Stardock have updated their digital distribution platform Impulse to what they call Phase 3. This new update to Impulse has has five main features that Stardock think will make the program more appealing to both PC users and publishers. Read on for more details.
The following are the five main features that make up Phase 3:
- The Impulse Client has been massively updated with a new sleeker user interface.
- Impulse Anywhere is a web-based method of downloading their software on one machine then taking them home and installing them on another PC.
- Impulse Reactor is a development platform which allows developers to easily include features such as match-making, rankings and community features into their game. Demigod which is released next week is the first game to use Reactor.
- The Impulse Reactor Overlay is an in-game overlay which enables users to access chat rooms, friends lists and micro-expansions. Again, Demigod will be the first game to make use of this.
- I previously discussed Game Object Obfuscation here. This is Stardock’s tool which they think will get rid of the need for DRM.
Stardock are currently working to incorporate Goo and Impulse Reactor in their existing titles and Paradox Interactive is one of the first publishers that will use Goo. Activision will also be making some titles available on Impulse in the near future.
Obviously Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock was pleased with the progress that has taken place with the release of Impulse Phase 3:
“One of the key things about Impulse Reactor and Goo is that it’s a win-win for users and publishers. For users, it begins the process of our customers owning their software license. For publishers, it provides the highest level of security for their software but in a way that doesn’t inconvenience legitimate customers.
Stardock’s well known objection to most copy protection schemes and DRM has been that they penalize customers while pirates end up with a better experience because they don’t have to put up with the annoying copy protection. Our strategy has always focused on rewarding customers for buying our stuff. With Goo, now we can share some of the technologies that have been so successful for us with other developers.
With Phase 3 of Impulse completed, we are now focusing on bringing the catalog of games and applications on Impulse up to parity with what is available on other services.”
This is a big day for Stardock and everyone who uses Impulse, and it may also have a wider effect with other developers and publishers looking to use some, or all, of these new features that have been introduced by Stardock.
It will also be interesting to see whether these new features will result in Impulse becoming a more popular method of digital distribution. It recently hit 1 million users, a figure dwarfed by the 20 million Steam users. If Stardock can get more big publishers to implement features such as Reactor and Goo then we may see Impulse becoming a more realistic alternative to Steam, however things are looking good with the acqusition of Activision games and the forthcoming launch of Demigod.
You can read the full press release concerning the release of Impulse Phase 3 here. If you wish to get a broader grasp of what these changes mean and what lies in store for Impulse then I advise you to read this piece.