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Gamestop To Acquire Stardock's Impulse Download Service, Streaming Tech Company
Gamestop To Acquire Stardock's Impulse Download Service, Streaming Tech Company
March 31, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

March 31, 2011 | By Kyle Orland
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    9 comments
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Indie, Production, Business/Marketing



In its biggest push yet into the digital game market, major video game retailer GameStop today announced a pending purchase of Stardock subsidiary Impulse Inc., including the Impulse digital delivery service, as well as the acquisition of streaming technology company Spawn Labs.

The Impulse purchase, expected to close in May 2011, will give Gamestop a major foothold in the digital delivery market, and will also include the company's Impulse: Reactor and Impulse: Publisher middleware tools.

Stardock's Brad Wardell estimated Impulse had 10 percent of the PC digital game delivery market in late 2009, with Valve's Steam service taking up a massive 70 percent of the market.

Spawn Labs has been working on a consumer-facing game streaming service since its founding in 2009. Since then, major competitors including OnLive and Gaikai have launched similar services that stream high-definition games run on servers to all manner of internet-enabled devices.

“With these important acquisitions, we will continue to make appropriate investments related to our multichannel strategy. GameStop is uniquely positioned to be the leader in both the physical and digital gaming space," GameStop CEO J. Paul Raines said in a statement.

After establishing a digital business group in 2009, GameStop purchased web game portal Kongregate last year. The company has also been expanding in-store sales of digital content for consoles with promotions including digital pre-order incentives.

[UPDATE: An FAQ on the acquisition posted by Stardock promises no disruption in Impulse service or changes to Impulse accounts in the immediate future. The company says it doesn't expect any layoffs to be associated with the purchase, and notes that Stardock is actually hiring fora variety of positions.]


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Comments


George Blott
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And so the battle of the digital pre-order bonus began, for real this time.

Michiel Hendriks
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I seriously hope this is a April's fool joke. Because I have absolutely no faith in a company whose primary business is 2nd hand sales of videogames.

Evan Combs
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I agree, also I don't like seeing the giants buying up the small guy because the small guy does it better. I'd rather see the small guy grow.

sean lindskog
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That's too bad.



I much prefer the digital distribution services to be run by companies which are game developers rather than publishing- or retail-only. I think companies like Stardock and Valve are much more inclined to give fair deals to the devs whose games they distribute.



I respect Stardock for trying very hard to be "good guys". But they've had a few bumps along the road lately with their recently released games. Maybe they were in financial trouble.



I suppose things could work out ok for developers, though. As much as I love Steam / Valve, maybe having some real competition will give devs more negotiation clout, and push the dominance of digital distribution even further into the market.



Still, I'm extremely thankful that Valve became the first major player in digital distribution, and set the precedent of fair developer contracts. Had it not been Valve, things may have been very different.

Daniel Boy
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I think impulse was very profitable. But Stardock hasn't got the money to make it a real contender for steam. In comes gamestop --deeply worried about this digital thing-- making an offer no one can refuse. Analysts will love this. And when the retail market is starting to collapse and 100s of brick and mortar stores are closed you will hear from the CEO: "But gamestop.com (formerly known as impulse) is growing by 30%".

Daniel Boy
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Does anybody want to sell back Elemental 2 for in-store credit?

Carl Chavez
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I hope Impulse under GameStop continues to provide a good sales outlet for independent developers. Impulse has certainly been better than Steam in giving indies a hub to sell their games at along with major publishers. (You can't get Starpoint Gemini or FlatSpace on Steam, for example.)

Tom Dazed
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I would call this deal a win-win for the companies. We will see what it brings the costumers.

Matthew Mouras
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Ugh... Stardock just feels like "one of the good ones" to me. Gamestop, not so much. If it makes for a more competitive digital marketplace, then it's a good thing. I just don't have faith that GS will do anything but lessen the experience. We'll see.


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