Desura Owner Bad Juju Games Files for Bankruptcy
by Austin Walker on June 5, 2015
Though the ultimate fate of the digital storefront is still unknown, this probably doesn't bode well.
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.)
So, anyone who has games bought from Desura, now is the time to download and archive installers and game keys, and to use Steam activation for everything that is cross-compatible. I don't know who here has what from there, but anyone who bought Illwinter's games (Dominions series and Conquest of Elysium 3) should follow that advice.Desura/Indie Royale Owner Bad Juju Games Has Filed For Bankruptcy, Insider Reveals
While folks will immediately remember Desura’s troubles paying developers since two weeks ago, these issues may be traceable as far back as when Linden Lab sold it.
by Ryan Parreno on 5th Jun, 2015
Update by Ian Miles Cheong: We have a confirmed report from an inside source close to Desura that Bad Juju, the parent company of Desura, faced financial difficulties after acquiring Desura from Linden Lab. Bad Juju's financial troubles began after they acquired Desura.
When Linden Lab acquired the company prior, they saw that Desura was not profitable immediately. Bad Juju could neither handle the cost of operations nor the staff, and it bankrupted the company.
Despite running on a skeleton crew, Desura's staff as well as the costs to download games and files off its service far outweighed any profits the company could make.
Our source emphasizes that Bad Juju went bankrupt explicitly because they bought Desura, and that the company's troubles have nothing to do with the hospitalization of Desura's CEO.
Original post follows:
Desura, and sister company Indie Royale, may be calling it quits as parent company Bad Juju has filed bankruptcy.
Desura is a digital distribution platform, competing in the same space as Steam and GOG. Most Desura games are DRM-free, although they are actually DRM neutral and so are willing to sell Steam keys. While a distant third in the market, Desura has acquired a small library of key indie developers, iuncluding Double Fine, Frozenbyte, Runesoft, and Running with Scissors.
Indie Royale was their answer to Humble Bundle, BundleStars, etc., allowing you to buy bundles as well as individual games for cheap.
While folks will immediately remember Desura’s troubles paying developers since two weeks ago, these issues may be traceable as far back as November 2014. Linden Lab, the startup that owns Second Life, purchased the service in 2013, and given the size and profitability of Linden Lab, this was seen as a good sign for the company. The subsequent sale to Bad Juju, then, could have been an early sign the company’s affairs were not in order.
Following growing complaints from developers that they were unpaid by Desura for an extended period of time, they had explained that Bad Juju’s CEO Tony Novak, who solely handled payments, was hospitalized and could not process this business in the interim. Desura also admitted to other issues that sprung up since the acquisition, along with a recent office relocation.
Now, we know from IndieRoyale employee Grame Boxall that the company’s future, as well as his job, really in question for this whole time. Finally, he pointed out that you can Google Bad Juju’s filing for bankruptcy.
— Graeme Boxall (@uncomplex) June 5, 2015If you Google, Bad Juju bankruptcy, you find some very unfortunate news.
In fact, bankruptcy database inforuptcy has a listing for that filing here.
Did you buy games on Desura or Indie Royale? Do you happen to be one of the developers they haven’t paid yet? If you would like to share your story with us, please contact me at ryanparreno[at]gameranx(dot)com.
Some of the estimates I've seen are lights out within one month. The CEO is under orders from the lawyers and/or a court not to say anything and everything seems to be merrily on its way to hell in a handbasket.
Which is yet another almighty "Fuck me!" moment for yours truly, as I now get to deal with the fallout WRT the Illwinter side of things with the community. It's not the platform per se, it's getting all the important stuff archived before it goes kablooey. On the Dominions forum, the discussion related to this is here.