Why it matters: Game streaming looks like it could become the industry’s next big thing, but while most companies are betting people will want to play the latest titles, a London start-up is focusing on retro enthusiasts—and Chinese giant Tencent is backing its efforts.
Initially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Antstream Arcade offers a subscription-based streaming service consisting of over 2,000 retro classics that were popular on the machines of yesteryear, such as the world’s best-selling computer—the Commodore 64—and the awesome Amiga family. In the UK, it costs £9.99 ($12.43) per month, or £7.99 ($9.94) per month if you sign up for a full year.
In addition to being able to play any of these games on-demand, users can take part in multiplayer challenges, such as high score attempts and timed attacks, which see them competing against friends and the global community.
Antstream Arcade can currently be streamed to Mac, PC, Xbox One, tablets, and mobile devices, though the team is working on bringing it to more platforms, including the PlayStation 4. It’s currently only available in Western Europe, but there are plans to launch in the US before the end of the year.
“You’ve got Spotify and Apple for your music, while in movies you’ve got Netflix and Amazon, ” CEO Steve Cottam told CNBC. “It’s so easy to find that content, but games just got lost because of all these different formats, and they didn’t work on modern devices.”
The company has just completed a Series A funding round, in which it secured a “substantial” amount of money from Tencent, which wholly or partly owns Riot Games, Epic Games, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Supercell, Paradox Interactive, and more.
"We are truly privileged that Tencent recognised our potential by investing so early in our journey," said Cottam. "The company is synonymous with gaming and we are proud to be part of its family.