Why Antstream Arcade Should Push Further Into Indie and Homebrew Games

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Antstream Arcade, the retro gaming cloud gaming service which has a library of 1300+ games, has always prided itself on offering the largest retro game library of any cloud gaming platform. However, in this editorial, I want to discuss why Antstream Arcade could benefit from expanding its homebrew and indie game lineup on the service. NOTE: We are mainly focusing on “homebrew” indie games, which are indie games developed for game consoles without official development kits, but instead using tools like NESMaker. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss.

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Antstream Arcade Has Games From Indie Teams Already:

Okay, let’s start with the main reason why this makes sense. Antstream Arcade already offers select games from many homebrew/indie game developers. The most notable indie/homebrew developer who has their games on Antstream, in my opinion, is the developer Lowtek Games, who developed Flea and Tapeworm Disco Puzzle. There are many other notable indie/homebrew game publishers like Mega Cat Studios who could easily help stock Antstream Arcade’s massive game library with more great homebrew games.

The Atari Factor:

Right, this point is a bit convoluted, so try to keep up. In June of 2023, Atari bought an equity stake in Antstream Arcade for about $100,000, which gave them a 10% share of the cloud platform. Then, in September 2023, Atari acquired a popular community site and homebrew seller, AtariAge.com. Do you see where I’m going with this yet? Antstream Arcade could easily approach Atari or their subsidiary, AtariAge, to license a number of smaller homebrew games for systems like the Atari 7800 or Atari 8-bit computers, which are both systems that Antstream Arcade can run games from. Now, this does seem like a more obscure point to mention, especially since Antstream is technically partially owned by Atari, but until I get Bentley Bear’s Crystal Quest on Antstream Arcade, I’ll be waiting for an expanded collaboration.

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Not All Retro Publishers Will Play Nice With Antstream:

The final point I want to talk about is the fact that many classic game publishers simply won’t play nice with Antstream. For every Piko Interactive, Atari, and Namco who are willing to negotiate with the Antstream team, there are companies like Sega, EA, or Nintendo who own massive libraries but aren’t as easy to sway. Most homebrew games are made by smaller teams, who are passionate about the console they are developing for. As time has progressed, many talented developers like The Retro Room, Lowtek Games, and Neofid Studios have popped up and provided amazing experiences to their users.

One other notable point with this statement is that these homebrew developers will most probably charge less to license their games and will also benefit more due to the promotion of their games. Indie developers have a lot more to gain from working with a platform like Antstream Arcade when compared to multibillion-dollar corporations like Sega.

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Final Thoughts:

Antstream Arcade is one of my preferred cloud gaming platforms, especially as I’m a huge fan of classic video games. However, I also can’t help but notice the benefits for Antstream Arcade to add more homebrew/indie titles to their game platform, including the huge breath of new indie games for retro platforms. If we see Antstream Arcade work with more indie developers to make their games more accessible to more users, it could help them take more risks when it comes to making their next adventure. I’m not saying Antstream Arcade should ditch licensing retro video games, but what I am saying is I think Antstream Arcade would benefit from expanding its indie/homebrew offerings alongside its current selections from retro game consoles, arcades, and microcomputers.

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