It's been two years since Stardock sold its Impulse digital distribution service to GameStop, and the developer of the Galactic Civilizations series is finally ready to put the proceeds of that transaction to work. In a Stardock annual report, CEO Brad Wardell said after much deliberation about what to do with the money, the company has decided to create an investment fund for new startups.
Wardell laid out some guiding principles for how the money will be used, saying it should go to founding new companies for the next generation of game and software developers. Stardock will "strive" to have a minority stake in those companies in the long run, and their work should in turn help future tech startups.
"As a business, our objective is to make a profit. However, there are many ways to make a profit and we believed the best use of our investment capital wasn't to try to turn Stardock into some 1,000+ person company but rather to keep Stardock small and invest in startups who look to create things that will in turn, play it forward," Wardell said. "If we are successful, the profit will follow."
Elsewhere in the report, Wardell brought up the growing problem of app store discoverability for developers.
"The consolidation of user exploration from web resources into these app stores has created a 'lottery' effect for apps where some apps make it big and others fail based largely on how discoverable they are on these app stores," Wardell said. "This has led to the creation of a cottage industry of companies who are paid to download apps from app stores to artificially inflate the statistical popularity of apps on these stores in order for those apps to become more discoverable."
Wardell said customers' reliance on such manipulated discoverability is a serious problem, and one Stardock is "investing resources into tackling." The Stardock head gave no details about what specific methods the company was considering as a solution to the problem.