Although digital distribution appears to be the future of all things gaming (that if we don’t count the impressive OnLive), Valve’s Steam doesn’t really have any major competitors except for, maybe Stardock’s Impulse. Which now just got better thanks to the Phase 3 update, originally scheduled for February.
The new update adds the Impulse Anywhere service which allows users to download games on any computer and bring them to your own computer; Impulse Reactor which is a tool for devs, allowing for matchmaking, leaderboards and so on; Impulse Reactor Overlay (an in-game overlay); and Game Object Obfuscation, Stardock’s anti-piracy measure.
Stardock’s CEO Brad Wardell said that now, after the update, the company will focus on bringing enough games and applications on Impulse, so that the service is competitive with others. And I must admit that I am really curious to see if they can do that and, even more, catch up Steam from behind. Unfortunately for Stardock, Impulse kind of missed the start (or Valve’s service started too soon) and now they’re behind. But with a bit of luck, some extra features and a solid catalog of games, they can get back on track very fast. We’ll see what happens.