Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Luna Landing

I had a post nearly ready to write but then I read this news item at NME and ended up wasting an hour or so fritzing around, trying to get to a place where I could post about that instead. That didn't really pay off but by then I didn't feel like I had enough time left to do the things I'd meant to do for the other post, so I was kinda stymied.

Never mind. Make the best of it, eh?

So, here's what I know. It isn't much.

Amazon has a cloud gaming service called Luna because of course it does. I mean, Amazon is probably the biggest supplier of cloud-based computing services in the world by now. Why wouldn't it have its own slice of that pie?

Not that it's been an especialy tasty pie so far. By now, I must have read more doomy reports about how cloud gaming isn't paying off the way the industry thought it would than I ever read hype pieces about how it just had to be the future of gaming to begin with. 

I'm guessing it'll end up being neither. There will be cloud gaming services and home clients and they'll all rub along just fine together but that doesn't make for much of a story. 

Personally, I find cloud services like GeForce Now useful for playing games like New World that my increasingly elderly PC balks at but only because I can do it for free. The day may come when I see subscribing to a cloud service as more financially prudent than replacing hardware but that day still looks a good way off to me.

For that reason alone, I wouldn't have considered paying for access to Amazon's Luna service but even if I'd wanted to I couldn't have - until now. It wasn't available outside the U.S. As of today, it is.

As the NME piece explains, "Luna was initially announced in 2020 but launched for US subscribers in 2021". Now, it's also available in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. 

I still wouldn't pay for it but luckily for me I don't have to: "a rotating selection of games that changes each month" is on offer to Amazon Prime customers as part of the subscription they already pay.

Not that you'd know it from the Prime website. At the moment it doesn't appear anywhere at all on my Amazon Prime home page. The only way I was able to find it was by googling "Amazon Prime Luna" and following the link from in the U.S., telling me the sevice isn't available in my territory but helpfully providing a working link to the correct U.K. address, which for reference is this one

Why they keep adding these things, incrementally, as separate sub-services beats me. Wouldn't it make more sense just to list the free Luna titles under Prime Gaming? Well, it would to me and maybe that's where it'll end up, eventually.  I'd say it was an odd decision but I'm disturbingly used to these things by now. Amazon Prime never makes anything easy. Well, except getting your stuff delivered for free. That works fine.

Once I'd found the right portal, things still didn't go smoothly. I took a quick glance at the titles in this first month's free offer, picked one and clicked on "Prime Members Play Now", only to be told my browser, Firefox, wasn't supported. 

Digging into it a little, it looks as if the only supported browsers for Windows are Microsoft Edge and Chrome. I could have used either but instead I chose to click on the Download button just to see what it would do. 

It downloaded a standalone Luna app. Figures.

That installed itself briskly and worked just fine. I picked a game - Trails From Zero - and logged in. There was a warning that Luna was "Currently experiencing high demand" but I was #2 in line and the wait time was estimated at two minutes, making me wonder what the hell low demand would look like.

Two minutes turned out to be pretty much dead on target. The game launched, I checked the controls, watched the opening cinematic and settled back to play. Then, of course, I had to try taking a screenshot.

You can't. Or I couldn't, anyway. There was no listed screenshot function in game, neither FRAPS nor Print Screen worked and a google search for "How to take screenshots in Amazon Luna" only returned replies relating to Fire tablets. 

I am pathologically incapable of playing any game where I know I can't take a screenshot. It becomes the only thing I can think about. So I stopped. Until I figure out a way to do it, I won't be using Luna.

Unless, of course, they happen to include a game I really want to play, one of these months. Then I will. If necessary I can screenshot the damn thing with my phone! Don't think I won't do it!

For now, that's about all I have to say on the matter. Consider this a PSA for any UK-based Amazon Prime customers who happen to be reading. Or German or Canadian residents, I guess. 

All of which makes me wonder if Luna has been offering monthly free titles to Prime customers in the States all along. Anyone been using it there?

As for the post I was planning for today, I guess it'll have to wait 'til tomorrow. Unless something more important turns up before then...


  1. As a sad bandwagon jumper, when Luna debuted I bought a Fire TV 4k Cube and a Luna Controller. I think it was a bundle deal. Currently I don't know where the controller is. The Cube sits in front of the TV, occasionally piping up with random nonsense when I'm watching a show with a character named Alexa or Alexis or even Alex if I'm really lucky.

    But at least I can ask how long is left on the Kitchen Alexa timer from the Living Room Fire TV. So I guess that's something.

    I remember being pretty underwhelmed with the game selection (mostly older console titles that I already had on actual consoles), but that was a long time ago and it might be better now. I think the hardware bundle I bought probably came with a 1 month paid sub or something.

    I thought it was REALLY strange that New World was on GeForce Now but NOT on Luna, at least back then. How does that make any sense!?

    1. We actually have an Amazon TV, my own poor purchasing decision last year. We said we'd start watching tv shows on an actual television together instead of sperately on various devices but so far we've done it exactly once. I'm guessing I could use it for Luna gaming although as yet I haven't tried because the tv is in a room we only use on extremely rare occasions. Christmas, mostly.

      I was thinking only last night how weird it was that New World isn't on Luna - I'm pretty sure it's still not - but then, the way Amazon is stuctured *is* weird. Everything seems to be highly compartmentalized for no good reason. If NW was on Luna, then I would actually use it in preference to GeForce Now, just because it would save me one set of login details.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide