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Article posted on 7/20/2004

Livonia MI – July 20, 2004. Stardock Entertainment, best known for its award-winning PC strategy games such as The Political Machine and Galactic Civilizations launched a new gaming network today called allows users to purchase PC games and immediately download them individually or as part of a subscription. Users obtain the games through a powerful yet easy to use program called Stardock Central.

“This is the closest thing I’ve seen to iTunes for Games,” said Alex Bradley, a game reviewer on “You just select the game you want, press a button and in a few minutes you have it ready to play.”

Stardock was one of the first companies to deliver software content electronically through a subscription model. Its popular Object Desktop suite of desktop enhancements was launched in 1999 and has over a million users today. Object Desktop technology is used by Microsoft, nVidia, ATI, Alienware, Nintendo, Goodyear, and hundreds of other companies.

“For us, is a natural next step,” said Brad Wardell, President and CEO of Stardock Corporation. “We’ve had great success with our non-game products being delivered this way. And we’ve been testing this concept on a smaller scale with our own games via which is succeeding. We’ve found that people who buy software on-line don’t want to have to mess with copy protection or Digital Rights Management or ‘wrappers’ or renting schemes or what have you. They want to be able to buy the games and not have to deal with any hassles.”

While users can purchase games individually, Stardock expects the real appeal of to be in the subscription. For $89, users receive a host of good games plus everything added to for an entire year afterwards.

For the initial launch, Stardock has put together an impressive list of games that will be available on day one, such as Galactic Civilizations, Celtic Kings, Orb, The Corporate Machine, LightWeight Ninja, and a new compilation of Disciples II called Disciples II Ultimate Edition, which integrates all of the latest expansion packs for that popular game into a single entity. Stardock then plans to add a new game each month for the rest of the year starting with The Political Machine in August. users also get access to the latest Stardock betas such as the beta of Galactic Civilizations II which is due to show up this January.

Any game released on during the time the user is a subscriber is theirs. Even if they choose not to re-subscribe, they can still re-download the entire game years later.

“Stardock feels that the biggest barrier to entry on electronic distribution is the concern that if the user changes computers or loses their game they won’t be able to play it anymore. With, that’s not a concern. Even if someone chooses not to re-subscribe, they can still re-download the game years later. All you need is your serial #. And if you lose that, no problem, the system can automatically email it to you,” said Wardell.

What users won’t see are claims about quantity of games. Of the hundreds of games submitted to Stardock for inclusion on, only a small number have been slated for inclusion.

“We don’t want users having to sift through mediocre games. If the game is a new game from an independent developer, we’ll put it through our evaluation process. If it’s a game that’s already been released, we’ll look at reviews on sites like and Gamespy and to see what kinds of magazine reviews and user reviews the game has received,” said Wardell.

For gaming content, Stardock is talking to both independent game developers as well as to the top publishers.

“There are some great games that have been released that, once they leave the store shelves, they might as well not exist. One of the things we’re doing is talking to publishers and showing them that there’s a way to continue to generate revenue from their titles even after release. I suspect I’m not the only one who can think of many great games that would still be great today that you just can’t easily get. What we want to do is take some of these classics, integrate all the fixes, enhancements, expansion packs, etc., and make them available for gamers, ” said Wardell.’s home page is Link It is $89 for the first year and $50 to renew access to keep receiving new games subsequently. Individual games can also be purchased and range from $10 to $40 depending on the title.
Individual games sell for between $9 and $50 subscription is $89
All games released on remain accessible to the user permanently even if their subscription expires.
Home page: Link

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