Blog of Facelord, from Clan Syphon.
A Steam user's views on Impulse and other digital distribution services available.
Published on May 10, 2009 By Facelord In PC Gaming

I've been using Steam for almost a year now, and I own 70 games on my Steam account(no joke). I have a close group of Steam friends and have created a gamer clan composed of 370 members in my public group and 12 members in my private group. I've obviously been content with Steam being my main gaming platform, and I didn't feel the need to look into other digital distribution services...

...until I found out about Good Old Games(http://www.gog.com/; GOG here on out) by chance while casually browsing the internet. GOG(if you don't already know this) is a distribution service that provides old PC games at ridiculously good prices, usually $5.99 to $9.99 for individual games, sometimes higher for game packages. I was surprised at the great catalog of games, including the older Fallout titles and games like Sacrifice that I wanted to play, but never had the chance to. My father owned Sacrifice for a while, but he could never get it to run on his PC(OS issues). I was very interested in the game at that time in my life, but I could never play it, so you could imagine my excitement when I learned that GOG carries it for only $5.99.

At close examination of a GOG official post about the service, I saw things like "No DRM!" and "you can download the games you buy to as many PCs as you want; it's your game, you bought it!" I didn't completely comprehend this for quite a while. With Steam you need to keep the Steam program running to play your games. It has been called by respected gaming journalists the most intrusive form of DRM possible, as well as the best thing to hit the PC gaming market(by the same people, no less). I'm completely alright with Steam running in the background while I play games; In fact, I'd rather use this safe form of DRM than not. I certainly don't want pirates to damage the PC gaming market any more than they already have! It just appeared to be the most logical thing to do for a digital video game publisher. Now with GOG: No DRM? As many PC downloads as you want? Isn't that like selling 20 copies of a game for the price of one? I was sure they had a platform for their games to prevent mass pirating, but my assumption was wrong. They provide ridiculous freedom and great service. What's not to like here? 

Direct2Drive(http://www.direct2drive.com/)is one of those services I referenced in the first paragraph that fails miserably. You buy a game, and then are limited to a certain number of downloads. DRM comes with quite a few of their games, the service is terrible, and the prices are just as bad as retail, if not worse. I may never use this service; not too interested anyways.

A few weeks ago I read an article on Demigod and remembered that it was the cover story on one of my old Games for Windows Magazine issues(my favorite PC gaming magazine; now sadly dead along with EGM), and I was automatically excited for it. When I pulled up the Wikipedia page on the game, it said that Demigod works with Impulse, Stardock's digital distribution service. I had no idea that there were any services that could potentially compete with Steam! It was a bit of a shocker. I decided that it was very interesting and quickly downloaded Impulse.

Now, here I am. Impulse doesn't have all of the features as Steam, the interface is inferior in some regards, superior in others, and the games provided aren't very exciting. The only games I'm really interested in with Impulse are Demigod, Sins of a Solar Empire, and... well, that's about it. =/

What's so good about Impulse, then? Well, the freedom Impulse provides is nice. GOO looks like a really big innovation Steam would benefit greatly from, selling software to Impulse users in the same browser as the games sold on Impulse is nice, and the fact you don't need Impulse running at the same time as your games is very interesting to me. It looks like Impulse is being built upon, and that it will get better as time passes, as Steam has over the years. I wish Impulse and Stardock a great future. Luckily, I'll be along for the ride, and I'll be able to examine the development of a digital distribution service.

 

This article was partly written(typed?) for Steam users in Clan Syphon, and I'm just expressing my views on digital distribution as a whole here. Hopefully this will cause a few PC gamers to look into alternate distribution services. That's the main reason I spent an hour typing this. =O Sorry if I said anything inaccurate. I hope I didn't.


Comments (Page 1)
on May 10, 2009

Well, Impulse is Internet Exploiter combined with 7zip turned into a frustratingly slow resource hog thanks to bad-idea-from-start .NET technology. Having said the bad things, there are quite a bit of things to say in favour of it.

Impulse's main point is competition. It has good games at low price and has forced Steam to join the competition, like sales events.

Then, I think Impulse certainly has a few must-have titles, to name a few not in your list:

  • World of Goo
  • Galactic Civilizations II
  • Space Rangers II
  • Sid Meier's Railroads
An issue is that there are quite a few not so well known games on the Impulse-list. I consider this both a good and a bad thing.

Very important for me: Impulse is laptop friendly. I can play games in the train, or on an airport, no internet connection required.

 

on May 10, 2009

dmantione
Well, Impulse is Internet Exploiter combined with 7zip turned into a frustratingly slow resource hog thanks to bad-idea-from-start .NET technology. Having said the bad things, there are quite a bit of things to say in favour of it.Impulse's main point is competition. It has good games at low price and has forced Steam to join the competition, like sales events.Then, I think Impulse certainly has a few must-have titles, to name a few not in your list:World of Goo Galactic Civilizations II Space Rangers II Sid Meier's Railroads An issue is that there are quite a few not so well known games on the Impulse-list. I consider this both a good and a bad thing.Very important for me: Impulse is laptop friendly. I can play games in the train, or on an airport, no internet connection required. 

I already own World of Goo on Steam, Sid Meier's Railroads is offered on Steam, and I'm not interested in the others.

on May 10, 2009

dmantione
Well, Impulse is Internet Exploiter combined with 7zip turned into a frustratingly slow resource hog thanks to bad-idea-from-start .NET technology. Having said the bad things, there are quite a bit of things to say in favour of it.Impulse's main point is competition. It has good games at low price and has forced Steam to join the competition, like sales events.Then, I think Impulse certainly has a few must-have titles, to name a few not in your list:World of Goo Galactic Civilizations II Space Rangers II Sid Meier's Railroads An issue is that there are quite a few not so well known games on the Impulse-list. I consider this both a good and a bad thing.Very important for me: Impulse is laptop friendly. I can play games in the train, or on an airport, no internet connection required. 

I already own World of Goo on Steam, Sid Meier's Railroads is offered on Steam, and I'm not interested in the others. Also, you can go into offline mode on Steam and play all of your single-player games in offline mode. :/

Either way, I'm very interested in Impulse. Hopefully there will be more good, Impulse-only games soon.

on May 10, 2009

Another thing that bothers me: It won't let me edit or delete my second comment. Just disregard that one, that really bothers me...

on May 10, 2009

I am stoked for the future of digital distribution.  There are many competing services out there now and tons of sales!  It went from a state of no sales and even higher than retail prices in some instances to constant, deep discounting.  I check these sites  weekly for sales: GOG, Steam, Gamersgate, Impulse.  Rock Paper Shotgun also does a great job posting a weekly list of internet-wide sales they call the Bargain Bucket.  Impulse has been slacking on weekly sales lately, but I figure SD has their hands full with the Demigod nightmare so I understand.  I just hope they take care of it soon and get back into the game! 

PC gaming will come to dominate because of the industry's taking the reins of digital distribution.  Just like the music industry when they figured out that offering quick, easy, high quality downloads of music at a reasonable price will get people to pay again, so will it happen with PC games.

on May 10, 2009

I will admit i am  not 100% on the digital bandwagon yet. I have dabbled with Steam, mostly with demos, betas and other free content, bought a few bargain titles from Impulse and not used the others at all. I have concerns about digital distribution but what is bothering most about the trend is its bleeding into the retail versions of the game. I've heard if you buy Left 4 Dead off a retail shelf, you still need steam to play and the internet which makes it an issue for people in the military, for one thing. I understand its obvious to need the internet for digital distribution, but why even release a retail version and require the samething? Not ever computer that plays games is connected to the internet, connected to the high speed internet or has access to the internet at all. Please keep in mind, I have high speed internet, and I game all the time. My beef is with the activation processes, but I also think its concerning to see others struggle with the internet part when there is no good reason for them to do so. Why shouldn't members of the military have a chance to play the single person part of Left 4 Dead until they are back and able to deal with the rest of it?

on May 10, 2009

Direct2Drive(http://www.direct2drive.com/ )is one of those services I referenced in the first paragraph that fails miserably . You buy a game, and then are limited to a certain number of downloads. DRM comes with quite a few of their games, the service is terrible, and the prices are just as bad as retail, if not worse .

While i agree about that D2D is terrible, slow and just bad service, i cant agree about prices. I guess you are from US, D2D has many regional restrictions, but prices on their EU Store .co.uk are FAR better for me than Steam , and sometimes better than retail (i bought Burnout Paradise from D2D , because it was 13€ cheaper, i just needed CDkey anyway , same with Crysis Warhead , 22€ was just pretty good). So , thats about D2D....

 

Steam - It used to be pretty good & fast service. But it has become useless for buying any new games in Europe (i hope same thing wont happen to impulse), well unless you are ok with paying 30-60% more than retail. Content servers are just crap, only indie games download pretty fast , mostly because they are pretty small, otherwise its just 50-400 kB/s. So only thing i buy at Steam now are ... cheap indie games / weekend deals...

Impulse - Well im a Impulse newbie, but so far my experience is positive. I have 3 games atm (CoH ToV and Sins of a Solar Empire,  Demigod both bought off Impulse), prices were  nice (i bought CoH ToV in sale , now its 13€ more :/ , Demigod is 5€  cheaper than in retail , which is pretty good!). Download speeds are very , very good , im always getting my max 1,1-1,3 MB/s. I would just like more games available on it, but i guess time will solve this issue...

 

on May 10, 2009

Hopefully everyone will read this before commenting about how you need internet access to play Steam games all the time; Steam has an offline mode feature that allows you to play all of your games offline(if the game has a single-player mode). I've played Left 4 Dead in offline mode a few times, and I don't see why everyone here doesn't understand how that works. Sure, you still need one-time verification, but that doesn't change the fact that offline mode exists. Seriously guys, try it out some time.

on May 10, 2009

GOG.com definitely seems too good to be true.  It's not though; it's somehow as amazing as it claims to be.  I wish Impulse would take more cues from them instead of Steam.  There are some hints that this may be the case (Impulse Anywhere), but not much actual progress.

on May 10, 2009

I use STEAM for almost all my games that aren't Stardock Published, and I use Impluse for games that require Impluse to be updated (SINS, DEMIGOD).

on May 10, 2009

@ Facelord

Nesrie was only referring to the difficulties that many military servicemen and women have with internet, particularly, in what im guessing his case is, deployment, where he might not be able to connect his laptop to the internet the entire time hes deployed. I had serious issues with Half-Life 2 when i first bought it because the base i was stationed at had very restrictive internet access; as such, i couldn't get onto steam to activate it and lay it until months later when i went on leave to a friends house. Obviously, this isn't an issue for downloading games, as youre not downloading them when you dont have internet access; rather, his issue is with required internet registration before being able to play the game in the first place, because he might not be able to get adequate access for months at a time to do so.

That being said, I am slowly coming around to the digital distribution movement, particularly now that I have found several services that offer unlimited downloads of the game so long as the pc is registered( i have several pcs that I game on, and i also like to play some games that i get for a long time, through the lives of several pcs, so limited downloads is an issue).

on May 10, 2009

Facelord

I already own World of Goo on Steam, Sid Meier's Railroads is offered on Steam, and I'm not interested in the others.

First: you are WRONG. Space Rangers 2 is probably one of the very best games you can play today.

It's huge, deep, fun, challenging, etc.

Best game on Impulse in my opinion.

Anyway there is another great game wich dmantione didn't suggest you: Braid.

 

EDIT: well, and Mount & Blade, wich I bought on Steam, by the way.

 

 

 

 

on May 10, 2009

Speaking of DD platforms, instead, I'd love to see Impulse and Gamersgate merging and become a huge opponent for Steam, cause atm they look to me like two squirrels fighting versus a bear.


I know, I know... it's not going to happen.

on May 11, 2009

dmantione
Nesrie was only referring to the difficulties that many military servicemen and women have with internet, particularly, in what im guessing his case is, deployment, where he might not be able to connect his laptop to the internet the entire time hes deployed.

I actually wasn't referencing him/her there, primarily. Quite a few people who just use Impulse don't seem to know about Steam's offline mode.

TudoBenedicto

First: you are WRONG. Space Rangers 2 is probably one of the very best games you can play today.

It's huge, deep, fun, challenging, etc.

Best game on Impulse in my opinion.

Anyway there is another great game wich dmantione didn't suggest you: Braid.

 

EDIT: well, and Mount & Blade, wich I bought on Steam, by the way.

 

I'm not 'wrong' in any way, I just wasn't interested at all. Now I am, somewhat. Also, I own Braid on Steam. I did say I have 69 games on Steam, right? :]

"It's huge, deep, fun, challenging, etc." <= Another thing, that's what she said.

TucoBenedicto
 

Speaking of DD platforms, instead, I'd love to see Impulse and Gamersgate merging and become a huge opponent for Steam, cause atm they look to me like two squirrels fighting versus a bear.


I know, I know... it's not going to happen.

That actually sounds really cute to me. Squirrels vs Bear, though? Try, "Slimy Worms vs Deep Crow from Penny Arcade." Err, maybe not slimy worms, actually. That sounds insulting. Meh.

"OH NO, DEEEEEEP CROOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!" Probably my favorite PA strip. X]

 

If I screw up the quotes it's because Impulse hates me and won't let me do anything right in the blogs. =/

on May 11, 2009

And of course, Impulse doesn't love me. (((((((

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