After Impulse Sale, Stardock Come To Steam

blah blah blah metaphor for commercialism and conflict blah blah blah hahaha clever analogy, Adam!

Nothing kickstarts a grim Northern day quite like a bit of digital retail news. It’s the stuff that really gets my blood pumping and makes me realise how much I love this land called Interactive Entertaindom. You may remember that Impulse, the download service previously operated by Stardock, was purchased by Gamestop earlier this year. This led to some gnashing of teeth but the ski slopes of Hell remained out of commission.

Now, Sins of a Solar Empire has appeared on Steam, leading me to visibly flinch this morning as if reality had fallen out of joint. It hadn’t. Explanations below.

These words from Brad Wardell, Stardock CEO, explain all.

“With the sale of our former PC digital download technology to GameStop earlier this year, we no longer have any conflicts of interest in offering our titles to other digital distribution channels. We are starting with Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity with other titles being made available over the coming weeks.”

So. Hurrah?

I can’t find a reason to be angry or upset about this, which is strange because I’m on the internet. Maybe if I allow for the fact this is all a consequence of the Impulse sale. Yes, that makes me mildly disgruntled. But Stardock on Steam seems like a jolly good thing, if only for the wider exposure and the possibility of inclusion in enormous sales.

Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity is currently £9.74 on Steam. It’s £9.53 on Impulse.


  1. sinister agent says:

    I can’t find a reason to be angry or upset about this, which is strange because I’m on the internet.

    Not even if I compare something to Hitler for some reason?

    I don’t know why my reaction to this was suprise. It does indeed make sense for them to just go ahead and sell wherever. Perhaps I am an idiot. I must investigate this theory. Back in a minute.

    • Mirqy says:

      Anyone seen Sinister since this post? He’s been gone for a while and I’m starting to get worried.

    • sinister agent says:

      Unfortunately, the investigation resulted in my conclusively disproving the theory, but then in a fit of irony I lost the results.

    • Aufero says:

      They repackaged it as Sins Trinity and made me do a two-second Google search to see if there was anything in there I hadn’t bought already. I’m pretty sure Hitler did something with trinities, and is therefore responsible for my two seconds of wasted time.


  2. ceson says:

    But will I be able to activate the games I bought via Impulse on Steam?

    • Jp1138 says:

      Acording to the Sins forums, no, you won´t due to legal/technical reasons.

    • Gnoupi says:

      On the basic technical side, the keys are not the correct format anyway to give to Steam. They would have to allocate new keys to players, for Steam (from what I experienced earlier with SPAZ).

      But aside from that, it would cost them money, for sure, so not much reason to do so.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      Especially if there is work involved on the side of Impulse/Gamestop, who don’t seem to be lifting a finger for anything outside of THEIR U.S. American market.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Most of the games I bought on Impulse I don’t mind buying twice. Often, I buy my most favorite games more than once just to support the developer (and/or sometimes because it’s a really good sale) if there isn’t any DLC or expansions. Or, in the case of TF2, I just buy a few hats.

      Plus $15 is pretty good asking price for Sins.

  3. Sheng-ji says:

    I thought Brad went to Firaxis to work on Civ V? Am I wrong or did he go back again?

    EDIT: Looks like I was completely wrong – I did think it was a bit weird!

    • Om says:

      Other way round: Jon Shafer left Firaxis to join Stardock and work on Elemental

    • Gnoupi says:

      although that would have explained some things about Civ V…

  4. Hardtarget says:

    would be lovely if my Gal Civ 2 and Sins keys would work on Steam, then I could completely uninstall impulse

    edit – oh and demigod, who could forget demigod.

    Also just loaded up impulse for the first time in many months, since when did the program update and now become simply called “Gamestop”

    • riadsala says:

      Now that would be grand. I guess I can wait for the new Sins expandalone that’s due out soonish :)

    • jezcentral says:

      Oooh, GalCiv2 coming to Steam would be a thing that made me happy….

    • SBF says:

      Dunno about Sins but you can uninstall Impulse and it won’t take GalCiv 2 with it. That’s what I’m running now, means missing out on patches but I doubt there’s much action on that front anyway.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      “oh and demigod, who could forget demigod.”

      I certainly can’t. No matter how much I try.

  5. ran93r says:

    Tried my Sins key in Steam, told me to chuff off. Ho hum.

    • Hardtarget says:

      just tried mine as well, no go

      Although I don’t own Trinity anyways, just the base game and first expansion

    • MiniMatt says:

      Being in the same boat as Hardtarget, and this being as good a place to ask as anywhere – anyone have thoughts on the second expansion? I’m half tempted to pick up the whole set again on Steam, but a tenner for effectively just the second expansion is perhaps a bit much for my notoriously short arms.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I’ve got both expansions, and really the only reason to pick up the second one is to receive more updates (AFAIK the devs seem to treat Diplomacy as the ‘complete’ version). Unlike the very nice additions in Entrenchment, the improved diplomatic options really only come into play if you go out of your way to use them. Since the game is just a largely traditional RTS with an enormous scale and unusually good interface, you probably won’t feel compelled to use them.

      I would wait until the stand-alone Rebellion, which will probably (if Stardock aren’t huge dicks) include the content from both mini-expansions.

  6. taalas says:

    Uninstalling Impulse would be great…let’s hope there will be a way to get steam keys for the purchases made on Impulse…

  7. Hardtarget says:

    blah just checked the sins forums, Stardock has no intention of paying whatever fee valve wants to carry over our keys into Steam


    • Gormongous says:

      The thing is, I’d be happy to pay that fee. Just make some sort of “upgrade form” on their website, and let me change my old keys for new.

    • RaveTurned says:

      I think that fee is called “buying the game again on Steam”. :/

      Wait for a sale?

    • diamondmx says:

      But we already own the game, it’s just that Impulse is crap and annoying.

  8. aircool says:

    Bring on GalCiv III.

  9. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    My only surprise was that it has taken them so long… but then it occurred to me they may have been contractually obliged to stay Impulse-exclusive for a certain time after the sale.

  10. HexagonalBolts says:

    Grim northern day? Manchester’s looking rather perky today!

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      You’re right! I hadn’t opened the curtains yet out of sheer laziness and assumed the worst.

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      Winter sunshine all over Sheffield, glorious!

    • NathanH says:

      Just a shame that neither Manchester nor Sheffield are in the North :-P

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      You what, if Manchester & Sheffield aren’t in the north then what is?

    • Bursar says:

      Sheffield gets ‘Look North’ as it’s locally broadcast TV news… therefore it is in the North. QED

      I agree it’s not as ‘North’ as say Newcastle, but that’s like saying Las Angeles isn’t hot because it’s colder than Death Valley.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      The weather is quite mild here in Newcastle as well.

      Global warming set to ruin another christmas.

    • johnpeat says:

      “The North” is quite clearly relative – for some people, even Watford is a bit northerly…

      Manchester gets “North West” because beyond it there’s little but grim seaside “lads night out” towns and that wet lakey area we send tourists to, to harden them up!

      Over the Pennines tho, there’s much beyond Leeds and even York hence we refer to it as ‘Yorkshire’ (specifically West Yorks) rather than “the North”.

      Indeed the roadsigns on the M1 are still saying “The North” when you pass Leeds – what more proof do you need? ;)

      Derby is considered by some to be in the ‘North East’ tho – check things like recruitment sites for proof of this – and when I say “some” I mean “retarded people unable to read a map” – those people.

    • steviesteveo says:

      @The Sombrero Kid


  11. lunarplasma says:

    I wonder what Gamestop makes of this – after all, this means that Stardock games are no longer exclusive to them.

  12. Belsameth says:


    Stardock is cool. I’ll just rebuy Sins when the new expansion hits… :D

  13. Zeewolf says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to expect them to enable old keys on Steam. The reason I’m pleased about this is that they have some very good games that deserves to reach a broad audience. Demigod (yes, really), GalCiv and Sins.

    Plus, I hope that Fallen Enchantress will get a Steam-release. I’m fed up with Impulse, and as long as they insist on not releasing boxed games in Europe a Steam-release makes me a bit more likely to buy it at some point.

    • Gurrah says:

      I think it would be very fair of them to release the keys to customers so they have a choice of where they want to use their game at. The service was sold without consent from the customers, I bought a couple of games on Impulse to support Stardock for their efforts and now it’s not even called Impulse anymore and I have a giant GAMESTOP NOW down at the taskbar… not going to buy there anymore and would love to migrate Sins, Demigod and a couple of others over to Steam.

  14. Dawngreeter says:

    Can anyone tell me if it’s worth buying Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity when Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion seems to be on the way? I can’t tell if Rebellion will be a standalone thing or require the base game or what. And if it will be standalone, will Trinity be able to play nice with it in multiplayer.

    • Gurrah says:

      As far as I know Rebellion will be the first real expansion as opposed to Diplomacy and Entrenchment which were labelled as DLC but I don’t think it’ll be a standalone product.

    • riadsala says:

      Unless your pretty skint, there’s no reason not to get Trinity. It’s <£10, and if you like the game, you'll easily get your money's worth. And if you don't like the game, then better to find out when you've only spent £10 on the game, as Rebellion will no doubt be more than this on release.

    • Mirqy says:

      diplomacy is good. It adds diplomatic victories, which adds a very different style of playing, and effectively puts a time limit on games in larger maps since relatively weaker empires can still win on points while they’re losing militarily. Like on Monday, when I was within a hairsbreadth of bombing the cursed vasari back to the pre-space age.

  15. Belua says:

    One less reason to start up Impulse (or is it called GameStop Something now?) any more. Since the sale, more and more games (and almost all of their more interesting sales) were “not available in your region”.
    If I were able to transfer the games I have on there to my Steam account, I would uninstall the mess that was once Impulse in an instant. Not very likely, but one can hope…

  16. rocketman71 says:

    Hell yeah!!!. God exists!!!

    • ancienttoaster says:

      God: PC game to release on new storefront; no word on genocide, famine, drought

    • Mirqy says:

      He thought he was playing a god game, genocide etc just accidental results of him experimenting with the system.

  17. Vinraith says:

    …and Steam’s grip on the testicles of the industry tightens just a little more.

    Honestly, I don’t care much about Stardock these days. Sins was shit, IMO (yes, yes, howls of outrage, but it was just a run-of-the-mill RTS with an unusually large scale and some pretties), and everything they’ve released since has been worse, all of which was quite a surprise after Gal Civ 2. Still, it’s sad to see one of the few major developer/publishers to stand up and say “Steam is shit and we’re not using it” cave in.

    Granted, though, the major downer here is the Impulse sale. That really made the rest of this inevitable.

    • sneetch says:

      They didn’t say “Steam is shit and we’re not using it” and then cave in. They said “Steam has a monopoly (which is untrue but a lot of people don’t seem to know what a monopoly is so they seem to have gotten away with it) and we’re not selling games that require you to install Steam”.

      They also said that they thought that Steam should be split into two, seperating the store from the back end because, you know, they wanted Steam to do that.

  18. Kismet says:

    Stardock, please bring GalCiv 2 to or GamersGate (DRM-free).

  19. Frank says:

    Yes: Hurrah.

  20. EC- says:

    Ahh, nice. RPS should do a follow-up article on how Elemental is faring these days. I haven’t heard any news about the patches since its much-maligned release (though, to be fair, I haven’t exactly been looking for news either).

  21. mR.Waffles says:

    I bought it again just to save it to my steam account. Good-bye impulse.

  22. MythArcana says:

    Elemental caused all this…I was just thinking about this yesterday and the news parallels rather well. I feel so bad for Stardock having to crawl to Steam. I feel bad for any developer who has to crawl to Steam to make a living. There needs to be a better way.

  23. Gabbo says:

    I’m still looking for Stardock to release more info on their new Stardock Central so I can register my Stardock developed/published games on that and remove Impulse from my system for good.