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Amazon Luna Controller Review: A Gamepad Made for Cloud Gaming

Amazon Luna Controller Review: A Gamepad Made for Cloud Gaming

The future has arrived. Concepts that seemed straight out of fiction a few short years ago now are within reach. Nowhere is this more evident than with cloud gaming.

As Sony and Microsoft invest heavily in cloud technology for their latest consoles, the scene is getting fierce. Never one to shy away from a little competition, Amazon has also jumped into the fray.

With the October 2020 launch of Amazon Luna came an exciting option for interested gamers. Several features have since allowed the Amazon Luna to stand out against both PlayStation Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Compatibility with a wide range of games from different publishers — plus the uniqueness of the Luna controller — makes the entire package promising.

Keep reading to learn all about the Amazon Luna controller — and how it was custom designed to be the ultimate cloud gaming peripheral.

Design

Launching a completely new gaming system or service is a tall task — one that many companies simply can't handle. Then there's Amazon, which has dedicated considerable resources to the overarching goal of breaking into the gaming market. It would have been simple to merely design a cloud gaming service and allow users to bring their own controller along for the ride, but that's not good enough for the likes of Amazon. Yes, that option exists, but the best way to experience the service is with Amazon's proprietary controller.

Just one look at the sleek, sharp design of the Luna controller, and it's impossible to ignore the customization possibilities. The light black finish and purple accents give the controller a nice bit of style, that's only the beginning. Gamers looking to show off their individuality will definitely want to up the ante with a controller skin from Mighty Skins.

Controller Feel

There's no quicker way to sink a service than to give it a gamepad that feels cheap, flimsy, or stiff. Thankfully, these build quality issues don't exist with the Amazon Luna controller.

Gamers have come a long way since the 1990s when third-party controllers were overpriced gimmicks that never failed to disappoint. The Amazon Luna controller finds the perfect sweet spot between imitation and innovation. It looks and feels a lot like the latest Xbox Series S/X controller. The analog sticks are tight and responsive. They have yet to suffer from the same drift problems that have plagued Nintendo's Switch Joy-Cons.

The button layout, XYAB icons, and shoulder buttons keep with the Xbox flattery, but it's all done to great effect. By now, there's not much else to accomplish when it comes to controller innovation, so it's nice to see Amazon not bothering to reinvent the wheel with the Luna controller.

Wi-Fi Connection

Without a doubt, the Luna controller's best feature lies with its Wi-Fi connection. Since the controller interfaces directly with the cloud gaming servers run by Amazon, games can run smoother and with less lag. Cutting out the hardware middleman has done wonders for the Luna service. This approach will no doubt be imitated by competitors in the years to come.

Gameplay Performance

Cloud gaming services live and die on latency. If the service doesn't live up to the high standards set by gamers, it won't last long (remember Google Stadia?). Thus far, however, players have been impressed by the speeds on display with the Luna service. Shooters, platformers, and action games are all quick and responsive, especially when equipped with the Luna controller.

Will competitive fighting game players abandon their in-person tournaments for cloud gaming competitions? Not likely — but for everyone else, the service should be more than fast enough to satisfy their cloud gaming cravings.

Luna Gaming Packages

There are five different Luna packages currently available for players. Each offers something unique. UbiSoft fans can part with $18 monthly and play through a hefty selection of the publishers' games. For $6 a month, the Luna+ package offers dozens of current AAA games as well as a nice selection of indie titles and a few family picks. The $5 Retro channel boasts a solid library of old-school favorites, in addition to modern games inspired by the 8 and 16-bit days of yore.

The Jackbox Games pack provides hours of multiplayer laughs for $5 a month. Meanwhile, the $3 family channel is a great bargain for parents looking to introduce their children to age-appropriate gaming content. These early access prices are more than fair. This could end up saving players plenty of money in the long run. Unfortunately, there is no option to get every game available on the service at one price. This is a major disappointment to anyone in search of an all-encompassing solution.

Additional Luna Controller Functionality

Since the Luna controller is a Bluetooth device, it can be easily paired with a PC and act as the primary gaming controller. The device is powered by two AA batteries and also features support for wired USB-C play. Luna is available for use on Windows as well as Mac, iPad, iPhone, Amazon Fire TV, and Android devices.

The Verdict

Amazon is all-in on its cloud gaming service — and for good reason. Cloud gaming is only going to get better as internet speeds increase and companies look to deliver gaming experiences to anyone at any time.

The Luna controller should prove a big help with bringing cloud gaming to the masses. Amazon Prime members already get a selection of games included with their memberships, playable through the exclusive Prime channel. Amazon is great at welcoming customers into its ecosystem and getting them to invest in a multitude of different products.

The Luna controller is available for $49 — a great price that significantly reduces the barrier to entry for millions of players. Amazon is banking on the Luna service to take over the living room in the same way that Prime Video has. Armed with a Luna controller, players can take their experiences anywhere they want.

Take that Luna controller to the next level with extra protection and style from MightySkins. Our skins and wraps can easily be personalized, so your Luna controller will feel even more exclusive. Check out our selection online or contact us to learn more about our products.
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