GameStop to Acquire Impulse, Spawn Labs

No, this isn’t an April Fools joke. It looks like GameStop is as worried about digital distribution as we all thought they should be. In a press release, the game retailer has announced it has finalized an agreement to purchase Spawn Labs, a streaming technology company, and Impulse, Stardock’s digital distribution platform.

GameStop plans to use the Spawn technology as a games-on-demand service, streaming high-definition games to any internet-connected device. Much like OnLive or Gaikai, Spawn will let you play high-end games on a low-end system.

A bit more disturbing for PC gamers is the news that Stardock has sold Impulse. The digital distribution platform was similar to Steam, although not nearly as large. GameStop plans to have over 1,100 games available on day one of their ownership of Impulse.

If you’re wondering how the acquisition of Impulse will affect your account, Stardock’s put up a handy FAQ to address questions.

Said Stardock boss Brad Wardell of the sale,

Last year, because Impulse’s revenue was growing so much, more resources were being dedicated to it. We were either going to have to become a retailer, or we were going to have to find some other way. At that point, who would be the best partner who was already a retailer? Not some startup, not someone who’s getting into retail, but someone who knows retail and who knows games, who would provide the biggest boost to the PC market?

Wardell also said that Stardock’s games would remain exclusive to Impulse, “for the foreseeable future.”

It looks like GameStop is planning to bootstrap the company into the digital age with these acquisitions. How well it works, well, that remains to be seen. At the very least it’s better than selling DLC codes on cards in the store.

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