Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, believes the recent sale of his company’s digital download service Impulse to the retail giant GameStop will result in a serious challenge to Steam.
The sale of Impulse caused some surprise last week (and a brief period of disbelief, as the news emerged on 1 April,) but Wardell explains in an interview with PC World that although the service is profitable, Stardock didn’t want to dedicate the necessary resources towards maintaining its market standing. “We would’ve had to hire multitudes. Stardock would’ve become a multi-hundreds-of-employees company where most of that would’ve been dedicated just to Impulse,” he says.
Following the sale, Wardell is confident that GameStop will be able to take on Steam in the digital download game. “I think GameStop’s going to beat Steam, and I’ll tell you why,” he says, before explaining that research suggests the majority of customers favour Steam because of their prices.
“I know what I would do. Next time you buy something from GameStop for your Xbox 360, I’d give you some token you could use on Impulse toward a deal or sale on some other title. Pretty soon everything on Impulse is cheaper.”
Wardell also has some big claims to make about the technology behind Impulse, stating: “The technology difference between Impulse and Steam is such that any objective developer who looked at the two would overwhelmingly … let’s just say the gulf is significant enough.”
Not everyone is happy with the GameSpot-Impulse deal, however. Indie developers Blind Mind have removed their 4x strategy title Star Ruler from the service, citing GameSpot’s lengthy history of negative behaviour towards the PC platform and independent games as their reason for doing so.
“We made this decision based on historical appraisal; [GameSpot] even have had their own digital distribution service for quite some time. With it not being a success, and also not representing many indie titles at all, that bred zero confidence in our outlook for Impulse being managed by them.”