I buy a lot of games, and I like Impulse better than Steam for digital downloads.
- As far as I can tell, with Impulse you get the ‘real’ version of the game, meaning you can apply external patches from the developer. With Steam, you get a modded version that cannot be patched until Steam itself releases the patch. In the past, such as with X3: Terran Conflict, I’ve seen this take weeks after the official patch. Some of the games that I have have never been patched to the current version.
- The Steam download servers are slow, especially recently with their holiday sales. I’ve left downloads running overnight, such as when I downloaded the 5 GB game Silent Hunter: Wolves of the Pacific, only to find that the download stopped at 43%, and took another 12 hours to complete. With Impulse, I just bought Arma 2 about 30 minutes ago, which is over 8.42 GB, and it’s already at 75% complete.
- I’ve never had a bad experience trying to play the games I bought with Impulse. With Steam, when I bought Hearts of Iron 3 it crashes because of some problem with the Steam version of the game and the tutorial not working. The developer didn’t help me, and from the forum you can see this is a known problem that is basically being ignored. Silent Hunter also had installation problems when you buy the expansion pack and install it at the same time.
- With Steam when I had billing problems, there was no-one to contact, or else they hid the contact information well enough that I couldn’t find it when I wanted to. With Stardock, I get an email when I make purchases and every time I’ve responded about a problem, such as not being able to find registration codes, I’ve gotten a relatively quick response.