Stardock launches Impulse digital platform

Stardock has launched their new digital platform today called Impulse. The new platform is designed to allow users to associate PC games, applications, and utilities with a unified account that users can then update and install software from.

The Impulse store has gained considerable support even at the initial launch with such heavy weights as Corel, AMD, Epic, THQ, Gas Powered Games, Hot Head Games, Microsoft and many others expressing support for the platform.

"Impulse is, by far, the most advanced digital distribution platform we've seen, and we're extremely excited to take advantage of the features of Impulse Reactor," said Chris Taylor, CEO of Gas Powered Games. "It's easy to use, has awesome capabilities for developers, and it doesn't tie consumers to a single digital distribution platform."

According to the Impulse white paper, Impulse includes a number of notable features such as a high degree of user rights providing users seamless support for running games either online or offline, refunding of digital purchases if users run into technical issues, an integrated dock, support for automated third-party submissions, mod support, game rankings, multiplayer match making, vast community features and more.

Stardock has indicated that Impulse is being released in three phases. Today marks the initial launch with the bulk of the features available. A second phase will be in late August in which the platform SDK, Impulse Reactor, will be made available to developers, and a third phase in early 2009.

Impulse also includes third-party distribution support in which companies and websites can distribute branded versions of Impulse. Affiliates then receive a portion of any purchases made by the user on Impulse.

Neowin.net has signed on to the exclusive pilot program in the form of Neowin Impulse.

Download: Neowin Impulse
View: Impulse White Paper
Link: Impulse Website
Link: Impulse Press Release

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This kinda seems like a stupid question, but i think it would be nice to know.

Does Impulse get around rootkits or general bad DRM? EX: I have been told that if you purchase Bioshock on steam there is no limit to installations or rootkit installed. Does impulse give users that same benefit?

And can i install applications on more than one PC as long as i use the same account? (i ask because i have a desktop and laptop which is not exactly uncommon in today's world)

Personally, I don't see the point of creating such thing for applications, applications are in your computer already and don't need accounts to be used. As for gaming, I have to be honest, Steam even thought it started really bad, does everything you need for gaming and is just fine for its current purpose. They even sell games really cheap.

This program is ****. After installing the theme-application (my colors?) that kinda comes with it i had to use system restore. Horrid and slow application.

(sgtLENIN said @ #37)
This program is ****. After installing the theme-application (my colors?) that kinda comes with it i had to use system restore. Horrid and slow application.

First.... My colors is good as far as I'm concerned, and would you say that Steam is **** if you bought CoD4 through it, and didn't like CoD4?

That's kinda.... dumb....

(aStRaLgOd said @ #37.1)

First.... My colors is good as far as I'm concerned, and would you say that Steam is **** if you bought CoD4 through it, and didn't like CoD4?

That's kinda.... dumb....

My colors is made by stardock. call of duty 4 is not made by valve. not researching....is kinda dumb........

(sgtLENIN said @ #37.2)

My colors is made by stardock. call of duty 4 is not made by valve. not researching....is kinda dumb........

No, what I meant is judging the quality of a delivery program by the program it delivers.

I just installed Impulse.... even after the Windows Account Control prompt, it gives an error that it cannot create it's temporary folders.

Guess I'll put it on hold

I already have an old version of Impulse installed but dont like it, however in order to support Neowin I would be willing to update to their version as I do make some purchases from stardock, what differences are there and is it safe to install over the top or will it require an uninstall of the old crappy version pre release

Well as with all pre-release software, its strongly advisable to remove the beta/rc version before installing final.

As for the differences with the Neowin version, I've only seen one. A different icon on the top left of the software. Another poster to this thread mentioned that Neowin get a percentage of all sales made using the Neowin version, but I don't think there's been any official announcement of this.

(TCLN Ryster said @ #35.1)
Well as with all pre-release software, its strongly advisable to remove the beta/rc version before installing final.

As for the differences with the Neowin version, I've only seen one. A different icon on the top left of the software. Another poster to this thread mentioned that Neowin get a percentage of all sales made using the Neowin version, but I don't think there's been any official announcement of this.

http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?show...&hl=impulse

I'll tell you what we're trying to accomplish : some of us joined before Neobond and Redmak sold out to the company that has foisted crap/bloatware on windows users for 10 years or more, that's what, and we'd like to at least be heard.

Must you people (and the people with attitudes such as yours) troll every single thread and news thread? When will you guys just roll over and die already...

I'll tell you what we're trying to accomplish : some of us joined before Neobond and Redmak sold out to the company that has foisted crap/bloatware on windows users for 10 years or more, that's what, and we'd like to at least be heard.

i don't think they sold out...it's more like Neowin grew bigger so requires better/reliable servers = requires more funds. Unless someone want to step up on the tuff and say "I'll fund all Neowin server needs/bills for as long as Neowin exists."
If people don't like Stardock then just ignore Stardock is it that tough?

The launch of Impulse makes sense, there's definitely a market there and it seems its eager to trump Steam.

Visually, It looks just ok to me. It looks too much like Vista, but darker. I am one to opt for eye candy, but it's just not my style. I like things more minimal, IMO, users are able to perceive it as simpler, and not bulky as someone on here stated that stardock screams bloatware. Less is more and what not. Same goes for the logos. IMO a common user is more likely to appeal to an app that they perceive as simple/Clean, than one that's visually a bit busy.

Functionality wise, I think platforms like these scream for a full-screen mode. A restricted mode that'll lock the user out of the computer, in essence you get kind of what consoles have, a simple UI accompanied with a simplified/direct experience.

Let's have a comment from some who isn't a subscriber. Yes I like impulse. I don't use the games but I use it for the majority of object desktop products and it works great. I plan on using it for the political machine game within a day or two and I can say that is a great game.

Let's be honest here, raise your hand for those that **** on this. If your under 18 please stand and raise your hand. Honestly its gotten to the point that nothing can be posted here without anyone getting into a ****ing contest.

I agree. I wish Neowin would make the age of the poster public. I'm getting sick of the signal to noise ratio in the comments sections here due to the infantilism of the haters.

I have to wonder what the motivation of the haters is. Here's an app that may generate money for Neowin based on voluntary purchasing. That is something people here should be able to get behind. But no, the haters **** on it anyway.

(Mascrin said @ #30.1)
I agree. I wish Neowin would make the age of the poster public. I'm getting sick of the signal to noise ratio in the comments sections here due to the infantilism of the haters.

I have to wonder what the motivation of the haters is. Here's an app that may generate money for Neowin based on voluntary purchasing. That is something people here should be able to get behind. But no, the haters **** on it anyway.

And on the other hand, if you rabid fanboys would just for once let a product be posted, and let the comments flow without your ingrained sense of having to gush all over it. Just once, let folks comment on it for a few days, and hold your applause until after.

Because for every troll, there's a couple of stardock employees / fans fanning the flames....

This entire thread seems to be normal users going.. "Ahh well I don't like this, blah blah" or "I like xyz better because of"

And then subscribers/stardock reps trying to "flip" the comments to "matter of opinion" or "well I like it"

It actually makes me upset that you can tell that some of the comments are just said because that person is associated with the company, and they probably feel obligated to put a positive spin on things all the time, in the name of money. I'm not saying they aren't being honest.

But when someone says "Blah blah sucks, the interface needs blah blah" don't reply "Oh, well I think blah blah is great, and it's better then anything in the universe".

Say "Wow, you may have a point, person who puts money in my pocket. I will forward that to our idea/development team for further research and we might make a change based on feedback"

It's actually kind of sad to read the posts, because it shows you how commercial and slowly integrated Neowin is getting with Stardock.

Like it or not, every small thing that changes is just a part of the larger change. And at the rate it's going here, this place will eventually sell out. (If it hasn't already)

Right.... I like that. "Normal users" is the term you use? On other websites, they're called trolls.

Say "Wow, you may have a point, person who puts money in my pocket. I will forward that to our idea/development team for further research and we might make a change based on feedback"

The subscribers are the ones who put money in Neowin's pocket and they seem to like it. How much money have you paid the Neowin? Probably about the same as I have: zero.

All I've seen is a bunch of Steam fanboyism and usual stardock bashing.

So not being a hater means being a "sell out". How sad for you.

(Mascrin said @ #29.1)
Right.... I like that. "Normal users" is the term you use? On other websites, they're called trolls.

The subscribers are the ones who put money in Neowin's pocket and they seem to like it. How much money have you paid the Neowin? Probably about the same as I have: zero.

All I've seen is a bunch of Steam fanboyism and usual stardock bashing.

So not being a hater means being a "sell out". How sad for you.

Wait, what?... Did you just say that all the "Normal users" are trolls?

And because I stated my opinion or view, I am a sell out? Sad for me? What are you talking about.... wow......

(phiberoptik said @ #29.2)

Wait, what?... Did you just say that all the "Normal users" are trolls?

And because I stated my opinion or view, I am a sell out? Sad for me? What are you talking about.... wow......

From what I read, you were the one who basically divided Neowin into two groups: subscribers who were mindlessly in favor of Impulse or Stardock and "normal people" who were the ones hostile. You then claimed that Neowin was selling out though I'm not sure on what basis you made that claim.

(Frogboy said @ #29.3)

From what I read, you were the one who basically divided Neowin into two groups: subscribers who were mindlessly in favor of Impulse or Stardock and "normal people" who were the ones hostile. You then claimed that Neowin was selling out though I'm not sure on what basis you made that claim.


And can I just say that I subscribe to neowin because I like neowin and want to support it. I have no vested interest in Stardock or any Stardock products. I have said what I have said because I happen to like the concept and current implementation of Impulse. Is it so hard to believe that there might be an other side to the argument of those trashing it?

(phiberoptik said @ #29)
This entire thread seems to be normal users going.. "Ahh well I don't like this, blah blah" or "I like xyz better because of"

And then subscribers/stardock reps trying to "flip" the comments to "matter of opinion" or "well I like it"

It actually makes me upset that you can tell that some of the comments are just said because that person is associated with the company, and they probably feel obligated to put a positive spin on things all the time, in the name of money. I'm not saying they aren't being honest.

But when someone says "Blah blah sucks, the interface needs blah blah" don't reply "Oh, well I think blah blah is great, and it's better then anything in the universe".

Say "Wow, you may have a point, person who puts money in my pocket. I will forward that to our idea/development team for further research and we might make a change based on feedback"

It's actually kind of sad to read the posts, because it shows you how commercial and slowly integrated Neowin is getting with Stardock.

Like it or not, every small thing that changes is just a part of the larger change. And at the rate it's going here, this place will eventually sell out. (If it hasn't already)

Amen.

And already here's Brad and his well orchestrated crew. Question, Brad, how many other mainstream tech/news sites have this plastered on their front pages today? Any other than your pet sites?

(Davebo said @ #29.5)
And already here's Brad and his well orchestrated crew. Question, Brad, how many other mainstream tech/news sites have this plastered on their front pages today? Any other than your pet sites?

Ars Technica, Betanews, CNET, IGN, 1Up, Next Generation, Shack News, to name a few.

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3168350
http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=c...57&Itemid=2
http://newsblaze.com/story/200806171023040...w/topstory.html
http://arstechnica.com/journals/thumbs.ars...l-store-impulse
http://www.gamershell.com/news_53114.html
http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/53189

Who's biased again?

I don't understand how you can be so narrow-minded to think that Neowin putting their logo on one version of Impulse (i.e. there is a Neowin-less version, and the possibility for other versions sporting other sites' logos), which is a Stardock product, not a Neowin product, and making revenue off of it means Stardock owns them.

Some of you are ridiculous.

I'd love to try it out, but as it is, I don't really have any use for it, so I'm going to have to pass on this, but it looks promising.

-Spenser

(stifler6478 said @ #25)
I don't understand how you can be so narrow-minded to think that Neowin putting their logo on one version of Impulse (i.e. there is a Neowin-less version, and the possibility for other versions sporting other sites' logos), which is a Stardock product, not a Neowin product, and making revenue off of it means Stardock owns them.

Some of you are ridiculous.

Actually, Stardock DO own a stake in Neowin. I think it's about 40%? It's not a controlling stake, and as far as I know, they don't try to influence the running of Neowin at all, but they DO own a stake in it.

(FloatingFatMan said @ #25.1)

Actually, Stardock DO own a stake in Neowin. I think it's about 40%? It's not a controlling stake, and as far as I know, they don't try to influence the running of Neowin at all, but they DO own a stake in it.

Yes I know, but that's not what everyone is saying or implying on this page.

-Spenser

Well now the neowin page has a permanent (and prominent) advertisement for Impulse on their front page.

It's clear and hard to deny that Stardock and Neowin are affiliated, they could possibly even be classified as extensions of each other. However, who cares? Both are great organisations and I have no problem with it.

Ehh? Mostly a Steam ripoff, save your time and bandwidth and don't get this if you intend to use it for games. Steam has better deals, easier interface, and is more refined.
There are many alternative programs (like Steam) that are much better and more worth your time. To me, this was a sheer disappointment...

(does StarDock own Neowin now or something?)

*recon415 out.

Easier interface? I think that's a matter of familiarity. I don't use Steam very much, only to launch Team Fortress 2, but the Impulse interface is far more user friendly in my opinion. As for Steam being more refined, well refinements come with time. This product has been out for what, like a day? Steam has been out for years.

And whos to say you have to use one or the other? Surely theres room for both.

Steam has a better interface? More refined? What planet have you been living on? Unless you have a Valve game, Steam is little more than a glorified download manager. And it's butt ugly to boot and takes half a minute to load.

i dont know why but..

stardock just has that 'bloatware' rep for me for some reason, and i hate the logo and the name.

esp the word dock

Game wise I just dont see anything new that I like or cant find on Steam. Non-game wise, the programs seem a bit bland, like Windows Marketplace bland. Just have to see what other programs come out.

(King Mustard said @ #16)
I have Painkiller and the entered key is not recognized. Not a good start.

Did you get Painkiller from Stardock/TotalGaming.net?

Impulse doesn't automatically let people use serial #s on third party games unless the publisher/developer has signed on to have Impulse take care of their existing customers.

That's fine, but it would be nice if it was made clear that that's the case. I too was under the impression that you could simply enter your existing serials and be on your way.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #16.2)
That's fine, but it would be nice if it was made clear that that's the case. I too was under the impression that you could simply enter your existing serials and be on your way.

I agree, it should be more clear.

(King Mustard said @ #16)
I have Painkiller and the entered key is not recognized. Not a good start.

In that case, it was very misleading, Frogboy, when you said:

"Precisely.

Impulse doesn't care where you got the game. As long as your account has a particular piece of software associated with it, you can re-download it via Impulse regardless of where you bought it.

For example, imagine if you bought Unreal Tournament from Steam. You could, assuming Epic signed on for this, download and update Unreal Tournmanet via Impulse.

That's because Impulse is designed first and foremost to be a platform and not a store."

What you should have said is that "Just because you have a game/app that we sell doesn't mean that you can register it with us".

This is very disappointing, and removes one of the only driving features of Impulse, IMO.

(cykosis said @ #16.4)

In that case, it was very misleading, Frogboy, when you said:

"Precisely.

Impulse doesn't care where you got the game. As long as your account has a particular piece of software associated with it, you can re-download it via Impulse regardless of where you bought it.

For example, imagine if you bought Unreal Tournament from Steam. You could, assuming Epic signed on for this, download and update Unreal Tournmanet via Impulse.

That's because Impulse is designed first and foremost to be a platform and not a store."

What you should have said is that "Just because you have a game/app that we sell doesn't mean that you can register it with us".

This is very disappointing, and removes one of the only driving features of Impulse, IMO.

What? Because Impulse on its first day doesn't have a feature that no other program in the world supports? Better tell Valve and Direct2Drive and everyone else to give it up.

(Mascrin said @ #16.5)
What? Because Impulse on its first day doesn't have a feature that no other program in the world supports? Better tell Valve and Direct2Drive and everyone else to give it up.

Right, that's exactly what I said..... I guess a fanboy hears what they want to hear.

Anyways, ignoring that, I'll get back to the point where the OP said "Hey, I tried to register this product that you sell, but now you say I have to buy it from you to do it.. Even though you said that you didn't care where I got it."

There. Now we're back on track.

(cykosis said @ #16.6)

Right, that's exactly what I said..... I guess a fanboy hears what they want to hear.

Anyways, ignoring that, I'll get back to the point where the OP said "Hey, I tried to register this product that you sell, but now you say I have to buy it from you to do it.. Even though you said that you didn't care where I got it."

There. Now we're back on track.


The "no matter where you bought it" part is coming. Just because those facilities are not yet in place, doesn't mean Frogboy's statement was misleading. Granted he should perhaps have made it more clear that the feature being described was "coming soon" rather than an existing feature.

Well, I downloaded it and then ended up getting rid of it because when I put in serials from products I bought that were supported, it said that it "only supports keys bought from impulse" or something like that. I really wanted this to work so nice like Steam, but for other apps, but it just didn't cut it.

If you read the release notes and the Impulse website, it clearly says that it only supports Stardock products and stuff bought from Impulse in this first stage. They are currently working with content providers to allow you to input your current serials from CD/DVD games so you never have to use the CD/DVD ever again and you can just download the game from Impulse each time you need to install it.

Which sounds very cool, as having a unified system for downloading/installing/updating games on the PC is something I've been hoping for for ages.

(TCLN Ryster said @ #15.1)
They are currently working with content providers to allow you to input your current serials from CD/DVD games so you never have to use the CD/DVD ever again and you can just download the game from Impulse each time you need to install it..

That would be great because my DVD Drive has stopped working.

(TCLN Ryster said @ #15.1)
If you read the release notes and the Impulse website, it clearly says that it only supports Stardock products and stuff bought from Impulse in this first stage. They are currently working with content providers to allow you to input your current serials from CD/DVD games so you never have to use the CD/DVD ever again and you can just download the game from Impulse each time you need to install it.

Which sounds very cool, as having a unified system for downloading/installing/updating games on the PC is something I've been hoping for for ages.

Right, quite an undertaking by Stardock, I mean, It just sounds overwhelming IMO, but what do I know. Also, Valve did say they may offer apps soon, so that's great for competition, but that's different from working with other companies to have CURRENT products supported

I'll have to give it a go when I get home tonight I really like Steam, so naturally this has gotten my interest as well

Which one? Neowin? Stardock? or Impulse?

I agree the Stardock logo isn't that impressive, and the Neowin Logo is almost as old as the internet itself, but the Impulse logo is lovely.

(TCLN Ryster said @ #10.1)
Which one? Neowin? Stardock? or Impulse?

I agree the Stardock logo isn't that impressive, and the Neowin Logo is almost as old as the internet itself, but the Impulse logo is lovely.

The impulse one... just makes the application look cheap.

(digitalsoft said @ #10)
This isnt really relivant to the news posting but that branding kills me! What a sh*t logo!

I too don't really like it
It's very Vista-windows like, and a bit too dark for my taste. I think it should be more minimal, more web 2.0ish, but what the hell does that mean =P

Looks like the worst Steam ripoff ever... Also .. nice going guys .. copy pasting the WHS UI :\

Stardock owns Neowin ... sorry let me correct that .. Stardock owns Stardock-advertisement-platform Neowin

I was thinking the same thing Island Dog. I've only scratched the surface of it so far, but it seems like it has far more potential than steam. The interface is also alot more user friendly and it certainly looks a lot nicer than Steam

Steam has a very no-frills UI that serves its purpose well.

That being said, Impulse's UI is also very nice. You can disable the WB-powered skin if you like.

(sorlag said @ #9.4)
Jeah, way too much stardockish things on neowin. seems they own neowin more and more.

What a silly statement. Stardock products should be ignored by Neowin instead then I take it? How about we ignore all Microsoft products too.

(sorlag said @ #9.4)
Jeah, way too much stardockish things on neowin. seems they own neowin more and more.

Right.. because there was some news item about Stardock what? 3 months ago?

I seem to recall a Valve news item here as a sticky for a full week!

(sorlag said @ #9.4)
Jeah, way too much stardockish things on neowin. seems they own neowin more and more.

They have every right to advertise it, Stardock is a great company and if anything, deserves more attention


You really need to make it clearer that the installer needs to download additional components from the net. At the moment it doesn't and it's deceiving.

This page doesn't even mention downloading or the internet and I just guess thats what it's doing based on the numbers (which I assume are bytes counting up) and the fact my router's activity level just skyrocketed.

(TCLN Ryster said @ #8)
You really need to make it clearer that the installer needs to download additional components from the net. At the moment it doesn't and it's deceiving.

This page doesn't even mention downloading or the internet and I just guess thats what it's doing based on the numbers (which I assume are bytes counting up) and the fact my router's activity level just skyrocketed.

Nice one, Captain Obvious. Who would have thought this online content distribution software would connect to and download content from the web?!

(GEIST said @ #8.1)
Nice one, Captain Obvious. Who would have thought this online content distribution software would connect to and download content from the web?! :rolleyes:

Less of the unwarranted sarcasm and verbal abuse please, Leiutenant Miss-The-Point-Entirely.

I was referring to the installer not the software itself. The installer is not a "online content distribution" program. When you download an installer, it should clearly tell you if it requires additional information from the net to install. It should also make it clear what it's actually doing at the time. The screenshot I posted shows the installer saying it is installing, it doesn't even mention the fact that it's downloading LOTS of extra stuff from the net at the time.

No it is a separate program, but most of the features that SDC has are in Impulse (aside from the skin browser).
Its really a nice program.

When i click the store button I get “Navigation to the webpage was cancelled”

Also when adding games I don’t see how it’s possible to add Unreal Tournament as the game doesn’t even use a serial numbers.

Existing retail copies of Unreal Tournament don't have serials so there's no way to support them. But newer ones do as well as ones on Impulse.

(Frogboy said @ #5.1)
Existing retail copies of Unreal Tournament don't have serials so there's no way to support them. But newer ones do as well as ones on Impulse.

Fair enough then, I didn’t even think UT was sold anymore!
It’s looking promising, Its good to see some big names like Epic have already signed up for this.

So thats what this is then, just a new version of Stardock Central with a shinier look and wider support from other developers/publishers?

Impulse is the replacement for Stardock Central, although Stardock Central isn't being discontinued for a while. While it shares the basic functionality such as downloading, etc., it offers a much more especially in the gaming and community areas.

This is also the first phase of the launch, there will be some significant updates in the future.

Yeah, so I've been reading. I'm especially excited by the prospect of saved games for future titles being stored to an online virtual store. I really hate the long process of backing up all my saved games each time I format and rebuild my PC (usually a couple of times a year).

It crashed when I first tried to create an account. It's also annoying that the password must be 8-12 characters, as the passwords I generally use are shorter. Then when I went to add UT3 it didn't work. Not a great start. Now I can't even login, though I understand that there are usually problems with the launch of any online system.

Right now, existing Unreal users can't be associated with their Impulse account. We're talking to Epic to integrate their users into Impulse.

Ah. That's disappointing, as it basically means I have no reason to use the program at the moment. I'll stick with Steam for now but I'll check back in 6 months or so to see how things have developed.

(theyarecomingforyou said @ #3.3)
Ah. That's disappointing, as it basically means I have no reason to use the program at the moment. I'll stick with Steam for now but I'll check back in 6 months or so to see how things have developed.

Yea we're talking to Eopic right now. We just got the games up there literally in the last 24 hours.

As for using Impulse, you only play games? In the long term, the biggest benefit is the concept of tying licenses to your account. There's a lot of software out there too. Plus, did you try the dock?

I don't only play games, though that's one of the best excuses to get me to try it out. I had a quick look at what other software I generally use but the option to add Office and Nero registrations wasn't there, which basically means I'd only be using it for novelty value. I couldn't even see free software like Firefox available. I mean, if it could automatically install Firefox and apply all my settings, bookmarks and extensions then that would be great. I'm not sure if the plan was to remember preferences and such as well but that would be really helpful.

I tried the dock but with autohide you have to click and there's only a tiny area to aim for - without autohide it's too intrusive. The potential is there and I like the idea but it's not for me just yet.