Amazon has come out swinging with its own iteration of video game streaming. It seems odd for Amazon, the developer of free-to-play multiplayer shooter Crucible and MMO New World, plans to come out with a game streaming service when it can’t find the correct formula for how a game works. Regardless of their reasoning, maybe they’re trying to enter a more familiar niche that they’re aware of how to navigate. How does it compare to Google’s Stadia service or Microsoft’s xCloud? Let’s compare all three.
Amazon’s Luna video game streaming service will operate for Fire TV, computers, Macs, tablets, and smartphones. A subscription, called Luna Plus, will cost $5.99 every month to use the service. However, when it initially launches, it will only be available to those invited to participate in the service. It won’t be openly accessible to everyone interested in testing it out. You can use a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controller, but a Luna controller will be released to the market for $50.
You will be able to stream games that reach 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second, with 4K support teased to arrive at a later date. There are a lot of “coming soon” promises from Amazon. The full list of games is coming soon, with Control being chief among them. An Ubisoft channel will even feature Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Additionally, Luna will have Twitch integration so streamers can directly share their gameplay with their followers. Any follower who subscribes to Luna while watching a Twitch streamer can instantly switch from watching the game to playing it.
Anyone wishing to use Luna will want to have at least an internet connection of at least 10Mbps. If you’re going to play games in 4K when it does release, you need to increase this requirement to 35Mbps. At this time, there is no official release date for Luna. It’s “coming soon.”
Google Stadia and Amazon Luna are somewhat on par with one another. Both of them allow you to stream games to your favored devices using a secure, reliable internet connection. Unlike Luna, you can choose to purchase a game on Stadia for its full price and stream it anywhere. Alternatively, you can go with the Stadia Pro option, Google’s subscription service, for $9.99 each month. You can play it on Google Chromecast Ultra, a Chrome browser connected to a Google account, and Android phones with the Stadia application on them.
The service comes with a rotation of games that change each month, and you can buy them to stream directly to your chosen device at 4K. The list of games available on the streaming service continues to grow, with notable titles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Borderlands 3, Doom Eternal, Mortal Kombat 11, PUBG, Red Dead Redemption 2, and several more. While playing, you can directly stream them to YouTube, and those watching videos of a game online can jump straight into the game while watching it on their recommended platform with the push of a button. Stadia wants to help propel YouTube streaming forward, and the best way to do this is by having seamless integration.
Much like Luna, you will want at least a 10Mbps internet connection, but it’s best to have 35Mbps for the best results. Stadia’s initial launch had been a rocky one, with many players noticing serious gameplay lag issues and framerate drops.
Microsoft’s xCloud is the third video game streaming service you may want to consider. It’s directly bundled with the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which goes for $14.99 per month. It comes with a mountain of content on the Xbox Game Pass, and with Microsoft’s latest acquisition of Bethesda, Game Pass looks all the sweeter. Despite it being a Microsoft product, it has been available on Android devices since September 15. Any sort of iOS integration will be happening later,.
Your Android devices will need to have the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update, and at least Bluetooth 4.0 version to stream the games. To start streaming these games to your devices, download the xCloud application from the Google Play Store to give it a try. You will also want to attach a compatible controller to work with the games. Much like Luna and Stadia, a 10Mpbs internet speed connection is required, and it’s recommended to have an LTE and 5G tower in range.
You won’t have to buy any of the games at full price to play them. They’re all available through the Game Pass subscription, and the list for the game pass only grows as Microsoft builds an entire library of content on it.
Of the three, Microsoft’s xCloud offers the most games and likely the best bang for your buck out there. Unlike Luna and Stadia, the xCloud service was not created to outdo console gaming but serve as an alternative for those who couldn’t purchase the latest console. With how much has gone into the Xbox Game Pass over the past few years, it’s a smart move by Microsoft, and the list only continues to grow to build on that fierce reputation.