Stardock Impulse Details
Interview with Brad Wardell on GameSetWatch
Historically, we've just put our stuff, or if indie developers wanted us to distribute their stuff, we'd let them, but we didn't really push it. Now, with Impulse, we're going out and getting major third-party games and applications put on here as well. By the end of the year, you should be able to get most games on Impulse.
The main reason we wanted to talk to you guys about this is because I know you guys have been covering how the PC game industry is going from here. Impulse has integrated into it support for what is called mini-subscriptions and micro-expansion packs.
Currently, a lot of people think that a subscription model is the only way to go, with some sort of MMO, but what we think is that a lot of games will come out with support for people purchasing additional content. That itself isn't that new, but that includes also having optional subscriptions.
You could, for a few dollars a month, subscribe to something where you keep getting new maps, new characters, and new items, but it wasn't required and you weren't forced to subscribe -- and that's the critical part. A lot of people will go, "Why do I have to be nickel-and-dimed in every single game I play?"
But if you get into a game and really like it, then here's an option to get new stuff out of it, rather than the current model, which is "Publisher gives developer big advance. Game gets made. One patch is made, then expansion packs." That's it. Then all the people who are into the game are basically abandoned after that.
For example, we're well-known for releasing free updates with new features. We don't want that to go away. We're going to continue to release... like with Demigod, we're going to be doing free updates for that for a year. We don't want someone paying five dollars for horse armor or something like that. We want people to get that sort of thing for free. But if they want to get significant new content for a game that they love, here's an option to do that.
GSW: So support for game developers... pro or indie?
BW: Both. Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod will both be able to make use of the matchmaking services, and you'll have a persistent character in Impulse that you use between games as you build up your stats, and you'll have friends, and that kind of thing.
With Impulse, though, they can actually generate money by using Impulse to sell their game. Because we have an affiliate system, which is something that no one else has. Let's say if Gamasutra had Impulse. When you install Impulse from Gamasutra, it would print to the registry the Gamasutra affiliate ID, and every time someone ever bought a game or anything from Impulse, Gamasutra would receive 15 percent of the gross on it.
What's nice is that developers, even the ones that have publishers, can essentially push their own game and still make 15 percent of the sale, which is nice, because historically, they're locked out. You can tell people to go to Best Buy, but there's no affiliate system for that or Steam, or what have you. There's no affiliate.
Micro transactions, subscriptions, affiliate programs and big name games on Stardock all with no/lightweight copy protection? My interest is Peaked with a capital P.