Impulse (software)

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Impulse
Impulse logo
Impulse store.png
Games displayed on the Impulse client's storefront
Developer(s) GameStop (formerly Stardock)
Initial release June 17, 2008[1]
Stable release 4.04.825 (August 2, 2012) [±]
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Content delivery
License Proprietary (Freeware)
Website http://www.impulsedriven.com/

Impulse was a digital distribution and multiplayer platform. Originally developed by Stardock to succeed Stardock Central, it was purchased by GameStop in March 2011,[2][3] and was subsequently rebranded as GameStop PC Downloads, with the client being renamed GameStop App.[4]

Impulse facilitates the purchase, download and updating of software.[1] The platform also provides blogging, friends-list, chat, game matchmaking, achievements and ranking to certain games.

Features[edit]

Impulse helps users purchase and download software. Purchases are tied to an account on GameStop's servers, and can be downloaded from anywhere that allows the use of the Impulse client.

Storefront[edit]

Impulse provides a storefront that supports localized currencies, territory restrictions and a process for refunds. Publishers and developers using the Impulse storefront include Activision,[5] Atari,[6] Ubisoft,[5] Epic Games, THQ, AVG, Iolo Technologies, Gas Powered Games, Hothead Games, Ironclad Games, Popcap Games, and Meridian4.

Software management[edit]

Impulse screenshot showing list of installed software

Impulse allows users to install, update (when desired) and uninstall the software tied to a user's account. Users who purchase Impulse-supported games at retail stores can download the client and install previously purchased software on their computers without the original disc after registration of the game.

Impulse can create archives of purchased software to be stored on a backup medium, allowing users to revert to an older version if the latest version is not up to expectations.

Impulse::Reactor[edit]

Game developers can make API calls and query information from the Impulse community infrastructure using Impulse::Reactor, a software library which provides DRM/copy protection, achievements, accounts, friends lists, chat, multiplayer lobbies, and cloud storage.[2]

Criticism[edit]

Exclusive patches[edit]

Impulse, used for delivering patches, has been criticised for causing the decline in availability of standalone patches.[citation needed] While it provides convenient and smaller updates for internet-connected users, users without availability of internet access face no other option to update their game via standalone patches. The only other way to update a game is to install Impulse on another connected computer, get an updated copy of the software or game before transferring it to an archive medium where it can be restored to the unconnected computer. However, the process is not feasible for people with limited access on public or corporate computers.[citation needed] The availability of these patches in the event that the company goes out of business is uncertain.

Resale limitations[edit]

Impulse does not support the resale of games.[7] The product is transferable only when a user is buying a second copy for another person, via the support system.

Re-sales may be made possible with Game Object Obfuscation, or GOO for short. GOO is GameStop's client-free DRM solution which allows neutrality between competing digital stores.[8]

Fences 0.99 controversy[edit]

Stardock attracted criticism[citation needed] in September 2009 when its desktop organizer Fences 0.99 was bundled with Impulse (requiring Internet Explorer 7 and Microsoft .NET) without notification on the product description or download page. Fences had previously been available as a stand-alone product. Stardock later informed customers of the additional software requirements on the Fences website.

History[edit]

Impulse was launched on June 17, 2008[1] as a successor to Stardock Central (launched in 2001). While Steam is the largest and most well-known digital distribution platform since its launch in 2002, it was only in 2004 that ecommerce was added.

In March 2011, GameStop announced their intent to purchase Impulse, as well as Spawn Labs.[3] GameStop president Tony Bartel said these acquisitions would "provide a customer-friendly and publisher-friendly way" to deliver "gaming in many locations and on many devices."[2] The purchase was completed on May 2, 2011.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Stardock Launches Impulse". 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  2. ^ a b c "GameStop Announces Acquisition of Spawn Labs and Agreement to Acquire Impulse, Inc.". GameStop. 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  3. ^ a b Christopher Grant (2011-03-31). "GameStop indulges in some Impulse buying ... no seriously, it bought Impulse (and Spawn Labs)". Joystiq. AOL. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  4. ^ "GameStop PC Downloads About". GameStop. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  5. ^ a b Frank Cifaldi (2009-06-15). "Stardock adds Ubisoft, Activision games to Impulse". Gamesinfo.biz. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  6. ^ "Atari comes to Impulse". Stardock. 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  7. ^ Stardock Knowledgebase, "Can I give my copy of software to my friend?"
  8. ^ Joe Martin (2009-03-26). "Stardock announces flexible DRM system, Goo". bit-gamer.net. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 

External links[edit]