Published on March 25, 2009 By Island Dog In Personal Computing

Stardock announced today that the forthcoming update to its digital distribution platform, Impulse, will include a new technology aimed to pave the way to solving some of the common complaints of digital distribution.

The new technology, known as Game Object Obfuscation (Goo), is a tool that allows developers to encapsulate their game executable into a container that includes the original executable plus Impulse Reactor, Stardock’s virtual platform, into a single encrypted file.

When a player runs the game for the first time, the Goo’d program lets the user enter in their email address and serial number which associates their game to that person as opposed to a piece of hardware like most activation systems do. Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again.

Goo has a number of unique advantages that developer Stardock believes both gamers and developers will appreciate:

  1. There is no third-party client required. This means a developer can use this as a universal solution since it is not tied to any particular digital distributor.

  2. It paves the way to letting users validate their game on any digital distribution service that supports that game. One common concern of gamers is if the company they purchased a game from exits the market, their game library may disappear too.  Games that use Goo would be able to be validated anywhere.

  3. It opens the door to gamers being able to resell their games because users can voluntarily disable their game access and transfer their license ownership to another user.

“One of our primary goals for Impulse Reactor is to create a solution that will appeal to game developers while adhering to the Gamers Bill of Rights,” said Brad Wardell, president & CEO of Stardock. “Publishers want to be able to sell their games in as many channels as possible but don’t want to have to implement a half-dozen ‘copy protection’ schemes. Game Object Obfuscation lets the developer have a single game build that can be distributed everywhere while letting gamers potentially be able to re-download their game later from any digital service. Plus, it finally makes possible a way for gamers and publishers to transfer game licenses to players in a secure and reliable fashion.”

Because Goo ties the game to a user’s account instead of the hardware, gamers can install their game to multiple computers without hassle.

Goo will be released on April 7 as part of the upcoming Impulse: Phase 3 release. Stardock also expects to be able to announce multiple major publishers making use of Goo in April as well as adding their libraries to Impulse.

Impulse is poised to exceed one million customers in the next week despite only being launched nine months ago.

To learn more about Impulse, visit www.impulsedriven.com .


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 25, 2009

That is excellent news.  

on Mar 25, 2009

That sounds pretty good. I only have one question: who came up with the name, and how long were they tortured and locked up?

Because I'm sure the acronym was quite intentional

on Mar 25, 2009

 

on Mar 25, 2009

Please at least consider making the thing runnable under WINE too.  I know stardock hates every "OS" not made by MS, but please don't throw us linux users more unecessary hurdles in the way.

 

on Mar 25, 2009

It opens the door to gamers being able to resell their games because users can voluntarily disable their game access and transfer their license ownership to another user.

I think this is a great way to solve problems we saw with other games in the recent past where the DRM might have prevented you from passing on the game to someone else

I wonder though, the text implies the authentication of the game's serial number still uses the internet ("Once validated, the game never needs to connect to the Internet again." => game needs internet for validation). So you don't have to validate it with the company where you bought the game but still with the Goo server? How does this work because if that Goo server were to disappear you can still not reinstall/pass on the game.

on Mar 25, 2009
Now that is "copy protection" that really makes sense to me. Doesn't hassle legitimate users, easy for developers to implement, and doesn't bloat up your computer.
on Mar 25, 2009

'Obfuscation' - makes one feel effulgent...

on Mar 25, 2009

When I first read the subject, I thought Stardock puts DRM in the game 'World of Goo'.   Since World of Goo is drm free, I thought this was terrible.

 

on Mar 25, 2009

Fuzzy Logic
'Obfuscation' - makes one feel effulgent...

You are your avatar.

on Mar 25, 2009

Four questions:

1; Will existing games currently available from Impulse (i.e. Demigod and Sins of a Solar Empire - not limited to these) require this?

2; Will this be limited to games downloaded from Impulse (not retail out-of-box)?

3; Will there be future developments that make games more dependant on Impulse (i.e. becoming the next Steam)?

4; Will this be applied only to rights holders who want some form of "protection"?

 

I'm quite weary of this development, but I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

 

*edited for typo

on Mar 25, 2009

Sadly, I think this won't catch on much with major publishers. Why? This:


It opens the door to gamers being able to resell their games because users can voluntarily disable their game access and transfer their license ownership to another user.

A lot of the more horrible DRM lately was designed with the express purpose of preventing resale. Unless, of course, there is an option to disable this at the publisher's discretion. Would make their interests nice and clear for eveyone in the bargain. 

on Mar 25, 2009

When I first read the subject, I thought Stardock puts DRM in the game 'World of Goo'. Since World of Goo is drm free, I thought this was terrible.

I had the same thought exactly, lol

on Mar 25, 2009

Warnstaff
Four questions:

1; Will existing games currently available from Impulse (i.e. Demigod and Sins of a Solar Empire - not limited to these) require this?

2; Will this be limited to games downloaded from Impulse (not retail out-of-box)?

3; Will there be future developments that make games more dependant on Impulse (i.e. becoming the next Steam)?

4; Will this be applied only to rights holders who want some form of "protection"?

 

I'm quite leary of this development, but I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt.

1) Demigod perhaps, Sins unlikely since it's already set up?
2) It would be available for any developer/publisher to use either for digital or box sales, as is my understanding.
3) If they wanted to do that, they would've done so already. I sincerely doubt their future plans include mandatory Impulse running to play. Goo will not require the client at all, for example.
4) Anyone can use it. It's essentially trying to be alternative (and competitive) to SecuROM and the few other highly unpopular schemes.

on Mar 25, 2009

I'm still kinda confused as to what this does. So it ties games to accounts (as they are now... and how they are on steam) but you download an exe? And you can sell that game from your account to another?

 

And don't think for a second that companies like EA and Ubisoft will stop using securom because of this. Maybe other companies will think of using Goo over other DRM, but not those 2.

on Mar 25, 2009

Thanks for the asnwers Annatar!