GameStop buys Spawn Labs, plans to buy Impulse

Game shop, GameStop is pushing heavily into the games-on-demand arena with the acquisition of streaming technology vendor Spawn Labs and a planned buyout of digital distributor Impulse.

The game retailer revelaed it has bought Spawn Labs for an undisclosed amount and now has access to its patented streaming and virtualisation software as well as its employee base. Many of these folk will join GameStop's R&D unit to help develop ways to expand the company's digital game service.

Impulse is a subsidiary of software and game developer Stardock Systems, but it focuses on distribution of digital content. The company offers three products, Impulse Client which allows users to download games, with 1,100 current titles available, Impulse Reactor for DRM and copy protection, and Impulse Publisher for game publication management. The acquisition of Impulse is expected to close in May. Financial details of that deal were also kept under wraps.

GameStop already sells downloadable games for Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and the PC, but these acquisitions mark a major focus in this area, with its own technology for selling and distributing digital content.

It's not clear how well the retail chain's bricks-and-mortar shops are doing, but the company said that it needs to deliver content “in many locations and on many devices”, suggesting that games on demand is to become the best way to do this.