Showing posts with label Cloud Gaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cloud Gaming. Show all posts

Xbox and Amazon Collaboration: Xbox Gaming Without a Console on the... Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K?!

Another addition to Gaming Convenience... is here!

In a sweet collaboration, Xbox and Amazon have joined forces to deliver Xbox games through Amazon hardware. The announcement brings the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate library to your TV screen, and the best part? You don’t need a console or a PC!

"Microsoft is doing a Microsoft again, because... why in the heck would I buy an Xbox console when I can get the benefits elsewhere? I'm not complaining... I'm just saying. I mentioned an Xbox streaming console years back, but... I never thought they'd go in this direction. Works for me!" Blu 

Let’s dive into the details:

Starting this July, you can install the Xbox app on two of Amazon’s latest Fire TV devices: the Fire TV Stick 4K Max (2023 or later) and the Fire TV Stick 4K (2023 or later). These affordable streaming sticks now double as gaming portals, allowing you to access hundreds of incredible games directly from the Xbox app.

How It Works

  1. Grab Your Gear: All you need is a compatible Fire TV Stick, a Bluetooth-enabled wireless controller (like the Xbox Wireless Controller or even a PlayStation DualSense), and an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.
  2. Launch the Xbox App: Install and fire up the Xbox app on your Fire TV device.
  3. Sign In: Use your Microsoft account to log in.
  4. Game On!: As an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member, you’ll gain instant access to a treasure trove of cloud-enabled games. From epic RPGs like Starfield to high-octane racers like Forza Horizon 5, the gaming world is your oyster.

But what does this mean for the future of gaming? Here are some exciting possibilities:

  1. Console-Free Gaming for PlayStation & Nintendo: For those new to console gaming or looking for an alternative, this collaboration offers a budget-friendly, convenient, and portable way to enjoy top-tier Xbox games. No bulky hardware required! Will this open a door that PlayStation and Nintendo may walk through? Its a possibility, but I believe Nintendo would hold out the longest.
  2. Xbox-Branded Fire Stick?: Could Amazon create an Xbox-branded Fire Stick? Imagine a sleek Xbox branded device with Amazon’s Fire Stick engine under the hood. If they go that far, they might as well make an Xbox branded remote and create a bundled Xbox controller option too.
  3. Affordable gift for the gamers in your life: This is a win for parents who are in the market for purchasing their gamer an Xbox. If you buy an Xbox, you're going to need games, and if they want to play the latest games without buying each of the games individually, Xbox Game Pass is required. If they're going to play online, you might as well go with the Game Pass (in this case the Ultimate). The Xbox X|S consoles are hundreds of dollars compared to the one time purchase of a $50 to $60 Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (Max), and $17/month or less for Game Pass Ultimate.
  4. Easy transport: Rather than lugging around an Xbox console and games in your bookbag, all you require are your controller, the Fire TV stick, and the remote. These essentials can easily fit into a universal controller case that slots neatly into your backpack. This doesn’t eliminate handheld gaming; it’s simply an added benefit for Xbox enthusiasts!

Whether or not we witness an Xbox-branded stick, this partnership remains intriguing. Amazon gains from hardware sales, while Xbox flourishes with its cloud gaming service. The Fire TV Stick 4K isn’t solely for binge-watching; it serves as your portal to console-quality gaming on multiple fronts. Keep in mind that we already have Luna, and if you own Ubisoft games, you can stream them for free via the Luna app. Now, with Xbox joining the fray, the excitement grows—especially if your internet supports seamless streaming.

So, what do you think? Is this something you'd consider? Either way, game on!


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Amazon Luna Controller... Reviewed!


The Luna controller arrived in time for Amazon Prime Day, but I wanted to follow up with an actual review of this controller that totally gives off... Saints Row vibes. Is it good... or does Amazon need to stick to being a great place to shop online? Let's jump in and find out... after an unboxing!

Quality + Comfort: The quality in this controller is there, it doesn't feel like it's going to fall apart from a bump or a drop. Also, the package is... sturdy enough to secure the controller during delivery.

The digital buttons are clicky, but... not as clicky as an Xbox controller. That's not to say they're better than the LB + RB on the Xbox controller... but they feel good and made me lean in that direction until I thought about those times that I needed to rapidly click LB or RB.

The trigger buttons are comparable, but the LT + RT on the Luna controller are slightly lower and feel like they give a bit more resistance so you can gauge your squeeze.

As far as the analog sticks go, no complaints there... and I actually really like these, definitely quality. One thing I'm not crazy about is the buttons on the Luna Controller. I'm not saying they aren't usable, I'm just thinking about how those will feel after a while of using them without being as easy to press (compared to the Xbox buttons). It's not that the buttons stick or something, they work... but there's a lighter button press to use the Xbox controller.

Design: The Luna Controller is... similar to the quality of standard console controllers you're familiar with and has the same layout as the Xbox controller. There are some things that I noticed are a bit better than the Xbox controller. The underbelly of the hand grips has a texture that you can feel a lot more than the Xbox controller's subtle texture. 

Believe it or not, the Xbox controller has a textured underbelly on the hand grips, but you can't feel it as much. The best way to tell is to drag your nail below the B button down to the bottom in the front, and then flip the controller and do the same to the back. Do you feel a difference?

Take a look at the underbelly of the Luna Controller hand grips, it looks like braille (not sure if it is or not) but that's how much you can see it on the back of the controller. You can even see it in the image below.

Another thing that I was able to see off the bat in terms of difference is the grip around the analog stick. You can feel the grip on these... and they feel good and give a quality touch to the controller.

As far as the LB + RB button & LT + RT triggers, they may look like your standard set... but the design is smooth and rounded where the fingers would go on them. There isn't an edge on the LB + RB and a very minimal edge on the LT + RT triggers, it's set up well and you may not even realize it if you don't look at this sort of stuff. A bad controller build presents obvious problems, but good designs may go unnoticed, that's why this review exists (in part).

The D-pad works, and I notice the little bump around it that allowed me to slide my thumb from the surface of the body to the d-pad whether it was intentional or not (though not as smooth as the Xbox controller). There's also a 3.5mm line in/out for your headset, and a USB-C Port to connect to your PC.

One thing this design is missing is the ability to connect a battery pack, so you will have to get the AA's poppin whether they're the basics (that come with the controller) or the rechargeable ones (which deliver a lot more value).

**Amazon, I would've paid a little more for an option that came with rechargeable batteries and a little battery charger. I'd rather reduce, reuse, and recycle... but maybe they'll consider it in the future (even if it's just swapping standards for rechargeable ones).

Another thing I'm not crazy about when it comes to this controller are the X, Y, A, and B buttons. They work, but for long gameplay sessions... they should be a bit easier to press.

Functionality: I wanted to save this before we jumped into pricing because there are pluses about this controller that make it worth buying (at least for some).
The Luna Controller has Alexa, which allows you to jump straight to a game on an Alexa-enabled device. You can connect to a device via Bluetooth (which isn't much of a wow, but... it's a nice option), and the same applies to USB-C, but... there's something else. You can connect this controller to Wifi.

This stood out to me, because... why would you need to connect a controller to Wifi, but... the technology allows the most responsive feedback from the Luna Controller when cloud gaming (according to Amazon). Does it work? I'll let you be the judge of that.

Price: Pricewise, the Amazon Luna Controller lands at the standard price of $69.99. I don't really have any complaints about this, and I know that you can play certain games free (which are rotated out after a period of time), but... I think Amazon should throw in a month free of the full experience.

Quality + Comfort 4

Design 5

Functionality 5

Price 5

4.75 out of 5 Cool Points

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Amazon Prime Day and The Porch Pirates!

Amazon Prime Day is almost here... and you have to beware of the sticky fingers out there. Package theft is at an all-time high according to SafeHome with nearly 46% of Americans surveyed being primarily concerned about packages being stolen. It sucks, especially if you had to wait a while.

To be specific:

48% Avoid buying expensive items online due to fear of them being stolen
47% Filed a police report
81% Got a refund for their stolen package

Recently someone actually stole two items from in front of my place (this week), and it shouldn't have to be that way but some people think they can just... take whatever they want. They really stole the items like it was nothing, so I need to force myself to move forward with a camera installation and monitoring service.

SafeHome also recommends installing security cameras, adding a smart doorbell, and using alternative dropoff locations. There are pickup locations, but my area doesn't have close pickup lockers. (Sigh)

Of course... in addition to security, Amazon Prime Day has other deals out there that are worth your attention. Blu would say "Browse and see what you need", but I'm promoting your wants!