Impulse is a digital distribution, digital rights management and multiplayer platform developed by Stardock and is the successor of Stardock Central. It is used to digitally distribute and manage games and software primarily from Stardock and its affiliates which includes Epic Games, THQ, AVG, iolo, Gas Powered Games, Hothead Games, Ironclad Games, Meridian4 and many others.
Impulse client functionality
Impulse allows users to purchase and manage access to games and software. Purchased software is tied to the purchaser's email address on the Stardock's servers, from which it can be accessed and downloaded from anywhere that allows the use of the Impulse client.
Impulse provides a storefront that supports localized currencies, territory restrictions and an improved process for refunds. Features are similar to what is available from other digital distribution platforms like Steam
Impulse allows users to install, update and uninstall the games and software tied to a user's account. Users can choose when to update since updates are not mandatory. In addition, users who purchase Impulse-supported games at retail stores can simply download the client and install their previously purchased software on their computers without the original disc after registration of the game to an account.
Impulse allows users to archive their purchased software and games to a digital archive which users can copy to a backup
medium, and later restor to functionality. This is useful since one can revert to a functional version of the software if the latest version is not up to expectations, as opposed to mandatory updates that cannot be reverted.
Common Virtual Platform
Games can make API
calls for multiplayer features. More consistency across games provides a better experience.
Common Virtual Drive
Games will be able to write data out to a virtual hard drive on the net which can store game-saves, virtual keyboard and preference, files and more.
Common Community Network
Games will be able query information from the Impulse community infrastructure.
Impulse, used for delivering patches, has been criticised for causing the decline in availability of standalone patches. While it provides convenient and smaller updates for internet-connected users, users without availability of internet access face no other option to update their game via standalone patches. The only other way to update a game is to install Impulse on another connected computer, get an updated copy of the software or game before transferring it to an archive medium where it can be restored to the unconnected computer. However, the process is not feasible for people with limited access on public or corporate computers.
On the Stardock forums, there's an abundance of posts regarding connectivity, install, and update issues with Impulse. Unless the issues can be resolved, Impulse's bugs will have a serious impact on Impulse users' ability to install or update products via Impulse.
Software and games bought through Impulse cannot legally be resold. The product is transferable only when a user is buying a secondary copy for another person, via the support system.
Impulse was launched on 17 June 2008
as a successor to Stardock Central
that was launched in 2001. While Steam
is the largest and most well-known digital distribution platform since its launch in 2002, it was only in 2004 that ecommerce was added.