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Atari partners with Antstream, responds to VCS concerns

Throwback VCS console status update includes retro game-streaming app, statement that designer's work on project is "largely concluded"

Atari provided an update on the VCS microconsole this week, saying it has added a new content partner to the offering and downplaying concerns about a key staffer moving on.

The new partner is Antstream, a subscription retro-game-streaming service that will launch an exclusive version of its app for the Atari VCS. The app will offer 50 Atari games in its streaming library at launch, from decades-old Atari titles like Yar's Revenge and Pong to more modern titles for the PC, as well as Sony and Microsoft consoles. A subscription to the service will run $10 monthly or $96 annually after a free 30-day trial.

The Antstream announcement came on the heels of criticism levied at Atari for the slow pace of news on the VCS front. In July, Atari published a Medium post saying it would show off more of the console this summer. Last week The Register ran a piece highlighting the lack of summer news and expressing continued skepticism about the project. In particular, the site pointed out that one of the key designers on the project, Tin Giant's Rob Wyatt, had recently co-founded a startup creating an unrelated digital game board called The Last Gameboard.

When asked about Wyatt's status on the Atari VCS, project lead Michael Arzt told, "As with any gaming console, multiple consultants are brought in for their expertise at different project phases. The Tin Giant team was hired to work on specific elements of the Atari VCS. Now with that work largely concluded, they are focusing on other projects. But, yes, Rob Wyatt is still part of the Atari VCS project."

It's been more than two years since the Atari VCS was first announced as the Ataribox, and even then it was described as "years in the making." After multiple delays, it is currently has a March 2020 release window.

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