amazon Prime subscribers. Over the last couple of years, they rolled out (and improved upon) the ability to play games you already own on the Ubisoft Connect PC store. They will soon add similar support for GOG.com, allowing users to stream their GOG games via Amazon Luna. I think this strategy shift makes logical sense; let’s discuss!

Luna Struggled To Keep Adding New Games To Luna+ and Signing Other Publishers

The first point I want to cover is simple: Amazon, despite being one of the world’s most valuable companies, always seemed to struggle to sway developers and publishers to bring their games to Luna+ or even to launch their own subscription channels on Luna. Sure, Amazon Luna has games from Ubisoft (via a separate Ubisoft+ channel) and Jackbox Games (who also has their own channel). But, besides those publishers, we only really saw a few occasional games from Capcom, Sega, and Konami.

At $9.99, Luna+’s library is a tough sell compared to what you get with Xbox Game Pass, PS Plus and even other subscriptions like Utomik or Blacknut.

Notable game publishers are completely absent from Luna, including EA which just happens to be the biggest independent game publisher and owns popular franchises like Battlefield, EA Sports, Need For Speed, and Apex Legends.

And, why would someone choose to play games on Luna+ when there is no platform behind it?? There is no way to add friends on Luna and play multiplayer with those friends. You can’t earn achievements on any Luna+ games or see a global leaderboard.

Instead, Amazon Luna seems to be now focusing on providing access to other more fleshed out PC gaming platforms like Ubisoft Connect and the Epic Game store. You can’t earn Luna achievements, or play with your Luna friends. But, you can earn Epic and Ubisoft achievements and play with your friends on those platforms.

In particular, we did see game publisher Epic Games release Fortnite on Amazon Luna – which can be played via the cloud by any Amazon Prime subscriber (no Luna+ subscription necessary)! This gives me hope that other Epic Games-published titles will come to the service in the same way.

Luna Controller

Removing Amazon Luna As A Direct Game Pass Competitor

The next point is a big one which I think should not be overlooked. Amazon and Microsoft are both members of the “Magnificent Seven” when it comes to tech companies. They are also direct competitors in the space of cloud computing, including cloud gaming. By switching gears to allow gamers to stream their existing PC games via Amazon Luna, they make Luna less as a competitor with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service and more of a competitor of cloud infrastructure prod NVIDIA GeForce NOW (which doesn’t produce its own video games like Xbox) and Microsoft Azure’s cloud infrastructure itself.

What’s also interesting is this may actually lead to Microsoft allowing gamers who own PC Xbox games (including titles from Bethesda, Activision and Blizzard) to play those titles via Amazon Luna – just like they can via GeForce NOW and Boosteroid.

Amazon Luna News Header

Could Other Storefronts Follow?

With GOG and Ubisoft Connect already locked down, could we see Amazon Luna enable users to access games they already own on other PC storefronts? Will we see EA Play or Battle Net or Epic Games Store libraries added to Amazon Luna? Will Amazon Luna give users access to their Steam library the way NVIDIA GeForce NOW does? Only time will tell. However, with this news making waves and there now being increased attention on Amazon Luna, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an announcement from the Epic Games Store in the future.

On the other hand, we here at Cloud Dosage have been speculating whether Ubisoft (which owns the cloud rights to Activision/Blizzard titles) will launch its own self-branded cloud service. Such a move could make Luna’s Ubisoft offering less interesting.

What do you think about this? Do you think Amazon Luna switching strategies was a good play? Let us know on social media.

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