Because ranting is more fun than raving.
Published on June 21, 2008 By gsasa In Digital Distribution

Can Impulse unseat the reigning digital distribution champ Steam?  My first impression is... no.  I think that Stardock missed the target as to why Steam is so great - the community features.  So what do I mean by that?  Well for one thing, Impulse doesn't appear to have any way to create groups for people.  Creating groups to coordinate clan/guild/friend activities should be a basic feature for any community.  Things like intergrated voice chat, group scheduling features and in-game IM support (all features already supported by Steam) would be some great additions.  Blogs are nice but do we really need another stage for them?

It will be difficult to recommend installing Impulse as a better alternative for digital distribution over Steam if the community features are lacking.  As it stands now, I don't see why anyone would use Impulse other than to play Stardock published titles.  I'm not sure what the goal of the good folks at Impulse are, but to increase adoption rates, beefing up the community features are key.  If I made any mistakes in this post, I apologize.  The Impulse platform looks promising, I look forward to seeing what they have in store for us.


Comments
on Jun 21, 2008

Can Impulse unseat the reigning digital distribution champ Steam?  My first impression is... no.  I think that Stardock missed the target as to why Steam is so great - the community features

How can you call Steam the champ of digital distribution when it only distributes games? Yes. You gamers can get all wet about Steam.  Voice chat and can support are great if you're a die hard gamer. But what about the other 99% of the world that could give a crap about team fortress clans?

Speaking of community features, Steam came out something like 5 years ago right? When did these amazing community features show up? Mostly in the last few months.   So if they're such "basic" features why did it take Steam 4 years to get them? Plus, the community features in Steam are klunky as hell.

A year from now, Impulse will probably have the same kinds of "community" features a Steam and the same games as Steam does but will Steam have applications? Only if Valve is prepared to recognize the passing of the digital distribution crown and begin following Stardock's lead.

on Jun 21, 2008

Steam didn't have competition when it was released 5 years ago.  Impulse is being released at a time when Steam  has an existing user base that would need a compelling reason to make a switch.  Of course this is only concerning games at the moment but who's to say that Steam wont add applications to their offerings. 

Just guessing, but I bet that most Impulse users installed to play games.  Wanting features that many are already used to on another system should be expected.  This wasn't a post meant to bash Impulse.  I want Impulse to succeed, otherwise I wouldn't have posted at all.

on Jun 21, 2008

steam has a catalog of great games but impulse isn't.The recently announced steamworks also make steam digital distribution much stronger and it got 15 million users.

on Jun 22, 2008

Of course this is only concerning games at the moment but who's to say that Steam wont add applications to their offerings.

Thanks for the feedback.  A couple of things: First, what matters to one group doesn't necessarly matter to another.  Steam has an impressive user base but it took 5 years to get to 15 million accounts. 15 million seems like a big number but it's a tiny percentage of the PC market.  The community features you mention are certainly important to hard core gamers and Impulse aims to have its own set of compelling community features. Even on day 1, I would ague that the community features in Impulse are pretty decent.  Give us a few months and I think you'll see that Impulse's features will grow by leaps and bounds.

What I have found more concerning is the tendancy of gamers to actually WANT a monopoly in digital distribution. 

Now, I like Steam.  But here's something most people probably don't remember: In the early 90s it was OS/2 vs. Windows. And at the time, Windows got a huge HUGE advantage from the media and from the "power user" community simply because people loved Microsoft back then.  Microsoft were the good guys and IBM was the bad guy. 

Now, today, it's hard to imagine Microsoft as the scrappy, universally loved, up and comers that they were viewed as in the early 90s.  But that's how they were seen. 

So when people ardently wish that Steam could just own the whole market and rely on Valve to solve all their problems and hope that everyone just hands everyhting to Steam, I can't help but be reminded that this was exactly the same way people viewed Microsoft back then.

Anyone rooting for ONE platform to win should seriously consider the logical ramifications of that victory.  The best thing for consumers would be for there to be choice. 

on Jun 22, 2008
Just guessing, but I bet that most Impulse users installed to play games. Wanting features that many are already used to on another system should be expected. This wasn't a post meant to bash Impulse. I want Impulse to succeed, otherwise I wouldn't have posted at all.



you would guess wrong about why people installed impulse. i installed it for object desktop.
on Jun 22, 2008
you would guess wrong about why people installed impulse. i installed it for object desktop.


I got it for Galactic Civilizations II originally and later got into WindowBlinds.

steam has a catalog of great games but impulse isn't.The recently announced steamworks also make steam digital distribution much stronger and it got 15 million users


Steam has a great catalog of games. But that's all it has. Games. And what about Steamworks? How does that help me? Clever named announcements don't do anything. When steam first came out it barely worked. Give impulse some time.

on Jun 22, 2008
Don't have any idea of what Steam is ...   
on Jun 22, 2008
Just guessing, but I bet that most Impulse users installed to play games. Wanting features that many are already used to on another system should be expected. This wasn't a post meant to bash Impulse. I want Impulse to succeed, otherwise I wouldn't have posted at all.

you would guess wrong about why people installed impulse. i installed it for object desktop.

Same, I have absoutely NO interest in gaming whatsoever. I'm a customizer. And from what I've seen, the people doing the most complaining about Impulse are the gamers. Whining about DRM stuff and all the extra "bloat" (being the customizing stuff, which is aimed at another audience entirely, it's not JUST for gamers), saying how it's "doomed" and that it can't compare to Steam, who said it was trying to? Impulse isn't ONLY about gaming, it has so much more.
on Jun 22, 2008

I don't understand the people wanting Impulse to fail either, competition is a good thing.  Stardock has always been one of my favorite game developers so when I heard about Impulse, I decided to check it out.  It's not where I'd like it to be yet, but I look forward to seeing the improvements down the line.  Best Wishes.

on Jun 22, 2008

I don't understand the people wanting Impulse to fail either, competition is a good thing.  Stardock has always been one of my favorite game developers so when I heard about Impulse, I decided to check it out.  It's not where I'd like it to be yet, but I look forward to seeing the improvements down the line.  Best Wishes.

Thanks to people like you, we will be able to keep on top of what things need to be done.

I don't see Impulse as something people would use to replace Steam.  Impulse and Steam are solutions to a larger problem - every freaking app installing some half-designed auto-updating program and other junk.

If anyone needs convincing why programs like Impulse and Steam are needed, they need only to go to their neighbor's house and look at the junk being autostarted every time - much of it there to check for updates.

There has to be a balance between 500 auto updating programs and 1.

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