I don’t need to remind you of the travesty that befell Google’s Stadia cloud gaming platform this year. While it’s still available for the time being, we’re coming up on the literal “deadline” for its shutdown, and cloud gaming as a whole is taking a massive blow. Many people never took it seriously as a brand, but the technology behind it was and is incredible and innovative.
Before most gamers even receive their Stadia refunds, it looks like yet another cloud service is taking a hit. Amazon’s Luna seems to be wrapped up in the recently announced 10,000-person job cut that The New York Times reported on. It’s not just Luna employees that are getting sacked – CNBC also confirmed via a LinkedIn post from the already cut Amazon employees that the Alexa division’s workforce is also being scaled back.
The company notified workers in several divisions, including Alexa and the Luna cloud gaming unit, that they were being let go, according to LinkedIn posts from Amazon employees who said they had been impacted.CNBC
Due to the forecasted recession, many large tech companies are laying off thousands of workers as well. Most recently, we saw Twitter “restructure”, Google nix its Area 120 division and projects and Meta, Facebook’s new parent company cut 11,000 jobs.
As all of this is expected, there’s no reason to spell doom for Amazon Luna before any official announcement is made, but as with Google Stadia, the writing looks like it’s on the wall. Many of you may rush to the comments and say something about the headline and my prediction, but I defended Stadia to the bitter end, and look where that landed us. Large tech companies do not care about user loyalty or passion for a service or product, and only care if it makes them money.
The simple fact is that as with many things Amazon invests in, Luna is losing money. The only saving grace is two-fold. Firstly, the company still has a first-party game development studio that’s currently producing titles (even though they kind of suck and are reviewing horribly). Secondly, Luna is tied deeply into Twitch, and Amazon has not made any cuts to its YouTube Gaming competitor, despite the platform’s degrading overall health.
As with Stadia Games & Entertainment shutting down, the same could happen to Amazon’s studio, especially now that it’s open-sourced its Lumberyard game engine (now called O3DE) and is no longer actively developing it post-failure of New World.
Let me know if you believe cloud gaming will take another hit during the new year or if you truly feel Amazon will keep Luna around and figure out how to make it profitable. One last note – I only wish well for those affected by the layoffs. As I understand it, many opportunities are opening up on LinkedIn as several companies are offering refuge and accepting applications via the #amazonlayoffs hashtag.