As it was foretold, Stardock's digital distribution service (DDS) Impulse enters Phase 3 today, meaning a heck of a lot of updates, including its new gamer-friendly digital rights management (DRM) solution "Goo". Here are the five new major features:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
No doubt related to #5, Activision has signed on with Impulse (Diablo 3 goes digital?), with Paradox Interactive (already on the DDS) being amongst the first publishers to utilize Goo; additional publishers are expected to come this Spring.
"One of the key things about Impulse Reactor and Goo is that it's a win-win for users and publishers," president and CEO of Stardock Brad Wardell said in a press release. "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."
"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."
Wardell further noted in an interview: "Everyone's always talking about how the PCs 'died'. Well, it's not dying, but being a PC gamer has some disadvantages, and what we're trying to do is rectify those disadvantages."