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There's a new classic arcade game streaming service coming to iPhone

Retro games are coming to the iPhone (Source: Antstream Arcade)

Subscription games service Antstream Arcade is about to bring its catalog of over 1,300 retro titles to the iPhone for a low monthly fee.

In January 2024, Apple dropped its previous stringent App Store requirements that meant companies could not stream whole libraries games to the iPhone. It was part of Apple's response to requirements by the European Union for it to be more open to rivals.

Now Antstream Arcade, which has previously been on many platforms including that of Epic Games, will be available on iOS.

Antstream Arcade describes itself as being "the world's largest retro streaming gaming platform. Of the currently 1,333 Titles in the catalog, and presumably all coming to iOS, there are highlights such as Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and Missile Command.

All games are from classic gaming systems of the past. Titles span about two decades, running from the Commodore 64, to Sony's original PlayStation.

Antstream Arcade began as a Kickstarter project in 2019. An early review in PC Magazine praised its number of games, but was critical of how difficult it is to search or scroll through them.

It's specifically a streaming service, which means that it is essentially sending a video stream of a game to the iPhone and using a order of magnitude more data that most ROM downloads. Consequently, it needs a good 5G or a strong Wi-Fi connection to make playing the games practical, given that most of them require split-second timing.

On the plus side, licensing the games is already taken care of by Antstream.

After an initial launch promotion, Antstream Arcade on the iPhone will cost $5 per month or $40 per year. At launch and for an unspecified limited time afterwards, the price is discounted to $4 per month or $30 per year.

When launched, Antstream Arcade, will appear in the App Store as one single app to download. Users won't have to search for 1,300 titles in the App Store, they can just get this one app and browse games from there.

This is a core part of Apple's rule change. Previously every game in a collection would have to be a separate app in the App Store, and each title would have to pass Apple's review team before it could be played by the public.

Now under the new system, only the one central app has to be passed by the App Store team. Even so, each individual game streamed through that one app must adhere to App Store rules.