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Stardock releases next phase of their Impulse service

Posted by: Chuck at 4/7/2009 11:20 PM
Stardock has released the latest phase of it's Impulse digital distribution service.  The latest update comes with a host of graphical changes but the significance of this release is more than a few graphic changes.  Phase 3 also includes the Impulse Reactor development platform that allows developers to add new features without the aid of a third party client as well as the Impulse Reactor Overlay which allows developers to tie in the Impulse service to see which of their friends are online, chat with them, and access profile data. 

The key feature of this release is Stardocks new DRM alternative GOO which will allow gamers to transfer the licenses of games they buy through the service.  This is the real heart of the system and provides the real differentiator for Stardocks digital distribution system.  There aren't a lot of games that take advantage of these systems yet but Stardock did announce that they have deals in progress with Paradox and Activision.

If you want more information you should check out Brad Wardell's blog post which provides a history of the service and where they are taking it in the future.


Stardock’s Impulse Phase 3 Complete: New User Interface, Features and Impulse Reactor Developer Tools Now Available



PLYMOUTH, MI (APRIL 7, 2009) - Stardock (www.stardock.com) announced the third major update to its digital distribution platform, Impulse today. Known as Impulse: Phase 3, the update includes a host of new features.



Impulse Phase 3 includes five major new features that developer Stardock believes will be compelling to both PC users and software publishers. These new features are:



1. The Impulse client has had its user interface significantly improved and updated with features such as player rankings, achievements, intelligent match-making, and more. It also includes a new tray application that lets users track friends, receive update notifications, and much more.
2. The beta of Impulse Anywhere, a new web-based method for users whose home Internet connections are non-ideal to download their software on another machine, take the files home and install them.
3. The release of Impulse Reactor, a development platform that lets users add many new features to their games without having to re-distribute a third-party client (i.e. users don’t have to distribute the Impulse client). Impulse Reactor includes features such as intelligent match-making, multiplayer tournament support, NAT negotiation, friend lists, rankings, community features and much more. Gas Powered Games’ much anticipated PC game, Demigod, is being released next week and makes full use of Impulse Reactor.
4. Impulse Reactor Overlay, an in-game overlay that lets users instantly access chat, friends lists, profile data, micro-expansions, and more. Demigod will also be the first title to make full use of this.
5. Game Object Obfuscation (Goo) - An alternative method for developers to protect their intellectual property. Goo allows developers to associate licenses with people rather than their PCs which will eliminate the issue of “limited activations”. It also provides the underpinnings to support vendor neutral software downloads and transferring of licenses.



“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,” said Brad Wardell, president & CEO of Stardock.



Stardock is in the process of migrating from traditional activation on its digitally distributed software to Goo and working to incorporate Impulse Reactor into its existing titles.



“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,” continued Wardell.



One of the first publishers to adopt Goo is Paradox Interactive, whose titles on Impulse will soon be protected via the new technology.



In addition, Stardock and Activision Publishing, Inc. recently signed a distribution agreement which will make select Activision titles available on Impulse in the near future. Stardock expects to add additional major publishers this spring.



“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,” said Wardell.



For further details about Impulse please visit www.impulsedriven.com.

For more information about Stardock please visit www.stardock.com.



About Stardock

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 customi