The technology behind games and their design has propelled the medium to new heights. Simultaneously, however, there has been a great surge in those wanting to return to, or discover for the first time, retro gaming. If you’ve ever wanted to experience more of gaming’s history, Antstream may be perfect for you. Now on Kickstarter, Antstream is focused on gaming classics, many that only ever existed in an arcade, and giving everyone access to them through their streaming service.
Antstream is a monthly subscription service that will give you access to play retro games on PC, Mac, Xbox One, and Android devices. iOS devices are planned to join that list at some point in the future as well. The service will only be available in the U.S. and Europe on launch, but they do plan on launching in other territories in the future.
If you were planning to use Antstream on your phone, the experience may not be so great. Right now, it has been optimized for use on tablets and desktops, as they are still working on a mobile design. Along the same lines of playing on the go, the FAQ says that Antstream will work on a good 4G connection, but WiFi or Ethernet are best way to play. They recommend a controller for the best experience too, though they have configured controls for touchscreen as well.
The current list of games on Antstream can be found here, and this will continue to be added to up to and beyond its release. That list comprises the games that will be in Antstream’s early access, which backers will have access to at the end of May. The list may seem somewhat small, but Antstream has the rights to over 2,000 licenses, meaning the list will only continue to grow.
The Kickstarter says they want to be a true streaming service, meaning they don’t want you to have to download anything more than the Antstream program/app. No emulators to mess with and you won’t have to download the games themselves, just open up the app and start playing. Everything is processed by Antstream with the video streamed to your device.
Beyond simply streaming the games, they plan to offer their own challenges as well, with over 100 of them available at launch. What the challenges are exactly is unclear at this time, but their FAQ says this:
We have created exclusive multiplayer challenges for the most popular games on Antstream. These original asynchronous challenges enable you to compete against your friends and the global Antstream userbase. In the future we will expand challenges further, by offering real-time online multiplayer for those that want to compete head to head.
Of course, there will also be leaderboards for the individual games and the challenges too.
Antstream wants the community to have some involvement in the games that make it on the service, too. The community will help choose when games come to the service, as potential new games will be put up for a vote. The games will then be added in order of the votes they receive.
There are no stretch goals for their Kickstarter campaign, and no mention they plan to add them either. Why they don’t have them can likely be answered in why they chose to use Kickstarter:
- They want to get feedback from and info about their audience so they know where the demand is highest. That includes where they are geographically to have servers ready to meet that demand.
- They want Antstream to be a community, and they see crowdfunding as a great way to start that.
- Antstream has been in development for four years, and Kickstarter offers them an opportunity to give their longtime supporters a chance to get in on the service at a lower pricepoint.
- They’re using Kickstarter as a way to advertise Antstream and hopefully get it some attention.
With the above reasons in mind, it seems the Kickstarter is just to get Antstream across the finish line and drum up some buzz. Of course, I’m sure they have plans for later down the road, but they’re just focused on getting the service launched at the moment. If the Kickstarter were to take off, I would imagine discussion of some potential future features may make their way into an update on the Kickstarter page, but we’ll have to see of course.
They have a timeline in place and plan to have Antstream fully launched sometime near the end of 2019. At the end of May, early access begins for its Kickstarter backers, and in the summer, the beta will begin. Then, it’s just waiting for the full release.
If you’re interested in backing Antstream, they offer a range of tiers. At £28 ($37) you get access to Antstream at launch with six months of its subscription. At £40 ($52), you’ll get a year’s worth of subscription and access to the early access. After that, there are a few more tiers that offer more subscription time and titles on its discord and the service itself.
At £395 ($517), you can add your own game to Antstream, with some conditions. At £630 ($824), you can design your own challenge, and at £790 ($1,033) you can set the high score of a game on Antstream for people to beat with your name/handle attached to it. The top pledge is for £1,185 ($1,550) and is meant for things like museums or retro gaming associations, as it comes with everything unlocked and five lifetime subscriptions to Antstream.
If Antstream sounds like something you’d be interested in backing, you have 30 days left to back the project at the time of writing. It’s currently sitting at $23,500 out of its $65,275 dollar goal.