While the new Fire TV Sticks and the new Luna Cloud Gaming Service were the stars of today’s Amazon devices event, Amazon did also announce a new first-party game controller that will work with both Fire TVs and the gaming service on other platforms. The Luna Controller is packed full of connectivity options. It can connect directly to the Luna service over WiFi to the lowest latency gameplay, can connect more conventionally over Bluetooth, and can even connect over a USB cable to PCs and Macs. It will be $49.99 for those accepted to the early access program and will run $69.99 when more generally available.
The new Luna Controller looks an awful lot like the Fire TV Game Controller introduced 5 years ago, which I don’t mind one bit because I absolutely love the quality and feel of that controller. It’s just too bad it suffered an untimely obsolescence due to its limited WiFi-Direct connectivity. Thankfully, that shouldn’t happen for the new Luna Controller because exterior aesthetics are where the similarities between the two end.
The Luna Controller does feature WiFi, like the old Fire TV Game Controller, but it’s not WiFi-direct, where it connects to your Fire TV over WiFi. Instead, the Luna Controller connects directly to your router over 802.11 b/g/n dual-band WiFi, through the help of a mobile app for setup, so that it can communicate directly with the Luna cloud gaming service. Amazon say that by making this type of direct connection and bypassing your Fire TV or other devices for the gaming service, they reduce latency by 17 to 30 milliseconds compared to a traditional local Bluetooth connection. Controller input goes directly from the controller to the cloud and the resulting gameplay is streamed down to your Fire TV.
For local gaming on a Fire TV or for Luna cloud gaming on a computer, tablet, or mobile device, the Luna Controller also features Bluetooth 5.0 for local connections. Additionally, the controller has a USB-C port that can be used for wired connections directly to a PC or Mac. A USB cable is, unfortunately, not included.
Like the Fire TV Game Controller that came before it, the Luna Controller also has a 3.5mm audio jack for a headset. There are also vibration motors for tactile feedback during gameplay. When connected to a Fire TV, a microphone button and built-in mic allows you to talk to Alexa. Lastly, the controller is powered by a pair of AA batteries, which are included.
For a chance to buy the Luna Controller early at the $49.99 introductory price, request Luna Early Access. You’ll need to provide your zipcode, internet speed, and check off the compatible devices you own.