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Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam

The Brad Wardell interview on PCWorld grabs a burger with the President and CEO of Stardock, discussing games and GameStop's recent acquisition of Impulse. He explains that while Impulse was very successful last year, nearly tripling its revenue and showing a gross profit margin between 20 and 30 percent, the service would require ever-more resources to keep up with the competition. He also implies that Impulse is superior to Steam technologically: "If Impulse isn't best of breed technology, then what is, Steam?" says Wardell. "Steam is the most popular, to be sure, but technologically? Let me put it this way. The technology difference between Impulse and Steam is such that any objective developer who looked at the two would overwhelmingly...let's just say the gulf is significant enough that it's not really a 'depends on your point of view' thing." He concludes his assessment of the situation with his subjective view that GameStop is the favorite to win its battle with Steam: "I don't want there to be only one," says Wardell. "But frankly I'd be surprised if Steam is still... I mean, you look at the technology Impulse adds and the resources GameStop has--well beyond Valve's--and it's really GameStop's fight to lose."

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71. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 9, 2011, 09:43 CreamyBlood
 
Does anyone remember when he made GalCiv I and II for OS/2? I do. Perhaps this "windows" gaming business gets to you after awhile.

 
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70. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 9, 2011, 00:33 eRe4s3r
 
A business goal is to earn more money, not to earn less money because you can't stomach it. If he didn't want to invest Stardock employees then he could have split Impulse off as sister company, if it made a profit it would have sustained itself and given a nice extra income source to make them a fully independent developer like Valve is.  
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69. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 8, 2011, 20:16 m0deth
 
Steam has an offline mode, which works ok, not sure about those games on Steam though.

Anyway, so far, the reason you cite is the only tech advantage I can see for Impulse, it falls behind in most other areas except UI I guess.

It's not like Brad or certain 'celeb' coders haven't been known to sling a little arrogant, off-target hash though over the years.

btw, Blue...did you make the doors here wider or did Derek do that for you on the way in?
 
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68. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 8, 2011, 13:24 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 7, 2011, 16:59:
Pot, meet kettle. At least our hypocrisy only goes so far, while yours knows no bounds. gg, thanks for coming out anyway, Scooter.
Wait you think that was an insult? Impressive. I guess sarcasm and wit don't count, or are they considered uncool again? I can never remember.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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67. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 8, 2011, 11:19 Kxmode
 
dsmart wrote on Apr 8, 2011, 09:46:
Pankin wrote on Apr 7, 2011, 20:32:
This is rich. Derek Smart has posted twice (once after being swatted down by Blue himself) and no one has said a single syllable about it.

Is it backward day or something? Or has a callus replaced that part of our brains?

Swatted down? Really? Shirley you jest.

He jests... and don't call him Shirley.
 
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66. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 8, 2011, 09:46  dsmart 
 
Pankin wrote on Apr 7, 2011, 20:32:
This is rich. Derek Smart has posted twice (once after being swatted down by Blue himself) and no one has said a single syllable about it.

Is it backward day or something? Or has a callus replaced that part of our brains?

Swatted down? Really? Shirley you jest.
 
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Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living. If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
...but don't be surprised if we don't uphold them
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65. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 8, 2011, 09:40 xXBatmanXx
 
industry insight

heh.

The ultimate tongue in cheek I assume sir?
 
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In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. / Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder.
Playing: New dad
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64. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 23:51 Quicksilver
 
I just read the whole thread... still unclear as to what tech he's talking about.

I was just playing a Steam game and had a hankering for stopping for a bit and browsing some websites... well Steam has a built in web browser. All I had to do was press Shift + Tab and I could browse some reddit and when my ADD was satiated, I Shift + Tabbed back to my game. Does impulse have such awesomeness?
 
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63. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 23:42 Dev
 
Sounds like a smart business decision. They made the money from it, the gulf between steam and them is big so he doesn't think it can directly compete with steam unless a pile of resources is invested into it (which could doom the company because they were already struggling with the elementals release), so instead they sold it to gamestop (presumably for enough to keep stardock going for a while and helping them to do another game).

I don't like it as a consumer, but I think it was probably the right call financially as a business.
 
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62. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 21:30 starmonkey
 
Main thing I like about Impulse - once you've installed a game, you don't need Impulse running to play itthe game. I like.

I have no issue with how I have Impulse setup, it's nice and minimalist.

Main issue is the game selection isn't as great as other channels. I have it installed because of GalCiv2 and Sins.

I usually get better deals on Steam.
 
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61. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 21:11 Sepharo
 
Pankin wrote on Apr 7, 2011, 20:32:
This is rich. Derek Smart has posted twice (once after being swatted down by Blue himself) and no one has said a single syllable about it.

Actually three times, but who's counting?

He's just another poster as long as he's being civil.

Let's try to not run him out (though he's already "quit" a few times) as I appreciate his industry insight and candidness.
 
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60. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 20:57 Golwar
 
Pankin wrote on Apr 7, 2011, 20:32:
This is rich. Derek Smart has posted twice (once after being swatted down by Blue himself) and no one has said a single syllable about it.

Is it backward day or something? Or has a callus replaced that part of our brains?

Perhaps it would help if Derek would declare his support for Palin and that he idolizes Glenn Beck? I'm pretty sure that could cause 1-2 direct replies, depending on how he would sell it to us.

Seriously, besides Brad himself, everyone sees it the way that Steam is far ahead. That includes Derek Smart. Blame the topic, we need something more spicy.
 
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59. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 20:32 Pankin
 
This is rich. Derek Smart has posted twice (once after being swatted down by Blue himself) and no one has said a single syllable about it.

Is it backward day or something? Or has a callus replaced that part of our brains?
 
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58. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 20:05 Prez
 
Brad has always had a problem tempering his comments, and this case is no different.

It may well be that technically, Impulse is somehow superior to Steam in one capacity or another. But his implication, that this makes Impulse a sure bet to win the digital distribution war, is just dumb.

That's like saying Age of Conan is a sure bet to beat World of Warcraft in the MMO space because AoC is technically miles ahead of WoW, which, in visuals at least, it undoubtedly is. The assertion is ludicrous even without considering the fact that WoW is eating AoC's lunch and dinner. And dessert. Anyone with even the slightest notion of how gaming as a business works understands that there is no one factor that guarantees success; rather it is a mish-mash of many factors. Steam has so many factors hugely in its favor that to even suggest that Impulse has a chance of beating it, with or without Gamestop at the helm, is laughable.

True, but so is saying "Liberals can't seem to help themselves", which you threw off with ease.

As written, you are quite right. For the life of me I thought I wrote "Liberals here..." It is certainly how I meant to write it. To be the most accurate, I guess I should have written "Some liberals here..." to avoid using too broad a brush.

Few threads can go much past the teens in numbers of posts without having at least one "this idiot must be a Republican"-type forum grenades. With the exception with one or two dedicated right-wing grenadiers, the overwhelming majority of these comments seem to come from the left-leaning Bluesnewsers, but that's just my impression. Any which way, I find it annoying from either - I'm here to get my game on.

This comment was edited on Apr 7, 2011, 20:18.
 
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57. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 19:56 Bhruic
 
While I agree that there are some people who devote entirely too much of their time politically trolling, to say "that's all they do" is a bit disingenuous.

True, but so is saying "Liberals can't seem to help themselves", which you threw off with ease.

Occassionally politics mixes with gaming. This really isn't one of those times, Brad's past comments notwithstanding. It's sad that it's devolved from the topic at hand.
 
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56. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 19:53 Golwar
 
I remember Wardell's claims that Impulse would be great from the developer's UI and POV, so I'll assume that he thinks they are superior to Steam in that part. And well, I guess that isn't absolutely beyond being possible, considering the not too few fails Steam has in its release history.

But for us users there is no doubt that Steam is miles ahead. So dear Brad, as long as the games are available via both channels - guess which side will win, when it is the consumer who makes the final decision?

I use Steam, Gamersgate, GoG, D2D and Impulse in exactly this order. Right now I only see the tendency that D2D might move upwards, not Impulse.
 
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55. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 19:43 Prez
 
Cutter wrote on Apr 7, 2011, 19:11:
Uh what have you been smoking?

Whatever I can get my hands on.



That's all they do. All day long every day. There aren't many liberals left around these days, point in fact. Most are centrists with left and right leaning tendancies, however there's no shortage of right-wing whackos out there.

While I agree that there are some people who devote entirely too much of their time politically trolling, to say "that's all they do" is a bit disingenuous.

Case in point - how often do I go on political rants here? (Hint - answer = never) I am in truth very politically active, but am also considerate of the fact that there are places for such diatribes and discussions and that people roaming gaming sites just in general don't want to hear that crap from either side of the aisle. Personally, I go to gaming sites to get away from politics when I start to get sick of the back-and-forth and name-calling that political discussions inevitably devolve into. Here, I'd rather discuss why Dragon Age 2 sucks balls compared to the original.

And a persons politics should influence their consumption. There are plenty of businesses out there that support stuff I believe in, and plenty who support stuff I'm staunchly opposed too. So why on earth would I want to give my money to those whom I oppose and are opposed to me?

A fair point, though I would point out that having a different opinion from you does not make someone opposed to you. I would buy a good game from a racist homophobe - I'm a gamer, and when it comes to gaming, or consumption in general, if I boycotted everything from people or companies that had a different opinion from me I may as well be Amish, 'cause I wouldn't have much. You and I certainly have differing opinions on things, but I am not by any means "opposed to you".
 
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54. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 19:21 mixma242
 
Not to break up this orgy of political name calling, but doesn't this pairing kind of make sense?

Gamestops first choice would have been Valve, but for whatever reason Gamestop could not acquire them. That is a good thing. The drones at Gamestop are not without any sense or idea - they get it that brick and mortar is doomed. They have money and presence in the here and now and they want to make a play for the future. So they buy the #2 star.

And yes, I do think Impulse is above all others to be considered #2. I dislike Brad and his politics, but I only ever have two distro's on my PC's and that is Steam and Impulse.

Maybe I buy into the whole capitalistic thing too much, but having only one major player in the field is bad. Maybe Impulse being driven by Gamestop bucks will give Steam a run for it's money. That's good. Because otherwise we have an electronic disctro market that is as limited as the retail market is currently...
 
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53. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 19:11 Cutter
 
Prez wrote on Apr 7, 2011, 18:24:
Justopolis wrote on Apr 7, 2011, 14:14:
What is up with all the liberal politics around here? What does this have to do with the story?

Liberals can't seem to help themselves. But right-wingers do it too, just not as often from what I've seen.

Uh what have you been smoking? That's all they do. All day long every day. There aren't many liberals left around these days, point in fact. Most are centrists with left and right leaning tendancies, however there's no shortage of right-wing whackos out there.

And a persons politics should influence their consumption. There are plenty of businesses out there that support stuff I believe in, and plenty who support stuff I'm staunchly opposed too. So why on earth would I want to give my money to those whom I oppose and are opposed to me?
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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52. Re: Stardock on GameStop, Impulse, and Steam Apr 7, 2011, 18:59 Prez
 
@ Kosumo

I've bashed Brad quite a bit, but it has always been related to game designing and public relations, as that is relevant to what he is known for. I've no problem with others criticizing him; heaven knows he's done and said enough to warrant quite a bit.

It makes no difference to me if he likes Glenn Beck or Keith Olberman, reads Fox News or the Huffington post, or votes for Obama or Sarah Palin. These things 1) are things he has the right to do, 2) have no bearing on why I find him relevant enough to comment on, and 3) are none of my business. He is a game designer, not a politician.

I usually just laugh when I hear self-important people impose their un-invited political jabs upon people who have no interest in hearing them whatsoever. At least until it starts to hijack a topic that is.
 
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