Store: Bought – Second Life Dev Acquires Desura

By Nathan Grayson on July 11th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Even this random Second Life citizen is surprised. Well, at least insofar as that character model can express anything humans would designate 'an emotion'.

Second Life is still a thing! Trust me: I checked. Now I must go wash my eyes with acid and bees, for it’s the only way to be sure. More importantly, however, creator Linden Labs is actually up to a bunch more stuff these days – including interesting (and sadly mobile-only) interactive narrative experiments and a buildy, kinda Minecraft-ish thing. So naturally, it’s gone and purchased PC indie game and mod purveyor Desura because… I don’t really know. But I mean, why not? Desura’s a solid, largely open platform with thriving communities like Mod DB and Indie DB under its weirdly shaped umbrella logo thing. There are certainly worse starting points if you want to dive headfirst into the world of online game storefront management.

Here’s what Linden CEO Rod Humble humbly said about his humble probably-exceedingly-expensive business transaction:

“Desura’s talented team, thriving business, and impressive technology are a great fit for Linden Lab. This acquisition gives us a global platform for serving creative developers of all kinds, and we’re looking forward to growing both Desura’s global community of gamers and its fantastic portfolio of thousands of games, mods, and other content. Our aim is to invest and support the Desura team in making it the most open and developer-friendly platform in the world.”

That’s a good goal! Will Desura, say, grow into a laser-breathing behemoth and give Steam its own Mothra/some much-needed competition? Probably not. But the more decently large-scale open gaming platforms this world has, the better.

For the time being, Desura will continue running the same way it always has, and its team and tech will be absorbed directly into the Linden fold. Who knows what the future will bring, but this sounds like a solid start. So then, does anyone frequently use Desura around here? What about, er, Second Life?

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48 Comments »

  1. distantlurker says:

    There is definitely a penis in that picture o.O

  2. Metalhead9806 says:

    in my opinion Desura could use a redesign. Games are hard to find on the platform and they dont try to focus on games that are on sale. Its like this big Indie dump bin.

    Hopefully these guys can come in spruce up the interface, get more games on the service (not just indies and mods) and really give other distributors a run for their money.

  3. darkhog says:

    While I don’t play SL, because it’s not my cup of tea, I’m certainly playing Patterns and use Desura!

  4. Jekhar says:

    I have a desura account with around 20-30 games on it. Mostly stuff from bundles like Indie Royale, but a few i bought directly from desura. While i have the bundle games also activated on steam (if available), i wonder what will happen to the other ones.

    • frightlever says:

      I’m in much the same boat. When Impulse was sold, Gamestop more or less ignored everyone outside the US. I think my games are still downloadable but I never bought anything off them after that and I ended up re-buying what I played most off Steam sales, which I appreciate is somewhat ironic.

      Desura is a horrible, poorly designed store front and launcher but it’s a great place to find some simply whacko weird little indie games. It’s where I first bought Gnomoria for instance. I really hope this doesn’t end badly because I have about a hundred games on Desura.

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        I feel exactly the same. After Impulse was sold (out) I stopped using it completely. I feel I’m probably not going to be using Desura all that much after this. I won’t be able to stand the constant Second Life ads.

  5. marach says:

    Speaking of SL has anyone else had an encounter with a rabid SL player… I had a conversation go like this once

    SLer: I’d never play a computer game
    Me: But your playing SL?
    SLer: SL is not a game it’s a second world you live it you don’t play it.
    Me: You are on a computer interacting with a computer generated world… you’re playing a game!
    SLer: No I’m not I’m living my life
    Me: In a computer game?
    SLer: IT’S NOT A GAME

    I don’t think I’ve seen a fanbase as rabid other than maybe PS/Xbox fanboi’s…

    • Shieldmaiden says:

      They were right though. Second Life isn’t a game, unless your definition of a game is “a piece of software on a computer.” There are games you can play in it; there are role-playing sims and combat sims, stuff like that, but they’ve had extra bits grafted on by users to make that the case. It’s more like a microcosm of the internet with an avatar-based 3D GUI, which probably explains why it’s full of weird sex.

      • Zephro says:

        It’s a bit like a 3D browser I always thought. Sort of like the Grid in Snowcrash. It’s just a place for content creators and users to share stuff, just happens to be via 3D avatars instead of web pages.

        Then like the rest of the internet it will end up full of cat pictures, memes and porn.

      • jonfitt says:

        Hmm, an avatar-based 3D GUI where people take on personae or “play roles”, doesn’t sound like any form of gaming I know of. What would we even call it?? This game of people playing roles. I’m sure someone can think of a witty title.

    • kwyjibo says:

      I’ve had similar encounters, that was back when everyone was covering Second Life like it was somehow relevant though. Not come across anyone who’s even touched the thing in years.

      They don’t like it when you describe it as a game, especially if you describe it as a shit one. Then you half-agree with them, and start calling it a toy. Turns out they don’t like that either.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        It’s a game in as much that a box of LEGO is a game.

        So yes “toy” sounds about right to me.

        • Grygus says:

          I think “toy box” is even better; it’s not really a game or a toy, but a place to keep those things. I think Second Life is closer to Steam than LEGO. For most people, Steam exists for playing games, but when you’re using the Steam app itself you’re not playing anything.

        • Zephro says:

          Is the internet generally a toy? Or a computer?

          I mean if it’s just a toolkit for putting stuff together…

      • yoggesothothe says:

        That’s interesting that they feel there is more stigma attached to a game than there is to second life. How does that work?

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      Here’s an old article from Kurzweilite mag H+ in which a Second Life user gets upset that the people he deals with professionally ask him for real world credentials and references.

      http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/07/03/real-discrimination-against-digital-people/

      Yes, he and the author repeatedly use the term “discrimination”, something that still results in beatings, homelessness and starvation for far too many actual people, to describe his predicament of potential employers being unwilling to play pretend with him (and to describe, at one point, WOW guilds who only allow mic-users into their ranks).

      First world problems, indeed.

      • Don Reba says:

        Wait, did you just say that Second Life players are not “actual people”???

        • Napalm Sushi says:

          I was referring to the guy’s avatar, which he’s chosen to identify as his actual self, even professionally. I probably should’ve kept things clearer there.

  6. MuscleHorse says:

    I only use Desura for Zomboid. It’s a bit of a pain really – I recently ended up in circles trying to use it to download a demo of that chess thing that RPS posted an article about. I kept clicking the link to download the demo through Desura and subsequently being put through to purchase the game. The interface is a bit muddled too. HOWEVER, the marketplace needs some plurality. As much as I find Steam convenient/well designed, the last thing we want is it to remain so monolithic.

    • jonfitt says:

      I only use it for Zomboid. But it’s a pain to find your games library, and they never update the version on Desura so you have to go to the Zomboid website anyway.
      I have not been left with a good impression of its usefulness.

  7. cloudnein says:

    “Impressive technology”? Um, call me dense…What impressive technology does Desura have?

    Call me pessimistic, but I’m tempted to download copies of all 145 games I have on Desura just in case Linden screws it up.

    • Grygus says:

      It may not seem impressive, but Desura is better than Origin and Impulse/GameStop in some ways, so the tech is complex enough to elude (presumably) well-funded teams; it must not be very simple to support storage and fast retrieval of many games for many people at once.

    • cafeine says:

      Maybe not technologically impressive, but Desura gives you the possibility of just downloading a simple zip file or install file without having to bother with a software client in order to play a game. That alone makes me like them (and GoG) much more than Steam.

  8. Jamie White says:

    I honestly think ModDB/DBolical (the owners) dodged a bullet here.
    They had a great idea and it was a well designed, thought out open platform, but it just didn’t bring anything useful to the market. The Nexus modding sites had the best idea with their Nexus mod manager/installer.

  9. trjp says:

    Mr Florence will tell you all about the joys of SL – but this is a strange thing to happen otherwise…

  10. vivlo says:

    whenever i hear about Second Life, i’m reminded of this : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xtwuet_second-life-tout-ca-ne-nous-rendra-pas-le-congo_tv#.Ud69T1O-Lno (which is in french, and reason enough to be happy speaking french, or upset, depending on your sense of ironny)

  11. squareking says:

    Okay, this sounds backwards as hell. Don’t change, Desura. I may only use you once every 3 months, but by god, you’re a solid and lovely platform.

  12. Tei says:

    I hope they make Desure more interesting. Having competition for Steam would be good.

    Also, is like another laboratory,… maybe Desura will try something cool, that will work, that Steam has never tried.

  13. nimzy says:

    Certainly the first time Linden Labs has been relevant in years…

  14. bad guy says:

    I love Desura. The fact that it no longer belongs to the ModDB dudes makes me a bit sad. Not a fan of 2ndwife.

  15. m0ntag says:

    I like Desura. It does mods well and has lots of interesting indie titles. I personally have it mainly because of Paranautical Activity and Guncraft (both games I highly recommend) but it’s not a burden to use. The interface could use a little bit of work but, other than that, it works just fine. It’s not as sluggish as the Steam client can be and it’s got lots of potential.

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    As long as Desura continues to be the best application for mod and freeware organization* as well as supporting Indie games that no one else does, I’ll be happy.

    (The only downside I’ve found to Desura is that mod creators have to specifically submit their mods, which means that older mods whose creators aren’t even thinking about any more will never get on Desura. Nevertheless, most of the best of ModDB is on Desura, and as long as it stays like that I’ll be happy.)

  17. jonahcutter says:

    I just tried to use Desura to download Minerva for HL2. It downloaded, but it wouldn’t play, so I ended up just downloading it direct from Moddb. I’m sure I’m missing something, but I couldn’t be bothered to figure it out when the Desura client says the mod is installed, but it won’t actually play.

    I do play Project Zomboid through it, and it works fine there.

  18. kalirion says:

    I have over 300 games on Desura. If they decide to shut the service down to save money, I will be … upset.

    • ZombieJ says:

      When a games gets removed from Steam for legal reasons anyone who has already purchased it retains access to it. I haven’t read the T&Cs but I imagine there’s a contractual obligation in there somewhere. It would make sense to assume that Linden Lab would be in a similar situation.

      • El_Emmental says:

        It heavily depends on the country (especially regarding consumer rights), and the contract…

        However, it *seems* to work like that:

        - Desura has an obligation to provide a working digital distribution system to its users, but if the service is discontinued it is the rights-holders who can sue them for not respecting the contract (Desura works for the rights-holders as a subcontractor).

        - the rights-holders, who signed a contract (the End-User License Agreement) with the user (granting him/her a license), have an obligation to provide all the necessary means for the users to use that license.

        So if you own a Desura-bound End-User License for the game “ManWoot”, and Desura is shut down, I *think* it is the rights-holder of the game “ManWoot” who has to provide an alternative distribution (digital or physical) system (and digital rights management system), because their subcontractor, Desura, is no longer providing a service the rights-holders said they would provide (themselves or through a subcontractor).

        But that’s just my point of view. It is possible that the consumer rights (of the country who has the legal authority on the case) allow the consumer to ask for a refund/compensation/alternative distribution system directly to the closing-down company (who then handle all the negotiations with all the rights-holders of all the games on its platform).

  19. abandonhope says:

    Rather than becoming Steam for indies, Desura has in some simply become an early stop on the path to getting on Steam. It’s a minor promotional tool, and a convenient way to distribute titles sold for cheap in bundles, sometimes in exchange for Greenlight votes.

    I own a number of games there, but it’s increasingly looking like a bargain bin for maybeware. Selling it was probably a good idea.

  20. zeekthegeek says:

    Just a note for the staff, Linden Lab is actually singular. There is just the one Lab.

  21. aliasi says:

    Second Life has a pretty dedicated core userbase, and it definitely has uses. The main problem is the type of person who finds SL interesting is also the type of person who can make their own fun, which is an increasingly rare sort of person. Still, it’s a great place if you’re into roleplaying and want something a little more visual than a MUD/MUCK/MUSH/whatever.

    Buying Desura is a pretty natural thing; Linden Lab’s been managing a microeconomy via Second Life (and the in-world cash, Linden Dollars) for a long, long time, and successful enough that some people made livings that way. As Steam has shown what with hat-trading and the like, digital storefronts are not dissimilar, and Desura’s indie focus even more so; it’s another case of users making content for other users, really, and this time they aren’t inventing a new currency to denominate it in.

  22. ZombieJ says:

    Well at least they might fix Desura’s borked search function… Though I imagine Steam also aims to incorporate more indie stuff than Greenlight currently allows. Just look at the “Alpha access” games starting to appear.

  23. Branthog says:

    Well, that’s a pretty gross change of hands. Guess I should kiss my 60+ games on there goodbye. Don’t trust Linden Labs at all.

    Also, how about all these digital retail services (Desura, GOG, Steam, Origin, D2D, etc) stop trying to corner the market on certain exclusives and start acting like an actual store, by competing on price, customer services, interface, brand, and features rather than “durp durp we done got us Titanfall and nobody else does!”?

  24. sahawilliam says:

    this second life is better than the past one.
    http://www.logodivine.com/cheap-logo-design/

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