In case you missed it, this past Wednesday brought the out-of-the-blue surprise announcement that Bad Juju Games, an analytics middleware developer, had purchased Desura and its sister site Indie Royale. Some people, like myself, first noticed the change when the logo suddenly changed on the Desura site.
This is what I imagine happened:
Well, something like that, anyway.
Last year, Linden Lab of all things had bought Desura. In case you’re not familiar with them, Linden Lab is the company that develops Second Life. Their purchase of an online game storefront focused primarily on indie games seemed odd at the time, and is arguably even more strange in hindsight. I’m honestly not sure what they had hoped to get out of it, and they never seemed to actually do anything with it. Desura has always been a bit of a niche online retailer, and under Linden Lab the site seemed to languish without any direction, as if frozen in time. A few months ago came the introduction of the “Desura Version 2” site design, but that was about the only outward change the sale ever brought.
I can’t say I’m exactly “hopeful” about the sale, but I am trying to be optimistic. Desura has needed some serious care and attention to make it relevant again, especially with up-and-coming storefronts like itch.io that are doing a much better job meeting the needs of indie developers. And an analytics company like Bad Juju does make some sense as the owner-operator of an indie-oriented online retailer. Certainly more than a strictly virtual world oriented developer like Linden Lab.
So far, it does sound like Bad Juju is actually interested in their newly acquired website. For one, they’re actually going to focus on the Desura client app, which is practically impossible to even find on the current version of the Desura site. It certainly will be great if they make good on their promise of a Mac and (official) Linux port of the app. Maybe they’ll even finally introduce the vaporware Desura API that’ll give devs access to Steam-style achievements and such.
And hopefully they’ll do something about that crippling $500 payout limit.