GameStop indulges in some Impulse buying ... no seriously, it bought Impulse (and Spawn Labs)

Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't say the people of GameStop are taking the challenge of "digital" lying down. The massive Texas-based retailer (everything's bigger in Texas) just announced the acquisition of streaming tech outfit Spawn Labs – you'll recall the HD-720 box we brought on the Engadget Show – and digital distribution portal, Impulse.

Whoa, whoa, whoa ... so GameStop purchased Stardock, Impulse's owner? Nope! "GameStop has acquired Impulse, Inc.," the official Stardock FAQ on the deal reads. "Impulse is a separate business unit from Stardock Entertainment." No layoffs are anticipated, staff stays with Impulse, customer service is still handled by Impulse (for now!), and the group is actually hiring.

The press release says that Impulse will offer "three specific components." First is the client, dubbed "Impulse::Client" here, which users can use to download games. Duh. Next is Impulse::Reactor, which "provides content publishers customer friendly DRM and copy protection tools. It also allows developers to enable achievements, account management, friend lists, chat, multiplayer lobbies, and cloud storage within their games." Last is Impulse::Publisher which gives pubs "real-time reporting and management tools."

GameStop's interest in Impulse – one of the industry's biggest competitors to market leader Steam – is obvious. What's not so obvious is its interest in Spawn Labs. "Once the Spawn Labs integration and testing on a new consumer interface is complete, users will have immediate access to a wide selection of high-definition video games on demand on any Internet-enabled device," the press release reads. That sounds to us like GameStop is getting into the cloud-based gaming arena (ie: OnLive).

We're following up with GameStop, Stardock, and all the other concerned parties and we'll let you know what we uncover.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.