Amazon’s ‘Play on Luna’ button on Twitch is more potential than practical

Tech

Amazon is linking two of its major gaming endeavors, the Twitch streaming platform and its Luna cloud gaming service, a little closer together. If you look at a game’s page on Twitch and that game is available on Luna, you may now see a “Play on Luna” button that takes you to the title of the cloud gaming service (via 9to5Google

While the button can be a useful way to jump straight into an interesting game you found on Twitch, there are still many limitations to Luna that make the process of just jumping in and playing a game more difficult than it should be.

We need more people to play Sonic Mania on twitch.
Screenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge

First of all, to see the button at all, it looks like you need to be logged into Twitch, have your Amazon account linked to Twitch, and has been admitted to the early access program for Luna. It didn’t show up for me when I checked for the Sonic Mania or Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Extraction Twitch pages in Chrome’s incognito mode.

The button isn’t even on Twitch streams themselves – instead, it’s buried on a game’s umbrella Twitch page. I think the button would be much more useful on an individual stream of a game, where I could click it while watching something to immediately try the game streaming from the cloud.

Let’s say you’re logged into Twitch, connected your account to Amazon, accepted into the Luna Early Access program, know where the “Play on Luna” button is, and you click it to play something on the cloud gaming service , Luna’s business model means you still may not be able to just jump into a game.

Unlike a service like Netflix, which lets you access all available content with one monthly subscription, Luna instead offers several sets of games grouped by “channel” and each channel has a separate subscription. That means you won’t know if you’re subscribed to the right channel on Luna to play a game from Twitch until you click the button. And since I haven’t subscribed to Luna channels, that means I haven’t actually been able to click the button to play any game.

Such as 9to5Google pointed out that this Twitch/Luna integration was promised as part of the service’s September 2020 debut, so it’s been a while in the works. And the addition of the “Play on Luna” button to Twitch could be a sign that Amazon is taking Luna more seriously. But in my opinion, the button is too hard to find and it’s harder to get it to work than it needs to be. My colleague Sean Hollister has argued that cloud gaming needs to go away to succeed, and right now the “Play on Luna” button has a lot of friction that prevents it from providing a seamless experience.

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