While much of the world may be focused on the Nintendo Switch launch on March 3, there’s another (much more affordable) option for gamers looking for multiplayer party games. Zurich-based startup, N-Dream has launched the cloud-based AirConsole with over 50 web-based games, and there’s even a Nintendo emulator for retro classics. Gamers can play any of these games for free with advertising or pay a $3 monthly subscription for an ad-free experience. There’s no downloading required, so it becomes an instant gameplay experience.

AirConsole operates on hardware already sitting around the house. It uses a smartphone as the controller and a big screen with internet access (such as a PC, Mac, Smart TV or tablet) to showcase the browser-based game. Each smartphone automatically adapts to fit the control scheme of each game.

According to Alice Ruppert, lead game developer at N-Dream, AirConsole was created because local multiplayer games and party games are becoming hard to find on traditional consoles. “With AirConsole, we try to bring back that social casual gaming experience,” Ruppert told [a]listdaily.

A team of six runs the company, but they’ve garnered the support of over 600 developers. N-Dream has hosted a couple of developer contests to incentivize small teams to make multiplayer games for its platform. The first contest received 20 submissions and 15 of them are launching for the platform. The current contest runs through the end of February and Ruppert expects 20 to 30 game submissions. The best game receives $10,000.

While AirConsole is available globally with servers in three continents, Ruppert said the majority of the platform’s user base is from the US with a large following in Western Europe. “We have had players from just about every country in the world,” Ruppert said. “We’ve tripled our traffic in the past few months, adding 10 percent more users every week. Each of our top games has been played by hundreds of thousands of players.”

A lot of the games currently available are exclusive to AirConsole, which ties into the dearth of local multiplayer games within the ecosystem. “Local multiplayer games have been named dead a few times, but we believe that there’s an interest and demand to play local multiplayer and we’re starting to get the numbers to prove that,” Ruppert said.

Ruppert said the goal is to add more quality games to the platform over quantity of games, stating: “We’re always looking for developers, but we have the monetization in place, the product is working and we know people are interested.”

The free-to-play model, which requires gamers to watch about eight or nine 30-second ads within an hour (and some ads are skippable), has been popular with gamers. “We’re working with different ad providers to fill the ads to experiment with which types of ads work best with our users,” said Ruppert.

To date, N-Dream has marketed AirConsole through ads on Facebook and some influencer campaigns. A lot of promotion has come organically online, especially through platforms like Reddit. Since all games are browser-based, games can be played on Smart TVs and Android TV, which will be a coming push for the company.

“Some of the games need individual apps because of limited performance on some Smart TV devices,” Ruppert said. “We’re trying to get more games on Android TV and we’re also talking to hardware manufacturers.”

N-Dream will be at GDC looking for new development partners.