Wait What: Valve’s Games Now On Impulse

By Craig Pearson on January 31st, 2012 at 11:53 am.

This is too freaky.
This is curious. Valve’s games are now available to buy on rival digital distribution platform, Impulse. Oh 2012, you so crazy. Actually, this makes sense. Impulse was acquired last year by mega game retailer, GameStop. When all you care about is selling games to the most people, as a corporate entity like GameStop would, then you need to get the biggest games on your service. Valve’s games are on their shelves (remember those? Planky things for storing stuff), so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be downloadable, either.

Of course, the Impulse versions of Valve’s games, which includes both Left 4 Deads, Portal 2, The Half-Life Complete Collection and The Orange Box, all require Steam activation, anyway. So customers will be buying into Steam as well as the games.

That doesn’t faze the excitable chaps at Impulse, who announced the move in an exclamation-laden blog post.

Some of the greatest, most creative games of the past decade (and the one before that) are now available! Legendary developer/publisher Valve is now available! Whether you enjoy hitting things with crowbars, the power of gravity, making holes in walls or making large holes in the undead, Valve’s games will suck you in and won’t let you go! There’s more quality gameplay here than you can shake a crowbar at!

Remember last year when Impulse’s original curator Stardock launched their games on Steam? The universe sought balance.

Via Lambda Generation.

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50 Comments »

  1. Chalky says:

    Any chance of EA playing nicely with the rest of the universe with its Origin exclusive games?

    Ho ho ho.

    • simoroth says:

      This.

      But no they wont, because EA have made it quite clear that they can’t compete on service.

    • Kaira- says:

      Um, what. EA’s games have been available on other digital distribution platforms for ages. But this is a curious move, Valve’s games haven’t been (ever?) available on other digital platforms (excluding the retail version on Origin).

    • Carr0t says:

      @Kaira:

      True, *before* Origin was released. BF3 hasn’t been made available on any other platform, and I seem to recall that games that previously were available on Steam have been disappearing from there since the release of Origin and popping up on EA’s homegrown service. Mass Effect 3 is another one set to be an Origin only release.

      That last bit could be wrong though. I could have sword The Witcher 2 was one of the game it had happened with, but that’s still very much available on Steam.

    • Lewie Procter says:

      It’s actually different on a game by game basis for EA. Battlefield 3 was available (as a code that activates on Origin) from a range of digital distributors, but The Old Republic is only available via retail or directly from Origin.

      It’s interesting to note that The Old Republic is one of the few PC games that wasn’t available for less than £30 at release, and the retail version hasn’t dropped in price anywhere yet either (seems likely to me that this is largely down to the restricted supply).

    • Kaira- says:

      @Carrot

      Gamersgate has ME3 for preorder. BF3 is also available on the UK site of GamersGate.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Popular MMOs seem to be held at artificially high retail prices, presumably because some bean counter thinks the free 30 days are actually part of the price.

    • Belsameth says:

      Impulse under Stardock refused to stock Valve games because they didn’t didn’t want to push their buyers to a competitors download platform/online store, probably much the same reason why Valve doesn’t want Origin stuff.
      It seems, however, that gamespot doesn’t care.

    • sneetch says:

      @Belsameth

      Valve have and do sell GFWL games that install the GFW store as well as several of EAs/Biowares games that included their own stores, that might be changing though.

    • Kurina says:

      @sneetch

      Actually, Valve demanded the same changes from GFWL based products as well. For all games released once the new rules went into effect, you will notice that related DLC is now sold directly through the Steam service as well as GFWL. Essentially, Valve are forcing companies to put all DLC on their service, or risk being booted from it and dealing with the backlash from the Steam community.

      Just remember, it is not applied retroactively, only to games with DLC released post-rule change. This is why Super Street Fighter 4 has only GFWL based DLC content, but SSF4 AE has DLC sold both on Steam and GFWL. Batman and other games have also been required to put DLC on Steam.

      I know people want everything on Steam and support this move, but I also find it concerning when a distributor is making demands on publishers and how they handle their own content. If publishers refuse to play along, the Steam community gets up in arms and consistently attacks the publisher for wanting to manage things themselves. It may look like a nice move on Steam’s part from the outside, but I find it a very concerning move long term.

    • Belsameth says:

      I actually prefer it over buying the game in store one and then the DLC in store 2. Especially since it’s very easy to see which DLC you already have in Steam. I bought some Settlers DLC directly though UBI and I can’t see what’s new and what I already have easily.

    • ElvisMZ says:

      @Kurina When did this start, because Dirt 3 has DLC that is available on the GFWL Marketplace but not on Steam.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “I know people want everything on Steam and support this move, but I also find it concerning when a distributor is making demands on publishers and how they handle their own content.”

      All of the iFans bring out his excuse whenever apples 30% cut from the store is mentioned so i will use it here as well, why should valve host the game but then have a portion of the game go elsewhere, specially in the case of FTP games or cheap inital sale games.

      (Personally i think the ifans excuse is bollocks as they get there money from the inital sale,and in the case of a ftp game they can doa charge the deveoper once it reachs a certain mass, but going by the numbers the rest of the world doesn’t seem to think like me so this is now the status quo)

    • Kurina says:

      @ElvisMZ
      Dirt 3 was on the Steam service pre-rule change as far as I know. I know little about the DLC and when it was released specifically, but I imagine due to contractual agreements made earlier, it has been exempt. The game showed up on the service in May, and it was not until June that Valve started enforcing these rules, beginning with Crysis 2.

      @Milky1985
      I guess my question is, why should Valve have complete control over everything, especially content they are not producing? They are hosting and receiving money for the product they sell, but now they are demanding additional content be sold through the service or be threatened with removal. It sounds like more of a money grab than anything else, and if publishers feel uncomfortable with that, look at the backlash they will receive in trying to break away. It is really quite concerning the control they are starting to display, yet everyone cheers them on without seeing the bigger picture.

      Additionally, I do not see other services making similar demands or refusing access to their service. Why should Valve get that right? Maybe Gamestop should start demanding the ability to distribute TF2 content (hats & weapons), since they now sell the product?

    • J-Spoon says:

      @Kurina

      Well yes, as a retailer, Valve/Steam sees money for sales, as well they should be for providing transactions, increasing access to the game, marketing services, etc. Accordingly, they can demand certain standards be met in order to be listed in their service and this is a CHOICE that developers can make whether to enter into that agreement or not. Just as any other download service has terms, so does Steam. Why does Steam get to demand this stuff (even stuff that other services dare not demand)? Because they provide enough market penetration to make it worthwhile for developers/publishers in the first place. No one is FORCED to sell games on Steam. You can CHOOSE to, but then you are subject to their rules, which, unless you are EA and have millions of dollars to make your own store, is still a fairly good deal, from a developer standpoint.

    • Froibo says:

      @Kurina Consider that Valve did not force developers to put the option of buying DLC for games both on Steam as well as their own methods. What would stop developers from selling a base game for low cost and then mass producing DLC and heavily market their own distribution in-game?

    • malkav11 says:

      If I buy a game from Steam, I want to buy any DLC through Steam also. Seems perfectly fair to me. If the game is bought elsewhere, I would also want the DLC through the same channel. If a company wants to sell DLC exclusively through their service, then they should also exclusively sell the game through that service. Then we can all get mad at them for being a bunch of consumer unfriendly jerks, because they would be.

  2. Prime says:

    ….These are the End Times. :S

  3. aircool says:

    That’s just too sensible to be true…

  4. olemars says:

    I doubt Valve feels Steam is threatened very much by Impulse.

  5. Kaira- says:

    Interesting. Now if only you could play their games without Steam.

    • MSJ says:

      I don’t think you will ever find another Valve game playable without Steam other than all their old games, unless Valve has a policy change in the future.

  6. suibhne says:

    The word you want is “faze”, not “phase”. Common mistake, but one of my pet peeves.

    I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with Impulse since it was taken over by Gamestop. I’m now in this weird no man’s land where Impulse won’t fully uninstall but I can’t reinstall it, and Gamestop’s support staff are totally, mind-bogglingly useless. Basically, I’ve lost out on the ability to play all the games I’ve ever purchased on Impulse due to their inability to solve the problems created by their software. Oh well, I’m sure it’ll be fixed when I build a new rig…eventually.

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Annoyingly I knew that. Damn these fingers.

    • westyfield says:

      Gosh, I never knew that. I’d often wondered how ‘phase’ came to mean ‘frighten’, makes more sense that it’s a different word altogether.

    • suibhne says:

      I did try deleting everything by hand – no dice. I hadn’t heard of Revo – I’ll check it out, thanks. Might do some Registery jiggery-pokery at some point, too, but I’d prefer to stay away from that.

      The whole thing has gotten me a bit down because I wanted to try the beta of Fallen Enchantress, but maybe Revo will do the trick!

  7. The Infamous Woodchuck says:

    dont you mean gamestop. Mwahahahahaha!!!

    then again, guess GS havent change the name of the main site. yet.

  8. roryok says:

    while we’re on the subject of valve, was there ever a peep out of them over that request for more Halflife 3 info?

  9. Frosty840 says:

    I largely stopped using Impulse after I found myself unable to stop the popup of their shitty “Sorry, this game is not available in your territory”, 5%, daily so-called-sales.

    That and the fact that Impulse un-reconfigurably binds its own ingame overlay to Shift+Tab…

  10. Jimbo says:

    Those games will still require you to install Steam though, correct?

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Correct. All Impulse are doing is providing a digital retail service – everything else (DRM, patches, multiplayer etc.) is handled by Steam.

    • Godwhacker says:

      Indeed.

      “IMPORTANT NOTICE: This game requires the Steam Client to install and play”

  11. MSJ says:

    Interesting to note, some members of GOG.com are very happy with this because “it means Valve gets less money out of the games”.

    • sneetch says:

      Really? How very petty of them.

    • MSJ says:

      Yeah, there are people there with a strong dislike for Valve, mostly for Steam. GOG sometimes makes jabs at Valve, but I think they’re just playful. Quite a few GOG fans take it seriously, though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gundato says:

      In general, GoG forumers (bless them) hate video games. Or, at least new ones. So it is best to just ignore it when the forumers start talking about how a game is doomed to fail or a service is horrible or whatever.

      That being said, Gamestop’s move makes sense. They hate digital distribution (harder to sell used), so they are basically trying to turn Impulse into a client for their online store (which takes 3 days to email me the 50 dollar PSN code I ordered. Using Best Buy until Amazon restocks) so they can at least get a small slice of the pie.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if they start selling the Origin exclusive titles in much the same manner (a serial to be redeemed with the real client).

  12. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Good new, yes. diversity and stuff. Also, I have some games on Impulse, and was somewhat afraid it would just wither and die. subjectively seems less likely now

  13. mbp says:

    For some reason I read this as “Valve’s Games now on Origin”. Now that would have been genuinely odd.

    This is just sensible.

  14. Moist says:

    No mention of the cost or a kind of comparison? Nice abstract for the press release.

  15. Redem says:

    All of these games are Steamworks games, you can buy them on impulse, but you have to install and use Steam to actually play them. At best you can say that Valve is so certain in their position that they really don’t give a damn if they get a little less money to get more people to install their platform. Just means more people they can throw their discounts at and get some sales.

    Their near-monopoly on digital distribution is pretty safe, methinks.

  16. Moraven says:

    Might as well buy any future Valve games on Impulse. I still get a steam code and GameStop PowerUp points.

  17. Tuor says:

    I suppose this kills the argument that you can never find any Valve developed games anywhere except Steam — now you can.

    • Sidewinder says:

      Indeed. Even Valve’s harsher critics will (oh, let’s not kid ourselves, SHOULD) admit that this is a step in the right direction.

  18. MichaelPalin says:

    Question: Does Impulse work through a client too? If so, how would a Valve game work, by having the two clients on at the same time?

    • Resonance says:

      Impulse gives you a Steam code, you’re just choosing not to buy the games directly from Valve for whatever reason.

  19. MythArcana says:

    Valv3 is the Walmart of gaming.

    • Rob Maguire says:

      Except Valve treats its employees better than pretty much any other developer, is well liked by both customers and business partners, is privately owned (so not beholden to the mindless short-sighted whims of stockholders), and actually seems to be as friendly as their public image suggests. Not to mention that this news story was about them becoming more open.

      So maybe what you meant to say is, Valve is a big company that you personally dislike?

  20. My2CENTS says:

    Whats the point? You’ll download the game from their service,but you still need to install Steam, due to the heavy integration of the Source engine and Steam. Same thing for Origin, what is the point in selling BF3 through Steam, when you still have to install Origin to play.

    That dear chumps is why you should never give idiots a way to developer. Someone though that copying Steam is a good idea, but you see its good when you have 1000+ titles. Origin barely have 10 that actually require the manager itself. While Steam i believe got this to around a hundred.

    Anyway long-live the piracy.

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