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Stardock launches Impulse

Stardock launches Impulse

Only time will tell if Stardock's Impulse service can ever rival Valve's Steam platform.

Publisher Stardock has just announced that it has launched it's new digital distribution platform today, titling the new download service as 'Impulse'.

Impulse has already got a notable selection of games on offer, including Sins of a Solar Empire, Galactic Civilizations and Unreal Tournament 3. Unlike many new start-up rivals to Steam, Impulse already has a decent list of supporters on board including Epic, THQ, AVG, Gas Powered Games, Hothead Games and Ironclad Games.

Most interesting of all these details though is the news that Impulse is designed to allow companies and individuals to replicate the platform and distribute their own branded versions by mid-august. The idea according to the press release is that "every time a user creates an account with an affiliated distributor, that distributor will receive a percentage of the gross revenue of any future purchases.

Which sounds pretty clever if you ask us.

Impulse is a platform first, a store second,” said Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock Corp. “Our primary objective with Impulse is to address the issues users have with their Windows experience today. That includes being able to boot up a new PC, install Impulse, and then be able to press a button and have it install all of your software and games with one click.

How cool does that sound to you? Enough to get you downloading? Let us know in the forums.

30 Comments

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will. 18th June 2008, 12:46 Quote
I don't understand the logic behind this. Surely the whole point of programs like steam are that we only have to have one of them and we (hopefully) can buy and manage all our games through one service.

I'm not against other following steam, it's always a good thing to have some competition but allowing companies to brand up their own versions just seems stupid! I don't want a THQ, EA, T2, (etc etc) versions of all these programs cluttering up my computer. It defeats their purpose.
badders 18th June 2008, 12:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by will.
I don't understand the logic behind this. Surely the whole point of programs like steam are that we only have to have one of them and we (hopefully) can buy and manage all our games through one service.

I'm not against other following steam, it's always a good thing to have some competition but allowing companies to brand up their own versions just seems stupid! I don't want a THQ, EA, T2, (etc etc) versions of all these programs cluttering up my computer. It defeats their purpose.

Aside from the fact that by default, the ALL HAVE TO BE RUNNING, ALL THE TIME.
Veles 18th June 2008, 13:04 Quote
Sounds good, I quite liked stardock central, it's good they've improved upon it.

As far as we the consumers go, this is definitely a good thing, so you might have to have another program running in the background, oh noes, what does it give us? A decent competitor for steam, competition means lower prices, for way too long steam have gotten away with high prices for old games, this might change things.

This isn't just another EA downloader, stardock central had a lot of low budget indie games available just like steam (except probably more so), and impulse now has the backing of several big developers. This isn't going to be a platform for releasing their own games only. From what I gather from the companies branded versions, Epic can make an Epic impulse, this is just the regular impulse with an epic skin, all the games available on impulse will be listed, and whenever someone buys a game not produced by Epic, they'll get commission. Kind of like if they put a play-asia box on their web site.
fathazza 18th June 2008, 13:11 Quote
i quite like the way they sell apps and other stuff through it as well.
Still i own all the games i want from there on disk so im not going to bother with it just yet.
Veles 18th June 2008, 13:16 Quote
Oooo awesome it has it's own object dock type thing, and from the looks of it, you can put short cuts to whatever applications and games you like.

I always used to use quick launch as my desktop shortcut bit but I might have to switch.
proxess 18th June 2008, 13:46 Quote
steampowered? impulsedriven? the idea is nice, but hey, some originality please.
g3n3tiX 18th June 2008, 13:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
steampowered? impulsedriven? the idea is nice, but hey, some originality please.

Nice find !
Another competitor in the digital distribution arena.
Island Dog 18th June 2008, 14:31 Quote
Let me also point out the other phases of release. I think this brings a great opportunity for developers, especially independents.
Quote:
Phase two, scheduled for mid-August, will include Impulse Reactor and the beta of MyImpulse, a utility that will allow developers to automatically submit their games or software to Impulse under a streamlined, uniform royalty agreement for moderation. Phase three will be launched in early 2009 and will greatly automate the ability for developers to publish their games and software on Impulse as well as include virtual drive management tools.

:)
freedom810 18th June 2008, 15:17 Quote
Steam does everything i want it too.
Stardock? Never even heard of it before, it cant be very big.
cjmUK 18th June 2008, 16:01 Quote
So... Is it just another broken model like Steam, or can you actually transfer game ownership (ie sell).

If you can't transfer licences, I'm not interested - nor will many other people. Should we be backed into a corner, such that *all* games are solely available through these restricted channels, then I can see a marked increase in piracy on the horizon.

I don't imagine ebay will be big fans either, for obvious reasons.

Also what does it actually offer? Automatic updates? We know from Steam that this isn't always a blessing, but regardless, it doesn't really offer anything new or original.
HourBeforeDawn 18th June 2008, 16:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
So... Is it just another broken model like Steam, or can you actually transfer game ownership (ie sell).

If you can't transfer licences, I'm not interested - nor will many other people. Should we be backed into a corner, such that *all* games are solely available through these restricted channels, then I can see a marked increase in piracy on the horizon.

I don't imagine ebay will be big fans either, for obvious reasons.

Also what does it actually offer? Automatic updates? We know from Steam that this isn't always a blessing, but regardless, it doesn't really offer anything new or original.

now why on earth would they let you sell games? its not some cheap game stop lol besides most of the games now and days you cant sell due to one time activation type lic. and so on so I dont think that would be a real factor that they would bother to even look into.

So far I think your the only person I have really seen say these kind of things and also I doubt a company like eBay will really care lol they dont just sell games you know ;)

and last of course its not offering anything new its just a competitor lol look at how many things in life that are just a copy of something else, its simply to spur competition and pricing and what not. ;)
cjmUK 18th June 2008, 16:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
now why on earth would they let you sell games?

Clearly, I don't want to be able to sell games through Impulse, but I want to be able to transfer my games elsewhere.

In practice, this means I want to be able to sell games here and on ebay, or perhaps give them to my nephew - things that I, and many others, frequently do.
Quote:
besides most of the games now and days you cant sell due to one time activation type lic.

Name one (apart from Steam titles).

Bioshock, Crysis, Mass Effect (etc) were all slated for their 'crippling' DRM, yet I've bought, played and then sold all of these. In fact I used the proceeds from each to pay for the next one.

I've also sold and given away Steam titles, but in order to do this, I actually install each new game against a different account, and then the account is passed on to the next person.
Quote:
So far I think your the only person I have really seen say these kind of things {/quote]

...then get out and about a bit more. The same arguments have been raging since Steam was launched. It's a decent idea, apart from the fact that is is designed to prevent licence transfers.
and also I doubt a company like eBay will really care lol they dont just sell games you know ;) [/quote]

I imagine ebay will be sweating a little. Imagine if this is the thin end of the wedge. Imagine Ford preventing resale of their cars. Imagine Sony preventing resale of their products. Imagine the day when we can't pass on/sell CDs and DVDs.

[quote]and last of course its not offering anything new its just a competitor lol look at how many things in life that are just a copy of something else, its simply to spur competition and pricing and what not.[/QUOTE]

What do you think would provide better price competition: a second hand games market or two cartels offering identical services for identical sums of money?

Now if they charge £1/$2 for a change of ownership, it would be a reasonable compromise... but from the little I can see, it is Steam2. More of the same.
HourBeforeDawn 18th June 2008, 17:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK

I imagine ebay will be sweating a little. Imagine if this is the thin end of the wedge. Imagine Ford preventing resale of their cars. Imagine Sony preventing resale of their products. Imagine the day when we can't pass on/sell CDs and DVDs.


Okay someone is a bit paranoid. ~_~
cjmUK 18th June 2008, 17:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
Okay someone is a bit paranoid. ~_~

Not paranoid, but I understand your point. It was an extreme scenario. Nevertheless it was made to demonstrate a point.

Everybody moans about DRM (and how it serves publishers right when their IP is pirated) and then they go out and buy games from Steam and music from iTunes.

If we really are unhappy about the 'fair use' restrictions through invasive DRM then you should be fighting systems such as Impulse which promote it.
DXR_13KE 18th June 2008, 17:39 Quote
i hope they mix things up a little.... i am getting tired of the current monopoly.....
Veles 18th June 2008, 22:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
If we really are unhappy about the 'fair use' restrictions through invasive DRM then you should be fighting systems such as Impulse which promote it.

Unlike other DRM systems, steam/impulse isn't too intrusive, and it's actually quite a handy piece of software. I don't just disagree with DRM completely, there is a need for a company to protect it's IP. But intrusive and damaging DRM I disagree with.

I thought it was still against the EULA on PC games to resell them anyway?
Mentai 18th June 2008, 23:00 Quote
I admit the ability to pass on games would be good. Case in point: I bought Sam and Max ep 1 on steam, didn't really like it. I think my friend might do, so I want to give it to him (as I wont play it again), but I can't. If I could, and he did like it, it would mean more money for steam/the developer. It doesn't keep me up at night though, I generally don't like to pass/sell on games.
cjmUK 18th June 2008, 23:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Unlike other DRM systems, steam/impulse isn't too intrusive, and it's actually quite a handy piece of software. I don't just disagree with DRM completely, there is a need for a company to protect it's IP. But intrusive and damaging DRM I disagree with.

I thought it was still against the EULA on PC games to resell them anyway?

I'm fine with any DRM that stops more than one person having 'ownership' of a copy at any given time, but not when it impinges on fair use. In theory, you couldn't backup a CD and use it instead of the real disk, but it was allowed through various fair use laws/clauses. But companies are trying to close down on such privileges and I think it is immoral. As for whether it is illegal to sell games, I can only assume that it is - since ebay (and others) allow it - if there was any doubt, they wouldn't allow it.

If I buy virtually anything else in life, I can give it away or sell it on. They are trying to improve sales by restricting this, but I would suggest they are encouraging piracy.
impar 19th June 2008, 00:12 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
But companies are trying to close down on such privileges...
I see it as a right, not a privilege.
HourBeforeDawn 19th June 2008, 01:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentai
I admit the ability to pass on games would be good. Case in point: I bought Sam and Max ep 1 on steam, didn't really like it. I think my friend might do, so I want to give it to him (as I wont play it again), but I can't. If I could, and he did like it, it would mean more money for steam/the developer. It doesn't keep me up at night though, I generally don't like to pass/sell on games.

see if you could "give" someone a game you bought that you didnt care for to someone else then I see big issues with that as thats all people would do, one game copy would just jump from hands to hands so if they were to do something like that then maybe make it where it can be transfered only once from the original buyer to prevent such things from happening.
Veles 19th June 2008, 01:53 Quote
I gave Brad's Review a read and it's quite interesting the features he wants to implement in the future, such as refunds, which I think it a first for digitally distributed games, and the ability to link many programs (like say, firefox, thunderbird, mediaplayer classic, etc.) and be able to install/update them in much the same way steam does.
zero0ne 19th June 2008, 02:36 Quote
the idea of "giving" a game to someone else is/would be a really simple thing to code in... A simple form to "transfer" "ownership" from one steam account to another or one Impulse account to another. I think that if you asked stardock to do that, they would eventually.

Say person A buys the game from Impulse...
4 months later, he wants to give it to someone (or sell it on e-bay)

Person B creates an account on Impulse, and on Person As account, they type in Person B and "give" them the game.
Now the game is removed from Person As library, and instead in Person B's Library.

real freaking easy, and I'd bet Stardock would be more likely to do it than steam (err Valve).
Matticus 19th June 2008, 02:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by zero0ne
the idea of "giving" a game to someone else is/would be a really simple thing to code in... A simple form to "transfer" "ownership" from one steam account to another or one Impulse account to another. I think that if you asked stardock to do that, they would eventually.

Say person A buys the game from Impulse...
4 months later, he wants to give it to someone (or sell it on e-bay)

Person B creates an account on Impulse, and on Person As account, they type in Person B and "give" them the game.
Now the game is removed from Person As library, and instead in Person B's Library.

real freaking easy, and I'd bet Stardock would be more likely to do it than steam (err Valve).

The issue with that, is like HourBeforeDawn said. Games could just keep switching hands, for this to be of any benifit to steam/impulse there would have to be a small tranfer charge. Otherwise groups of friends could just share games.
johnmustrule 19th June 2008, 03:37 Quote
"there own branded versions" yeah that's awsum! a hundered different docking programs running for all the games I buy, no thanks. Steam rocks because it's compact and simple, I don't need a THQ one trying to run next to a Epic one.
rls669 19th June 2008, 04:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by zero0ne
the idea of "giving" a game to someone else is/would be a really simple thing to code in... A simple form to "transfer" "ownership" from one steam account to another or one Impulse account to another. I think that if you asked stardock to do that, they would eventually.
That would be cool. Their totalgaming.net store has a gift option for buying new games. A friend bought Sins for me that way, entered my account info, and it appeared in my Stardock Central for download.
Mentai 19th June 2008, 04:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
see if you could "give" someone a game you bought that you didnt care for to someone else then I see big issues with that as thats all people would do, one game copy would just jump from hands to hands so if they were to do something like that then maybe make it where it can be transfered only once from the original buyer to prevent such things from happening.

Why is that a problem though? If it's a multiplayer game and you want to play together both parties would have to buy it, but the other one could try it first. If it's a single player game, then I see it as the right of the original owner to transfer ownership (even though I know that's not how it legally works). Like when I was a kid, me and my friend would alternate on which big 1st party Nintendo games to buy, because they were mostly single player, and $100 a game is a LOT when you're a kid. Occasionally, if one was good enough, we would both buy it.
I really don't think companies would lose any sales if transfer of ownership was allowed. Besides, you can always just trade login details to play each others games, a more formal method would just be nicer.
Eloquence 19th June 2008, 10:53 Quote
Thanks but no thanks, just sounds like a cheap Steam ripoff to me. One without the well established user base that Steam has and without a whole lot of big title games.
rls669 19th June 2008, 13:28 Quote
Impulse is the successor to Stardock Central which has been around for years. Stardock might not be a huge force in gaming (yet) but their desktop stuff (Windowblinds for one) has something like 10 million customers.
wild88888 19th June 2008, 16:08 Quote
i also think that the whole "gift" idea is really nifty. So, I actually got impulse and I found something quite cool...

They're offering full refunds on games that you don't like (I don't think its operational quite yet but will be). Then, you're allowed to buy games for friends (one of the options under Checkout is "This purchase is for a friend") and you can give the game to somebody else. So, although its not just transfering from you to your friend, it's still the idea that you paid for it, then get all your money back, then re-buy it and send it to a friend... a slight hassle but it still works :-)
Island Dog 19th June 2008, 16:09 Quote
Something like Impulse is not a buy-and-sell application for the end user. Allowing someone to transfer licenses really doesn't benefit the developer. If you want to give a game or application as a gift, there are systems for that.

You can read the full release at the link below, which lists many more benefits of Impulse.

http://www.stardock.com/about/newsitem.asp?id=1059

:)
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