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Antstream - It's Netflix for Games!

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1 minute ago, deKay said:

 

How about The Pickford Challenge? You have to get as many of their games on the system, with as much lag as possible, without John noticing.

 

"Here's Pickford Bros classic Feud..."

 

"Oh yes! I'll have a bit of that!"

 

"...the C64 version!"

 

"Oh."

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Just now, Unofficial Who said:

 

"Here's Pickford Bros classic Feud..."

 

"Oh yes! I'll have a bit of that!"

 

"...the C64 version!"

 

"Oh."

 

That applies to all games though ;) 

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Something else I’d also be worried about, what’s stopping Anstream from going to websites that currently host roms, because a lot of the retro scene is based around general goodwill regarding roms, and demanding a takedown?

 

Understandably Nintendo have a history of doing this with their own games, but what’s stopping Antstream from going to World of Spectrum, Spectrum Computing, CSDB or any other retro gaming website and demanding they remove the roms, as they are the “official licensee” of those games? 

 

The conflicting commercial statements like “we pay the creators” but actually “we pay the holders of the IP”, “it’s a retro gaming platform because we love retro games” but “we’re really wanting to expand it to a game streaming platform taking on Google, Amazon” leaves a bit of a bad taste, making me suspicious of what Antstream’s true future plans or even view of the retro gaming scene are. I don’t think there’s been any public statement on the terms of the contracts, exclusivity etc.

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@gone fishin' Unless their license grants them exclusive use, which I highly doubt most rights holders would allow, then I don't think that's going to happen. It would be up to the rights holders themselves to do this if they wanted to.

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@gone fishin' - I don't think there is any need to be suspicious of what their future plans are. It's pretty obvious.

 

Start with the really old retro games which will be a lot cheaper to license. Hopefully prove that the service works and that there is an audience. Continue to grow / get bought out by a bigger firm. With more money behind them they will look at more modern systems and eventually end up at present day. Everyone can see exactly where this is heading. They probably only started with these older systems because a) they'd find it too difficult to get any sort of licensing agreements with anything more modern at this stage without a lot more money and b) they didn't have the money to develop the technology needed to stream more systems (which if they are really just using open source emulators proves that point even further).

 

The problem for them is that I can't really see the likes of Sega / Nintendo or even Sony really playing ball with their systems.

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GameHut is an excellent channel and there are some replies to questions in the comments section of the YouTube video linked below. Example, he agrees that downloadable roms and images would be better, but streaming was the only way to get all parties on board. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MidWalian said:

GameHut is an excellent channel and there are some replies to questions in the comments section of the YouTube video linked below. Example, he agrees that downloadable roms and images would be better, but streaming was the only way to get all parties on board.

 

The like:dislike ratio on that video :lol:

At least the "youtube influencers" seem impressed.

 

Maybe there`s a market for this out there among people who had a c64 once but haven`t kept up with gaming or technology. I feel like retro game fans online aren`t going to be able to get over the streaming aspect though.

 

My main issues:

 

It`s yet another subscription service to stream something that you have no ownership over. You sign up thinking "oh hey I can play CJ in the USA and other classics for only 5 pounds a month(or whatever the price is). When you stop paying after a few years, you`ve paid a few hundred quid to play c64 games and you`re left with access to nothing. Great deal, you could have bought the real thing for less.

Don`t most people have enough of these paid services at this stage? Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Psplus, Nintendo Online, Disney, etc etc etc etc. A bunch of companies all offering or planning game streaming services(Nvidia, Sony, Google and Apple off the top of my head). I don`t know about other people, but I feel like I`ve reached my limit on how many paid subscriptions for internet services I want to be paying every month, and would rather just pay a once off fee to own something, instead of commiting to yet another 5-10 pound a month payment indefinitely.

 

Pretending that lag isn`t an issue when the laws of physics suggest otherwise. Streaming games results in lag. I`m sorry you couldn`t  "get all parties on board otherwise" but streaming games still results in input lag.

It`s an objectively inferior gameplay experience compared to the way people played them in the 1980s.

Games aren`t songs or videos. I think there`s a reason business people seem more excited about the game streaming future than gamers do.

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, MidWalian said:

GameHut is an excellent channel and there are some replies to questions in the comments section of the YouTube video linked below. Example, he agrees that downloadable roms and images would be better, but streaming was the only way to get all parties on board. 

 

 

 

 

I'm pretty worried about lag now since even the audio in the trailer is lagging behind the video and the voices are out of synch.

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On 15/04/2019 at 23:02, spork said:

where devs go from being really friendly, answering questions and all that until some controversy happens.

 

I hear @Cool Ben has some free music?

 

On 16/04/2019 at 08:35, Clipper said:

any chance of a piece in retrogamer on this

 

“We've concerns about certain creators not receiving royalties due to copyrights, but Antstream currently shows great promise, and we hope it lives up to the potential that Game Room once had.”

 

Something like that, I'm guessing.

 

As for the service, I think an iPlayer approach would've been a much better idea, with games downloaded via its client that self-delete whenever you exit. It's not like streaming modern games, where your host is likely a far more powerful machine, and where file sizes are too large to constantly redownload.

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That video has three times as many dislikes to likes. 'YouTube influencer' is such a loaded, untrustworthy thing. Its so nakedly brazen and doesn't disguise the true nature of the role. I mean, where do these people come from and how do they start? If you like Davina McCall on Big Brother and Million Pound Drop then you may choose, if you want to, to accept her endorsement of Loreal products when she advertises them. But YouTube influencers just seem to start out flogging other peoples products and that's all they do. Why would anyone follow a YouTube influencer and give any credence to their obviously paid-for opinions?

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22 minutes ago, deKay said:

I thought Antstream was already in Retro Gamer a few months back?

We've been mentioned in there a few times I think, the last one I remember was an interview with our licensing director Darren Melbourne. 

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So this is basically RetroArch, ArcBrowser and other similar emulator front ends, but with the games being streamed with some lag instead of you having the roms already downloaded? 

 

Sounds ridiculous, especially given how easy it is to download roms.  I have pretty much every single rom pack from C64 and Spectum, all the MAME / Final Burn ones all the way to Gamecube and Wii.  And they all run flawlessly on my NVidia Shield with ArcBrowser.  Most of them run pretty well on my GPD XD handheld too.

 

It even looks lovely:

maxresdefault.jpg

 

So what's the point of this Antstream again?

 

Also the fact that the devs of this seem to be dodging legitimate questions and concerns in this thread is ridiculous.  If you want to sell your product to gamers, why not start by addressing all the questions in here first.

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1 hour ago, Omizzay said:

 

Also the fact that the devs of this seem to be dodging legitimate questions and concerns in this thread is ridiculous.  If you want to sell your product to gamers, why not start by addressing all the questions in here first.

 

Hi  - I have explained this - It's because I'm not an official PR spokesperson for our company . There are some things I know I am fine to talk about and some things which I know I'm not supposed to talk about, publicly. It's really not that strange, a lot of people who are employees of companies will have something in their contract to this effect, these days.

If someone asks about something which I'm not sure about, I will try to get an answer cleared by our PR department - but as we haven't even released a product yet, there are some things we are keeping under wraps for now. I'm really sorry about that, but it's fairly standard business practice.  

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If you're not official PR I suggest not answering any questions yourself and instead passing them over to the people whose job it is to do so. Let them take the heat, that's what they're there for.

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1 hour ago, Omizzay said:

So what's the point of this Antstream again?

 

 

The one thing it has going for it is that it is (trying to be) legal.

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12 minutes ago, JPickford said:

The last thing official PR will ever do is answer difficult questions.

If they won't answer them then he shouldn't either. He's certainly not getting anything good out of doing so.

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I would suggest @Anne Summers or whoever is responsible for answering these concerns about Antstream to have a look at the Dangerous Driving thread here for how to better communicate with your target audience.

 

A lot of forumites were openly upset for there not being any music in that game and even though @CrashedAlex had a difficult time explaining his reasons and limitations, he didn't shy away from the subject and answered as openly and candidly to most of the comments on there.  Made me buy the game in the end!

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He also didn't reply to several things. I think the goodwill in that thread is more because he is the actual creator of a bunch of games that people hold, rightly so, in very high regard. 

 

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There's a confused morality to this.  Antstream is legal and allows you to play retro games. This should be enough for people to want to buy in.  The problem is there is an illegal alternative which is easy, free, well established, and everyone does it.  However, that equates to, for example, criticising Netflix for not having the choice of the Pirate Bay. It's a nonsensical argument obviously, but the legal point is muddied by so many issues:

 

  • Many of the developers of these original games are happy to see them distributed for free on the internet and they don't want their games on services like this. They have no control of this because they no longer own the IPs. You think the coders and musicians and artists have an opportunity to monetise their work again, but they can't.
  • The people earning the money are often CEOs of companies that just happen to own the IP through company acquisitions and probably have never heard of these games, and possibly are unsure if they even own the rights to them or not.
  • The Antstream service is possibly using open-source emulators that were created by fans and distributed on the internet to be free. That would mean (if true) they are capitalising on all the hard work done by other people, without contributing back. 
  • Streaming arcade action, fast reaction games is going to introduce lag that makes them unplayable.
  • Retro games often have tiny file sizes. You can fit every Snes, MD, GBA, Atari, Speccy, C64, Amstrad, Coleco, Vectrex, Virtual Boy,  Amiga game ever made on a 32Gb SD card. Streaming them seems an incredibly inefficient way of delivering them.
  • Emulation is already available on all devices.  What problem is this new product actually solving? 

The thing is, even taking all this stuff into account, you're left with the horrible truth that downloading games from the internet that you don't own is probably copyright infringing.  Antstream is a legal service, and this should be the end of the comparison.  One's probably illegal and the other isn't. It's just weird that the real selling point of this boils down to "all the right people will be getting paid" and when you look at it for a minute you see that these people are legally the right people, but morally they may not be.  You could paraphrase that by saying "I'm going to stop emulating the games by the Pickford Brothers, and use Antstream, so the multi-millionaire Ian Livingstone can earn the money he rightfully deserves".

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Omizzay said:

I would suggest @Anne Summers or whoever is responsible for answering these concerns about Antstream to have a look at the Dangerous Driving thread here for how to better communicate with your target audience.

 

A lot of forumites were openly upset for there not being any music in that game and even though @CrashedAlex had a difficult time explaining his reasons and limitations, he didn't shy away from the subject and answered as openly and candidly to most of the comments on there.  Made me buy the game in the end!

 

The difference is that that CrashedAlex is the head (I think) of a small studio. Anne Summers is just an employee of a larger machine and has probably already been told off for this thread.

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