Amazon cloud gaming service heads to Mac and (surprise!) iPhone

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Amazon Luna brings console-quality games to iOS and iPadOS.
Amazon Luna is coming to a variety of devices including, amazingly, iPhone and iPad.
Image: Amazon

Amazon on Thursday unveiled a cloud gaming service that can play console-quality games on mobile devices and a range of other computers. Unlike rival streaming services from Google and Microsoft, Amazon Luna will be available on iPhone and iPad. It’s also coming to Mac.

Amazon Luna promises some big-name games

The service is still in development, and will launch with a relatively small collection of games. Amazon promises action games like Resident Evil 7, Control and Panzer Dragoon; adventure games like A Plague Tale: Innocence and The Surge 2; platformers like Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair and Iconoclasts; and others like GRID, ABZU and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

In addition, Amazon is teaming up with Ubisoft, which will bring some of its titles to the cloud-gaming service. That includes Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6, and Immortals Fenyx Rising. Other game developers are also working with Amazon.

These can be played on an iPhone through the magic of cloud gaming. High-end games often have hefty hardware requirements, but cloud gaming services let beefy servers handle the heavy lifting and just stream the action to players with phones or tablets. Amazon will use AWS.

Luna promises 4K and 60fps “for select titles.” The gaming service is playable with a keyboard and mouse or a Bluetooth game controller. A Luna Controller ($49.99) will connect directly to the internet over Wi-Fi, theoretically bringing lower-latency gameplay.

Coming to an iPhone near you

“We created Luna to make it easy to play great games on the devices customers already own and love,” said Marc Whitten, Amazon VP for Entertainment Devices and Services. Besides iPhone, iPad and Mac, the streaming service will also be playable on Fire TV and PC. A version for Android is in development.

Amazon is able to release Luna for iPhone and iPad because it’s bypassing the App Store. It developed web apps for iOS and iPadOS instead. Google and Microsoft tried to bring their own cloud gaming services to Apple’s iPhone software store, and were blocked by restrictions in the App Store.

Amazon isn’t doing something underhanded. Cupertino specifically says in the App Store guidelines, “There is always the open Internet and web browser apps to reach all users outside of the App Store.”

U.S. residents can request an invitation today for early access to Amazon Luna. When the service will be available is not yet known. It will cost $5.99/month during the early access period.