The service will see Amazon compete with Google – which is currently testing its Project Stream service in the US – as well as Microsoft, which is building its own platform, hardware maker Nvidia, and publisher Electronic Arts.
Sony’s PlayStation Now service is already up and running, and charges players $99.99 a year for access to more than 700 games.
It makes sense for Amazon to enter this arena, as it’s the largest provider of cloud computing services on the planet – ahead of Google and Microsoft by a long shot – and can therefore easily build out the necessary infrastructure to support a demanding game streaming service for users around the world.
A number of such platforms have been built, tested, and shut down in the past few years, mostly owing to low demand and unsatisfactory performance.
The idea is that the service will handle all the heavy computing needed to run graphics-intensive games in the cloud, and then stream it to your computer or mobile device so your experience is indistinguishable from running those titles natively on a high-end gaming system.
With improvements in broadband networks in recent years, that’s now a lot easier than before, and issues like lag and latency aren’t as hard to solve as in the early 2010s.