It has been a rough few months for Desura owner Bad Juju Games, and for the developers that sell their games on the digital distribution platform too. First, there were the reports on Reddit and Twitter that some devs hadn't received timely payment in months. Then, Desura announced that the payment delay had been complicated by a lack of automated payment systems and by the recent hospitalization of the company's CEO. And today, Rock Paper Shotgun has confirmed that Bad Juju Games has filed for bankruptcy.
Bad Juju acquired Desura back in November from Second Life company Linden Lab, which itself had purchased Desura only about a year prior. All of this taken together paints a grim picture of Desura's operations, and it calls into question the future of the platform.
In its first years, Desura was one of only a few digital storefronts that offered small, independent, and experimental games. But with the rise of Steam Greenlight, Early Access, Itch.io, and the numerous Bundle sites, the defining feature of Desura became a lot less unique.
Now, bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean closure, so for the time being, Desura itself remains up in the air. But this does act as a reminder of the potential precariousness of digital distribution platforms in general. As much as I'd like Desura to continue operation, I do have to wonder: In the case that the service does close, what happens to my copy of Datajack? Will Desura provide legacy servers so that I can download Datajack for some amount of time in the future? Will Datajack's developer need to set up a solution himself? There are a lot of unanswered questions about what happens when services like Desura close, and even if it doesn't happen here, I suspect we'll be facing this reality again sometime in the future. We'll just have to see how it all shakes out.
(PS: Everyone go play Datajack.)
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