From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Original author(s)DBolical Pty Ltd.
PlatformMicrosoft Windows
TypeContent delivery

Desura was a digital distribution platform for the Microsoft Windows, Linux and OS X platforms. The service distributed games and related media online, with a primary focus on small independent game developers rather than larger companies. Desura contained automated game updates, community features, and developer resources. The client allowed users to create and distribute game mods as well.

Many independent developers (for example Scott Cawthon) and small companies published their content on Desura including Frozenbyte, Frictional Games, Introversion Software, Basilisk Games, S2 Games, Linux Game Publishing, RuneSoft, Running with Scissors, Interplay Entertainment, and Double Fine Productions. Desura sold many games that were previously included in Humble Bundle initiatives, as well as numerous other commercial titles. Desura also provided several freeware and free software games.

Originally, the platform was developed by DesuraNET; it was later sold to Linden Lab, and then to Bad Juju Games, which filed for bankruptcy in June 2015.[1] In October 2016, Desura was acquired by Danish company OnePlay a subscription-based online rental service intended to relaunch Desura,[2] but failed due to its bankruptcy.[citation needed] Desura's website spent four years being down,[3] and since 2020, is now unrelated to the original Desura service.


The Desura client was tied to its website through the use of the Chromium Embedded Framework. Most of its services were provided through its online interface, with the exception of the game launcher, installer, and update features. This means that the Desura interface remained consistent across multiple platforms.

The interface itself offered various selections based on what feature a user may want to access, with installed games being offered through the "Play" tab, games available for download or purchase being offered through the "Games" tab, user interaction and social networking features from the "Community" tab, information and features for game developers through the "Development" tab, and technical support and client settings through the "Support" tab.[4]

Desura did not implement digital rights management, and Desura employees have commented against its use in the past, recommending that content creators ship without DRM or use a CD Key system instead. However, Desura itself was DRM-neutral, and publishers and developers could sell games that require such technologies to be used. Desura made sure users purchasing these titles are aware of the DRM it ships with and how it works.[5]


Desura competed in the same market as Valve's Steam platform. However, Scott Reismanis, the founder of DesuraNET, did not consider it a competitor, but rather an attempt to address a different segment of the market.[6]

Desura primarily hosted indie games, which are games by smaller developers who do not have enough popularity or power to negotiate deals with Steam. Desura believed that its tighter links to a dedicated community would foster better relationships between players and developers.[7]

Desura used to be tied to the Mod DB community, as both were run by the same company. Desura therefore highlighted content distribution for mods as one of its features.


Desura was initially developed in secret by DesuraNET for many years. The project was first publicly announced on December 16, 2009.[8] Near its launch, it publicized itself by offering free keys for games to augment the purchases of the same games made through Humble Indie Bundle #2.[9] The Desura Windows client was released to the public on December 18, 2010.[10] On July 10, 2013, Desura was bought by Linden Lab.[11]

Linux support[edit]

Development on a Linux client was announced during the Summer of 2011,[12] utilizing wxWidgets and GTK+ as the toolkit, and was introduced as a limited beta program in the Fall.[13] The client was publicly available for download and execution, but users could not log into the online service unless they were a selected beta tester.[14] On November 16, 2011 the Desura Linux client was publicly released with an initial offering of over 65 games.[15][16]

Although Desura was not the only game distribution platform available for Linux, pre-dated by several traditional online sellers such as Tux Games,[17] Fun 4 Tux,[18] and Wupra,[19] rival online store Gameolith,[20] as well as many Linux distributions distributing games through their package management systems, Desura was the first and most prominent purely digital Linux game distributor with a dedicated client delivery application. The Ubuntu Software Center began selling commercial software packages just prior to the Linux Desura client release, but was not specialized for games, offering a substantially smaller catalog.[21]

Source release[edit]

On November 9, 2011 it was announced that Desura would be made partially free software in order to facilitate its further development. The client itself would be released under the GNU General Public License, while the server-side portion of the distribution platform would remain proprietary. The media assets and trademarks would also remain property of DesuraNET.[22] The free software release and development was handled in a manner similar to Google's Chromium project.[23] The free project, named "Desurium", was publicly made available on January 21, 2012.[24]

Ownership changes[edit]

On July 10, 2013, Linden Lab announced that they had acquired Desura.[25] The service would continue uninterrupted for current customers and the team and technology become a part of Linden Lab. After acquiring Desura, Linden Lab changed their Terms of Service to include the wording that they have future rights to use and adapt content from their virtual citizens.

It was announced on November 5, 2014 that Linden Lab had sold the Desura service to Bad Juju Games.[26][27] It faced backlash by indie developers for not paying for sales or keeping developers in the loop onto the situation.[28][29] Bad Juju later filed for bankruptcy in June 2015.[30][31] The Desura service went offline on March 19, 2016, but came back on March 29. Desura went offline again in September 2016, and has remained disconnected since then.[32]

On October 28, 2016, the home page showed the following message: "OnePlay has recently bought the Desura and Royale assets from Bad Juju. We are working hard behind the scenes to relaunch your favorite indie gaming platform." The change in ownership news is dated October 21, 2016.[33] An apparent effort was also made to give access back to the user accounts and libraries, but without any success to this day.[34]

In the summer of 2020, Desura changed its owner again, the site was bought at an auction by the Finnish company Behemouse, one of whose activities is the development of HTML5 (formerly Flash) web games and promotion of other websites related.[35]


  1. ^ "Desura owner Bad Juju Games files for bankruptcy". VentureBeat. 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
  2. ^ MCV Staff (2016-10-28). "OnePlay buys Desura and Royale brands, plans to bring them back from the dead". MCV. ISSN 1469-4832. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  3. ^ "OnePlay Buys Desura And Indie Royale Brands, Will Resurrect Both In 2017". Kotaku Australia. 2016-10-29. Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  4. ^ "cheese talks to himself - Desura Beta". 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
  5. ^ Dawe, Liam (2011-10-03). "Interview with Keith Poole from Desura Part 2". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
  6. ^ McElroy, Justin \ (March 9, 2010). "ModDB presents Desura: an indie take on digital distribution". Joystiq. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  7. ^ Denby, Lewis (March 8, 2010). "Desura: ModDB Takes On Steam". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  8. ^ "Desura Interview". The Reticule. 2009-12-24. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  9. ^ "Humble Bundle 2 adds Steam & Desura support, revenues top $1.17M". Engadget. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  10. ^ Gibson, Geoff (2010-12-18). "Desura, the Indie Digital Distribution Site, is Now Open". DIYGamer. Archived from the original on 2012-01-21. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  11. ^ "Linden Lab makers of Second Life buys out Desura". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  12. ^ "Desura Linux Development - We have UI!". June 9, 2011.
  13. ^ "Desura Linux - Beta launch". September 15, 2011.
  14. ^ Larabel, Michael (2011-09-21). "Desura Game Platform Goes Into Beta On Linux". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
  15. ^ Larabel, Michael (2011-11-17). "Desura's Public Linux Client Is Here With 65+ Games". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-11-07. (Desurium on GitHub)
  16. ^ Dean, Colin (2011-11-18). "Digital game distribution company Desura releases Linux client". THINKCOMPUTERS. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  17. ^ "Linux Game Publishing Blog, LGP History pt 1: How LGP came to be". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13.
  18. ^ Dawe, Liam (30 June 2011). "Gameolith - The Linux Game Download Store". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  19. ^ Bush, Josh (11 September 2018). "Cheese talks to himself (about Proton and the history of modern Linux gaming". CheeseTalks. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  20. ^ Dawe, Liam (21 August 2011). "Interview with Jonathan Prior of". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  21. ^ Zinoune, M. (2011-11-27). "Will it be Desura's Linux client Vs USC?". Unixmen. Retrieved 2012-07-02.
  22. ^ Larabel, Michael (2011-11-10). "Desura Game Client Is Looking To Go Open-Source". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  23. ^ "Desura games now also for Linux". The H. 2011-11-18. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  24. ^ Larabel, Michael (2012-01-21). "Desura Game Client Is Now Open-Source". Phoronix. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  25. ^ "Linden Lab Acquires Desura" (Press release). Linden Lab. July 10, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  26. ^ "Bad Juju Games Acquires Desura from Linden Lab" (Press release). November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  27. ^ "Bad Juju Games Acquires Desura from Linden Lab" (Press release). November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  28. ^ Morral, Tim (June 1, 2015). "Desura Breaks Financial Trust with Developers". CGMagazine.
  29. ^ "Developer frustration mounts as Desura admits to payment backlog". VG247. 2015-05-22. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  30. ^ Hall, Charlie (June 5, 2015). "Desura's parent company files for bankruptcy, CEO remains silent". Polygon.
  31. ^ Graft, Kris. "Desura's parent company has filed for bankruptcy".
  32. ^ "Desura Is Now Back Up After Being Unavailable For Over A Week - Gamesear". Retrieved 2019-04-09.
  33. ^ "Oneplay". Archived from the original on 2016-10-25. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  34. ^ "OnePlay Buys Desura And Indie Royale Brands, Will Resurrect Both In 2017". Kotaku Australia. 2016-10-29. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  35. ^ "Online Games on Desura". Archived from the original on 2020-11-01.

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