I got a chance to check out the upcoming update to Stardock's Impulse Digital Distribution service today at PAX. The folks at Stardock are really proud of the service as they've gone from 8,000 users at launch last year to close to close to 2 million users in just over a year.
The next update to the Impulse client is set to go out at the end of Summer will feature a much cleaner user interface and a few other cool new features like the ability to see what kind of copyright protection the game is using (something they are doing to support the Gamer Bill of Rights
they wrote last year).
The other big change is the new Ready to Play matchmaking service which goes beyond the typical things you see in normal matching making systems. Instead of just relying on the skill of the player the system also evaluates people based on their age, competitiveness, favorite game types, style of play, and a bevy of other features. Players then rank what features they value the most and least and the system generates a list of recommended friends for you to play games with kind of like a game focused version of e-Harmony's personality system.
It's an interesting system and certainly goes beyond what we've seen in other online matching making systems. The new system should also be a boon to those playing older games that don't have as strong of an online community as they used to as it will also hook people up by the games they like to play. It will be interesting to see how the system works when it's out in the public and it's not hard to see Stardock using the system to suggest games to people based on the games they are playing.