Impulse "an outdated distribution platform" - GamersGate CEO

Bergquist suggests GameStop acquired "Steam's lesser talented stepchild" for a low price

GamersGate CEO Theo Bergquist has attacked rival retail businesses Impulse and GameStop, questioning the recent acquisition and labelling the digital distribution service "outdated."

In an editorial on our sister site IndustryGamers, Bergquist suggested Impulse was bought cheap by GameStop purely for the technology behind the service, and that a weak catalogue of titles leaves Impulse looking like "Steam's lesser talented stepchild."

While almost definitely purchased at a bargain, the question is whether or not Impulse was the right company to acquire to be the foundation of GameStop's digital business.

Theo Bergquist, GamersGate

"While GameStop is wise to enter the digital space - its specific acquisitions, namely Impulse, do raise some flags.

"Impulse was fast off the blocks and looked initially to be a legitimate competitor to Steam in digital content delivery. Stardock's strong catalogue of strategy games and its initial interface gave the impression that this service would pick up and challenge Steam.

"Unfortunately, not much has happened at Impulse lately - their catalogue hasn't grown at the pace it should have, and the platform is not as edgy as should be to even consider giving Steam a match in the 'client-based-strategy' race."

Burgquist believes Stardock was right to sell Impulse and focus on game development, but that GameStop may have made the wrong choice if the digital business is not ready to roll out improvements quickly.

"While almost definitely purchased at a bargain, the question is whether or not Impulse was the right company to acquire to be the foundation of GameStop's digital business," he offered.

"With a negligible following, it is clear GameStop purchased Impulse for its' technology. The intelligence of this acquisition rests on how easily and quickly GameStop will be able to integrate Impulse into its existing operations.

"Unless Impulse has a few unreleased features and concepts ready to launch immediately so GameStop can get a flying start, I really don't see a great fit. In its current incarnation, Impulse is nothing more than a few games and an outdated digital distribution platform."

But if Impulse can be developed successfully it can be a serious rival to Valve's market-leading Steam service, according to Burgquist

"If GameStop can successfully leverage its retail and marketing acumen to a well developed platform that can legitimately rival Steam, this acquisition could be the start of a fierce rivalry to control the digital space in interactive entertainment.

"On the other hand, if GameStop is putting its resources behind an archaic system, Steam will take an even larger lead in the digital space and time will show GameStop should have just created its own digital content delivery system."

Burgquist is known for his outspoken views on business rivals, recently stating that he believes Steam has peaked and that "many gamers out there don't like Steam and see GamersGate as a better alternative."

But GamersGate isn't the only company with strong views on GameStop's purchase of Impulse - developer Blind Mind has said it will pull its game Star Ruler from the digital service "due to a rather large list of things we detest about GameStop."

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Latest comments (3)

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D11 years ago
So, was it a bargain or wasn't it? Surely something's either a bargain, or crap. If I buy crap, it doesn't matter how much or how little I spend on it, I've still wasted my money on crap. If it's a bargain, then I've not wasted my money.

Or was he really only after some publicity?
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game11 years ago
Maybe he wants Gamestop or a rival to buy some of GamersGate;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Goodchild on 6th April 2011 10:09am

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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 11 years ago
If anybody can bring games onto a digital platform and create awareness to rival Steam, then it is Gamestop. They also got the distribution in place to sell fake money. The biggest barrier for Steam is still people between 12 and 17 and their lack of payment options. Practically any successful online service with mainstream penetration is using some sort of fake money bought in stores. Be it XBL, Sony, Apple, or MMOs. That is how Gamestop can hurt Steam the most. By selling $10 Impulse cards and adding Impulse download codes to each game they sell.

Even worse, Gamestop then has then chained all PC games to their online platform, meaning they can start buying back PC games, revoking the Impulse activation and start selling them again to other people.
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