Atari VCS Console to Include Online Streams of Retro Games, Too | News & Opinion


Atari’s upcoming retro-inspired game console will go beyond offering pre-installed games on the hardware, and let you play thousands of other classic titles by streaming them over the internet.

The Atari VCS is slated to launch next March with more than 100 Atari games on board. However, the company is also beefing up the game list by entering into a partnership with Antstream Arcade, a UK provider of retro game streaming to TVs, phones, and PCs.

The deal means customers can get access to a complete library of over 300 Atari games, in addition to more than 2,000 other titles for old-school game systems such as the Commodore 64, Nintendo64, Nintendo NES, and Sega Genesis, among others.

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The catch is that you’ll have to pay Antstream for access. Atari VCS owners will be offered a 30-day free trial, but then have to pay $9.99 a month. Buy an annual subscription and you’ll pay $7.99 a month.

When Atari VCS users log in or subscribe to the Antstream service using their Atari VCS, it will immediately unlock an exclusive and enhanced version of the Antstream app engineered specifically for the Atari VCS,” Atari said in a blog post. “This enhanced collection will be exclusive to the Atari VCS at launch and will not be available on other Antstream platforms without an Atari VCS account.”

At first, the Antstream app will offer more than 50 classic Atari titles with other games added over time. “Popular Atari titles appearing via the Atari VCS Edition of Antstream Arcade include standalone retro classics —from Adventure, Night Driver, Pong, Tempest 2000, and Yars’ Revenge— and full Atari compilations from PlayStation, Xbox, and PC platforms,” the company said in a press release.

So far, Atari hasn’t announced what pre-installed games will be included on the VCS. But the partnership with Antstream promises to address any gaps in the full game list.

The Atari VCS will start at $249 for the 4GB base model, making it far more expensive than other retro consoles, such as Sega Genesis Mini, which launched earlier this month for $79. However, the VCS also promises to let you run newly developed games and stream 4K media, thanks to the system’s AMD Ryzen processor and Linux-based OS.

The Atari VCS is currently up for pre-order as a $389 bundle that includes two controllers and 8GB of storage. The 11,000 consumers who pre-ordered the device through the campaign are slated to receive their units in December.

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