How does them requiring you to download the patch via Impulse lead to not producing the same quality / quantity of patches?
As mentioned before, a company has two ways to increase revenue--increase market share and/or "lock-in" its existing market share.Option A: Increase Market Share
) There are multiple ways to increase market share--make an excellent product, advertise to new customers, and/or bankrupt competitors. Seeing as how advertising to new customers will happen regardless (there are many gaming websites/critics that will do this), and Stardock bankrupting comptetitors is extremely unlikely, Stardock is strongly encouraged to make excellent products in order to make money. Or at least that is the case until you consider Option B.Option B: "Lock-in" Existing Market Share
) To "lock-in" existing market share means to make a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services (which in turn creates difficulty for that customer to switch to another vendor). By design, that makes it harder for other competitors to compete (aka a barrier to market entry). This option is problematic for customers because companies don't need to spend as much effort in Option A (in this case, improving product quality) to make a profit, so there is less reason for them to do so.
In a nutshell, many companies balance between these two options. However, companies generally tend towards Option B, because it requires less work/effort on their part to make the same profit. However, because company effort is diverted away from product improvement, as sane customers we cannot support customer "lock-in" schemes. Instead, we should ensure that Stardock continues to make good patches/products/etc by only allowing them profit through good work.
But how does that apply to Stardock's Impulse specifically? Read below.
We're the exclusive provider of patches by the very nature of the product--the only way it wouldn't be so-called "lock in" is if we handed out the source code so other companies could make patches for the game.
Of course. As a developer, you have the exclusive right to patch your own game--anything to the contrary is ridiculous.
What I'm trying to point out is that Impulse, in and of itself, is a customer "lock-in" tool.
Evidence for this includes, but is not limited to:
1) a built-in store, which CANNOT BE REMOVED
2) Impulse-exclusive "deals"
(such as exclusive distribution of patches, which forces customers to either get "hooked" to Impulse or lose support for their games),
3) built-in "Impulse community" which cannot be removed
(while not intrinsically bad, this is designed to make leaving Impulse/switching vendors harder, hence "lock-in")
4) functionality with many programs/applications
(a good measure, but considering that those tabs can be added/removed indicates that Stardock doesn't really care about increased functionality on the customer's part, but that customers are somehow "hooked" on Impulse)
I didn't spend $50 on Sins of a Solar Empire so that I could be forced into downloading a program that automatically loads your store on my computer every time I want to update it. I spent $50 for a good game, good patches/support, and good online play. No more, no less. I certainly didn't pay for these customer "lock-in" schemes and other attempts to transform all of your customers into Stardock zombies. And considering that many of your customers--most of which don't even post on this forum--use stand-alone patches in one form or another (either from this site or from others), chances are I'm speaking on behalf of a huge majority of your customers.
Though maybe this discussion is too long-winded. Thus, I'll reference your famous "Piracy & PC Gaming" post again.
The reason why we don't put CD copy protection on our games isn't because we're nice guys. We do it because the people who actually buy games don't like to mess with it. Our customers make the rules, not the pirates. Pirates don't count. We know our customers could pirate our games if they want but choose to support our efforts. So we return the favor - we make the games they want and deliver them how they want it. This is also known as operating like every other industry outside the PC game industry.
Considering that we are your customers, and you said that you will "make the games (we) want and deliver them how (we) want it," it makes sense that you'd patch the games how we want them too. Thus, please continue releasing stand-alone patches to your games from now on. You can release on Impulse too, but not exclusively. Not if you want to be honest to your money-spending customers and give them what they paid for, no schemes attached.Wikipedia Article on Customer "Lock-In"Filefront SoaSe Patch Download ListGoogle Search of Other Sites with SoaSe Patch downloadsPiracy & PC Gaming Article