Stardock creates a new "Goo"y DRM
3/26/2009 9:07:00 AM
The notoriously anti-DRM folks at Stardock have unveiled a new DRM solution that will allow consumers to not only play their purchased DRM games anywhere they want but will allow them to re-sell their digital games to others if they want to. The Game Object Obfuscation (Goo) is fairly unique that was as most digital distribution systems do not allow you to re-assign the rights to someone
It's an interesting system and with the code all lying within a single file you don't have to have a third party client for authentication (like Steam). It also means that the code doesn't require any rootkits which is another plus.
The system will be released on April 7th with the next phase of Starkdock's Impulse service. I'm interested to see which other publishers sign up to use this service as it could be another major break through in the world of digital distribution.
Stardock Throws Goo on DRM
- Impulse Reactor’s “Goo” paves way for reselling digitally distributed games, universal re-downloading while providing increased protection for publishers -
PLYMOUTH, MI, March 25, 2009 – Stardock announced today that the forthcoming update to its digital distribution platform, Impulse, will include a new technology aimed to pave the way to solving some of the common complaints of digital distribution.
The new technology, known as Game Object Obfuscation (Goo), is a tool that allows developers to encapsulate their game executable into a container that includes the original executable plus Impulse Reactor, Stardock’s virtual platform, into a single encrypted file.
When a player runs the game for the first time, the Goo’d program lets the user enter in their email address and serial number which associates their game to that person as opposed to a piece of hardware like most activation systems do. Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again.
Goo has a number of unique advantages that developer Stardock believes both gamers and developers will appreciate:
1. There is no third-party client required. This means a developer can use this as a universal solution since it is not tied to any particular digital distributor.
2. It paves the way to letting users validate their game on any digital distribution service that supports that game. One common concern of gamers is if the company they purchased a game from exits the market, their game library may disappear too. Games that use Goo would be able to be validated anywhere.
3. It opens the door to gamers being able to resell their games because users can voluntarily disable their game access and transfer their license ownership to another user.
“One of our primary goals for Impulse Reactor is to create a solution that will appeal to game developers while adhering to the Gamers Bill of Rights,” said Brad Wardell, president & CEO of Stardock. “Publishers want to be able to sell their games in as many channels as possible but don’t want to have to implement a half-dozen ‘copy protection’ schemes. Game Object Obfuscation lets the developer have a single game build that can be distributed everywhere while letting gamers potentially be able to re-download their game later from any digital service. Plus, it finally makes possible a way for gamers and publishers to transfer game licenses to players in a secure and reliable fashion.”
Because Goo ties the game to a user’s account instead of the hardware, gamers can install their game to multiple computers without hassle.
Goo will be released on April 7 as part of the upcoming Impulse: Phase 3 release. Stardock also expects to be able to announce multiple major publishers making use of Goo in April as well as adding their libraries to Impulse.
Impulse is poised to exceed one million customers in the next week despite only being launched nine months ago.
To learn more about Impulse, visit www.impulsedriven.com.
Impulse Reactor is a suite of developer tools that allows for matchmaking, NAT negotiation, Cloud Multiplayer, Achievements, Tournaments, IP protection, friends lists, in-game chat, overlays, and much more. It is free to developers whose titles are on Impulse. Impulse Reactor is will be made publicly available on April 7 and is used in Gas Powered Games’ upcoming PC action game, Demigod which has a street date of April 14 at retail and on Impulse.
Stardock is one of the world’s leading developers and publishers of PC games and desktop software. Its PC games include Sins of a Solar Empire, the highest rated and best selling PC strategy game of 2008 as well as the critically acclaimed Galactic Civilizations series. Its desktop software includes Object Desktop, WindowBlinds, and a host of other programs for customizing the Windows experience. Learn more about Stardock by visiting www.stardock.com.