Another topic, but kotick is successful at doing just that because THE MARKET DEMANDS EXACTLY THAT. Everyone plays "games" now. They love their music and movie tie-in titles.
Interesting point, I think you're right, in a philosophical way - the times make the man, not the other way around. He wouldn't be head of Activision/Blizzard if the greater public didn't respond favorably to - no, demand - sequel after sequel, any sort of change regarded with automatic suspicion if not vicious disapproval. That being said.. even if the state of the industry isn't his fault, even if the blame lies with teeming masses of people who beg with credit cards waving for a Sequel IV that's a rehashed III, we still needn't like that one guy who chooses to step forward and say "Sure, I can give you that sequel, and I've got another one planned next year" - the times don't excuse his attitude, they merely explain his success.
Anyway, let me try to be on-topic:
What Stardock really needs to do is go out and bribe some major studios, the big Evil Ones like E.A. and Blizzard to make a few games to be sold Exclusively either in a store or online through Impulse only. If they can pull that off for a few triple AAA titles Impulse will become the next Steam and take it's place as the number 1 digital service because of Stardock's golden reputation with it's customers. Steam doesn't have that luxury, quite the contrary in fact, and I think Stardock really needs to monopolize on that.
This begs the question - does Stardock want Impulse to "become the next Steam?" I'm not sure that they do - Brad seems rather anti-monopoly, does that include a monopoly controlled by Stardock? I'd certainly hope so. If they're trying to replace Steam or create the next Steam, then you're right, copying Steam's business practices would be the way to go - but it seems more like they're aiming for an open market which Impulse holds down a respectable share of, not a monopoly dominated by Impulse the way Steam is trying to dominate the market now.