Gamestop buys Impulse and Spawn Labs

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by Terminator02, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Terminator02

    Terminator02 ヽ( 。 ヮ゚)ノ

    Apr 10, 2010
    United States
    Somewhere near monkat
    Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't say the people of GameStop are taking the challenge of "digital" lying down. The massive Texas-based retailer (everything's bigger in Texas) just announced the acquisition of streaming tech outfit Spawn Labs – you'll recall the HD-720 box we brought on the Engadget Show – and digital distribution portal, Impulse.

    Whoa, whoa, whoa ... so GameStop purchased Stardock, Impulse's owner? Nope! "GameStop has acquired Impulse, Inc.," the official Stardock FAQ on the deal reads. "Impulse is a separate business unit from Stardock Entertainment." No layoffs are anticipated, staff stays with Impulse, customer service is still handled by Impulse (for now!), and the group is actually hiring.

    The press release says that Impulse will offer "three specific components." First is the client, dubbed "Impulse::Client" here, which users can use to download games. Duh. Next is Impulse::Reactor, which "provides content publishers customer friendly DRM and copy protection tools. It also allows developers to enable achievements, account management, friend lists, chat, multiplayer lobbies, and cloud storage within their games." Last is Impulse::Publisher which gives pubs "real-time reporting and management tools."

    GameStop's interest in Impulse – one of the industry's biggest competitors to market leader Steam – is obvious. What's not so obvious is its interest in Spawn Labs. "Once the Spawn Labs integration and testing on a new consumer interface is complete, users will have immediate access to a wide selection of high-definition video games on demand on any Internet-enabled device," the press release reads. That sounds to us like GameStop is getting into the cloud-based gaming arena (ie: OnLive).

    We're following up with GameStop, Stardock, and all the other concerned parties and we'll let you know what we uncover.[/p]
    [​IMG] Source (Joystiq)

    Stardock's Brad Wardell talks about selling Impulse to GameStop

    "Not everyone's goal in life is to run a thousand person company," said Stardock founder Brad Wardell, who just today announced that he's sold the growing digital distribution arm of his company, Impulse, to GameStop for an undisclosed sum. "Certainly the path of least resistance would have been to just grow with Impulse and become a digital retailer, but that's not what I signed up for."

    Impulse was originally started as a way for Stardock to distribute its own games and software digitally, and was opened up three years ago to other developers. Since then, it's grown to compete with the big player in digital distribution, Steam. Wardell, speaking with Joystiq in an interview today, said that the growth in revenue actually became a cause for concern. "When Impulse became our number one source of revenue," said Wardell, "I realized it was time for us to look at our options there."

    "Last year, because Impulse's revenue was growing so much, more resources were being dedicated to it," said Wardell. "We were either going to have to become a retailer, or we were going to have to find some other way." Wardell decided to find another company to run Impulse as an online retailer, but he wanted to be picky about who should do it. "At that point, who would be the best partner who was already a retailer? Not some startup, not someone who's getting into retail, but someone who knows retail and who knows games, who would provide the biggest boost to the PC market?"

    Of course, GameStop fit the bill. "Impulse obviously is not the number one by far in terms of market share," admitted Wardell, "but it has three, four million users and is growing rapidly. So when you combine our technology, which is start-of-the-art and continuing, with GameStop's user base and retail experience, you have a pretty compelling story."

    Though Impulse will be completely separate from Stardock when the deal goes through, Wardell said Stardock's games will stay exclusive on Impulse "for the foreseeable future." "Stardock is now using Impulse like any other publisher would," he said. In fact, Stardock plans to make full use of Impulse's various developer services, including the Impulse Reactor free-to-play options, so Wardell says that Stardock is still "actively engaged with GameStop on a day-to-day-basis and we expect that to continue."

    There are a few functions in Stardock shared among the various Impulse and Stardock teams, including "operations, payroll management, technical support, and those kinds of things," said Wardell, but any redundant staffers will simply be brought back into Stardock. Does he expect any layoffs as a result of the deal? "Nope," he answers matter-of-factly.

    But the most important effect of the deal, according to Wardell, may be a solid boost to the PC gaming market. "This is such a huge win for PC gamers," he said. PC gaming is a market that's long been declared dying, but Wardell says it's just moving away from traditional retail channels, and into digital distribution. "As far as the PC, there's so many other ways to interact with digital entertainment than going to a brick-and-mortar store and buying a box. So having someone like GameStop get involved and become a major player in this space greatly increases the opportunities for developers like us and all of the other indies out there."[/p]
    [​IMG] Source (Joystiq)
  2. twiztidsinz

    twiztidsinz Taiju Yamada Fan

    Dec 23, 2008
    United States
    "Impulse – one of the industry's biggest competitors to market leader Steam"

    Impulse is horrible, just like the rest of Stardock as of late.
  3. TehSkull

    TehSkull Living the life

    Nov 29, 2009
    United States
    This should be interesting. If they do things right, GameStop may have a great plan. I'd love to be able to ask for a GameStop gift card, and be able to buy OnLive-like games, Steam-like games, or Xbox games instead of needing 3 different gifts or having to choose one.

    Will it succeed? Only time will tell.
  4. injected11

    injected11 Crescent Fresh™

    Jul 17, 2009
    United States
    I paused for a moment when I first read that statement, and then lol'd as well, because I had never heard of them until these articles were posted.
  5. Heran Bago

    Heran Bago Where do puyo come from?

    Nov 6, 2005
    United States
    Foggy California
    Impulse is a great platform to publish your indie game. Even if it's made in RPG maker. I actually have a lot of respect for the business.