When Amazon’s cloud gaming service Luna launched in October last year, the fact that it ran on Windows separated it. Unlike Google Stadia, it does not necessarily have to convince developers to carefully transfer their games to an untested platform. But it now appears that Amazon is also considering a move to Linux-based servers – the company hires three software engineers to bring Windows games to Linux (via Phoronix).
Like Valve’s Steam Deck – an upcoming gaming handheld that also runs on Linux – the idea is not to give up Windows gaming. Both Steam Deck and Amazon’s seemingly new Luna initiative will still run Windows games, but both will do so. through Valves Proton compatibility layer.
“[T]his role involves working with Proton – a compatibility layer for running Windows games on Linux using Wine. Luna is committed to working with the open source community around Proton. This role will commit code to open source projects such as Proton and Wine in the pursuit of running games in a stable and high-performance way, ”reads each of the three job descriptions.
All three jobs were posted on December 6, and they also all mention “DXVK”, a useful tool that instead translates from Microsoft’s Direct3D graphics APIs to Vulcan.
It’s not entirely clear why Amazon wants to adopt Linux; Neowin wonder if it could be about keeping Amazon Luna’s games easy in the sandbox so that new updates do not break compatibility.
The Proton gaming community will be quick to tell you that Windows games can often run well on Linux these days, although some have issues – and one category in particular, multiplayer games with anti-cheat software, can be problematic. Valve is pushing to improve it in time for Steam Deck’s launch in February, and now it looks like Amazon may also help convince developers.
We have no indication of whether Amazon Luna has been a success. We were not very impressed with our practical launch, but I have heard that it has gotten better since. It generally gets even less buzz than Google Stadia, and it lost its boss in February. But whether Amazon will follow up with games has been an existential question, period, and yet the company finally has a hit in New world, which has consistently held a spot on Steam’s top 10 list of the most played games since its launch in September. Maybe things are looking up?
There is an unusual opportunity for cloud gaming companies right now because next generation consoles and graphics cards are so hard to find and so expensive to buy. Amazon has suggested that New world might also come to Luna, and if it does, it will be interesting to see if it spurs a wave of adoption.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.