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Antstream - It's Netflix for Games!

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18 minutes ago, Hank Scorpio said:

I’m definitely interested but was wondering: Did I read it correctly and there’s no PlayStation app? Any plans for one?

 

Anyway, good luck with the launch. 

PlayStation is definitely on the cards, but won't be available for launch. 

Part of the reason for doing the Kickstarter is it gives us an early customer base and we can find out what they want ... Would they rather we prioritised development of a PS4 or smart TV app, for example? Of course if we smash our target we can just hire more coders and do both of them at the same time. 

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23 hours ago, Anne Summers said:

Part of the reason for doing the Kickstarter is it gives us an early customer base and we can find out what they want ... Would they rather we prioritised development of a PS4 or smart TV app, for example? Of course if we smash our target we can just hire more coders and do both of them at the same time. 

 

Why does the Kickstarter say "All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, May 10 2019 11:00 PM BST."?  I thought you guys were going ahead whether the Kickstarter was successful or not?

 

Contrats on getting (almost) half way there already, though!  Impressive for just a few days live.

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I assume with these for-marketing-purpose kickstarters, they generally have all the backers lined up already so they'll definitely hit the goal.   I don't see the point myself, kickstarters are no longer news.

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1 hour ago, catinthehat said:

 

Why does the Kickstarter say "All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, May 10 2019 11:00 PM BST."?  I thought you guys were going ahead whether the Kickstarter was successful or not?

 

Contrats on getting (almost) half way there already, though!  Impressive for just a few days live.

 

They are, but they only get the Kickstarter money if they reach the £50k.

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22 hours ago, Anne Summers said:

Here's a nice little video put together by one of our earliest backers, TT Games/ Travellers Tales founder Jon Burton:

 

 

 

Hmm, not sure I agree entirely with the POV here. I think lots - probably the majority - of people playing ROMs did so or do so because they aren't available to buy in any kind of system that benefits the original developers or publishers. 

 

Which also brings the next point where he says that the creators benefit from this. Which isn't strictly true. That makes it sound like a philanthropic endeavor, where they'll make sure the developers get the cash they deserve from games people still love. Whereas, in fact, most of the time the cash will probably just go to the publishers as rights holders. So yeah, it's technically making what you're playing legal, but let's not kid ourselves that this is primarily a philanthropic enterprise - it's still just capitalism.

 

Anyway, I feel I have a platform to say this stuff as I've put my money where my mouth is and backed this at the £40 level on Kickstarter.

 

My question to @Anne Summers would be, then: what is the company's ultimate goal? Is it to develop from a niche to the point where you'll challenge the big boys with their upcoming streaming platforms, or is the plan to generate enough value so that the competitors buy and absorb your company, tech and goodwill links to licence owners?

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1 hour ago, catinthehat said:

Why does the Kickstarter say "All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, May 10 2019 11:00 PM BST."?  I thought you guys were going ahead whether the Kickstarter was successful or not?

 

That's a standard Kickstarter disclaimer - it appears on all the campaigns regardless of the actual status of them. Anstream can't remove it. As JPickford says, it reflects the fact that any Kickstarter funds only become available if the goal is reached.

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I don't think there's anything else Anstream can do in terms of paying people for rights.  It's the pretense that money is going to the original creators (an idea that customers like) which sticks in the craw.   Most creators won't see a penny. 

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2 minutes ago, JPickford said:

I don't think there's anything else Anstream can do in terms of paying people for rights.  It's the pretense that money is going to the original creators (an idea that customers like) which sticks in the craw.   Most creators won't see a penny. 

 

If they're saying 'the creators' get paid, then that's a lie. The rights holders get paid, which is perfectly legal.  In some cases the rights holders will be the creators, in many cases they won't.

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It's the conflation of the two (paying rights holders & paying creators) which has been cited by lots of people as a selling point for a service like this.   I think they are enjoying some benefit from that misconception.   I'm not accusing them of doing anything wrong beyond not correcting that.

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23 hours ago, Anne Summers said:

Here's a nice little video put together by one of our earliest backers, TT Games/ Travellers Tales founder Jon Burton:

 

 

 

The future of retro gaming is...

 

A touch screen device?

 

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43 minutes ago, Ste Pickford said:

 

If they're saying 'the creators' get paid, then that's a lie. The rights holders get paid, which is perfectly legal.  In some cases the rights holders will be the creators, in many cases they won't.

In some cases, the creators are the rights holders. 

I know that definitely isn't always the case. But although I can't discuss details (as it regards content we haven't announced yet) I can see the list of content we have licensed, and the names of the people we are paying for it, in a big spreadsheet in front me. It's definitely not all big, corporate IP-hoarders like new-Atari (although there is some of that, yes). 

 

Also when you say "the creators" remember that could refer to a whole bunch of different people, and though the programmers and artists are often the first people we think of when we think of "creators", remember there's a whole bunch of other people involved in making the creation of a game possible. Would you even have bothered sitting down at a computer to make half of the games you've been responsible for, unless you were sure there were structures in place for those games to be marketed, supported and distributed? And people taking care of the financial side of things? The guys who ran companies like Gremlin, Hewson and Ocean back in the day probably consider that they had just as much to do with the "creation" of games as the coders they paid to actually make them. 

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8 minutes ago, Anne Summers said:

Would you even have bothered sitting down at a computer to make half of the games you've been responsible for, unless you were sure there were structures in place for those games to be marketed, supported and distributed?

 

All the money's going to Tangles, isn't it?

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I don’t think that example works, as Antstream is now the distributor and promoter of an obsolete game, superseding the role of the previous companies. So, an ideal relationship would be between the original creator and the current market options to play and distribute the game.

 

In order to make this work you could have a system whereby rights default to the creator X years after the last release. Or at least some sort of amnesty to settle things.

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16 minutes ago, Mars said:

I don’t think that example works, as Antstream is now the distributor and promoter of an obsolete game, superseding the role of the previous companies. So, an ideal relationship would be between the original creator and the current market options to play and distribute the game.

 

In order to make this work you could have a system whereby rights default to the creator X years after the last release. Or at least some sort of amnesty to settle things.

 

Well, I'd personally run this platform on the basis that a percentage of the profits would go to the original creator(s) if they are separate from the licence holder.

 

It would take a different conversation, and eat into initial profit margin, but it'd work. It'd also get a lot of goodwill and good press, in the mold of Humble Bundle. 

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1 hour ago, Treble said:

 

Well, I'd personally run this platform on the basis that a percentage of the profits would go to the original creator(s) if they are separate from the licence holder.

 

It would take a different conversation, and eat into initial profit margin, but it'd work. It'd also get a lot of goodwill and good press, in the mold of Humble Bundle. 

 

Bit utopian, no? Who is the original 'creator' of Zool for example (to pick a random game on the service). Like, you could pick the designer, then the lead programmer or musician says "Where's my cut?"

And what if you can't contact the creator, even if it is obvious who that is (thinking of Matthew Smith disappearing for decades). Seems like it isn't reasonably possible, nice as it would be. Certainly not feasible if you want a large library of games.

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9 hours ago, Treble said:

My question to @Anne Summers would be, then: what is the company's ultimate goal?

 

 

 

Basically, we just want to do something new and creative with retro video games which everyone on the team loves.

Beyond that we want to be a streaming platform for gaming in general. In particular, we want to provide a easy, low-friction platform which anyone can use to self-publish indie or home-made games and hopefully find an audience for them. But we're starting with retro because we love it. 

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22 hours ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

Bit utopian, no? Who is the original 'creator' of Zool for example (to pick a random game on the service). Like, you could pick the designer, then the lead programmer or musician says "Where's my cut?"

And what if you can't contact the creator, even if it is obvious who that is (thinking of Matthew Smith disappearing for decades). Seems like it isn't reasonably possible, nice as it would be. Certainly not feasible if you want a large library of games.

 

Why not try and be utopian? Why, if the likes of Amazon and Google are operating in this space - two companies who will be megastars in the soon-to-come book, "The Decline and Fall of Late-Stage Capitalism" - shouldn't you try and make a difference whilst earning some cash? 

 

To answer more directly, there's tons of precedent (especially in the music industry) for discovering who the creators are. I'm sure an Entertainment Lawyer could sit down with Antstream and give them some pointers in just one afternoon. I'm not saying don't pay the licence holders, i'm saying also develop a business where you can provide for the creator(s). Anyway, that's not what they are doing - and clearly won't be -  so let's move on.

 

18 hours ago, Anne Summers said:

 

 

 

Basically, we just want to do something new and creative with retro video games which everyone on the team loves.

Beyond that we want to be a streaming platform for gaming in general. In particular, we want to provide a easy, low-friction platform which anyone can use to self-publish indie or home-made games and hopefully find an audience for them. But we're starting with retro because we love it. 

 

 

You selectively quoted me there. I was asking a much more challenging point about your future than you deigned to answer. As a backer of your venture, I'd ask you to treat me as an investor, not a consumer who has no right to the ins and outs as all they are doing is buying a product.

 

Currently you're coming across as a company using the KS platform just for financing, which is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Especially as your responses are superficial and appear to be marketing-led.

 

Don't advertise on a gaming forum if you don't want to be questioned. Don't use Kickstarter if you don't want your business plan challenged.

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20 hours ago, Anne Summers said:

 

 

 

Basically, we just want to do something new and creative with retro video games which everyone on the team loves.

Beyond that we want to be a streaming platform for gaming in general. In particular, we want to provide a easy, low-friction platform which anyone can use to self-publish indie or home-made games and hopefully find an audience for them. But we're starting with retro because we love it. 

 

I'd be interested to find out whether the streaming vs downloads decision was made because of rights issues or piracy concerns. Or both. Can you comment on that?

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28 minutes ago, JPickford said:

I wonder if 80's game creators actually still own streaming rights.   We certainly didn't sign them away explicitly.  I'll definitely challenge this if any of my work ever appears on one of these services.

 

I bet you didn’t sign away online distribution rights either!

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This thread is an example why you hire PR, Anne summers has tied themselves up in knots, one min its retro only, then it’s not, next it’s funded, then it’s kickstarts, then it’s repaying the original creators, then it’s not. 

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48 minutes ago, carlospie said:

This thread is an example why you hire PR, Anne summers has tied themselves up in knots, one min its retro only, then it’s not, next it’s funded, then it’s kickstarts, then it’s repaying the original creators, then it’s not. 

Yeah, you're totally right of course. This was never meant to be "official" PR, just Jon and myself talking about the project we've been involved with on a forum we've both been members of for 20-odd years. We've grown well beyond that now , so I'm going to duck out of this thread - I may pop in from time to time to share official announcements but I won't be getting involved in day-to-day discussions, I'll leave that to the pros from now on. 

Sincere thanks to all of you who've backed us, wished us well or just helped us to consider important points. 

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On 11/04/2019 at 15:58, SozzlyJoe said:

Who is the original 'creator' of Zool for example (to pick a random game on the service). Like, you could pick the designer, then the lead programmer or musician says "Where's my cut?"

 

But it seems like the majority of this money is going to people who no longer produce games (who else but Codemasters?).

 

Maybe if some of the profit were put into a fund for retro devs to pitch for, with customers voting on their proposed games. Enough money to cover their production time, and then decent royalties.

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