Iris Ophilia has an article on New World Notes explaining why she thinks the Lab’s acquisition of Desura is a good thing. See: New World Notes.
I tend to agree with Iris’ take on Desura. Unfortunately we do not know enough about the Lab’s web development teams to know how well they can handle Desura. Talk to people selling in the Market Place and you will likely have a hard time finding anyone that is happy with it.
The Linden team developing the Second Life™ web properties mostly hides out. So, we know little about them or the problems they deal with.
On the other hand, the Linden team providing SL server updates has been talking with us weekly for years. While not everyone is happy with the server team, the unhappy people tend to be the uninformed and the computer tech illiterate. Those engaged with the Lindens and having some understanding of programming and server tech and RL limitations are pretty much OK with and supportive of the team.
With the web dev team, I don’t know anyone happy with them.
How well Desura does from the acquisition point forward probably depends on who runs Desura. If Desura staff is kept as the hands on programmers and Rod sets directions, I expect things will improve. If web developers from the Lab take over,… this likely won’t be a good thing.
I know from comments in various user group meetings that the move to Valve is on the shelf. Several things are on the shelf. The Lab does not have the staff to do everything. No one seems to know what is holding that project up, other than maybe a lack of staff.
I do remember that when the Experience Tools were the hot development item that the Valve relationship was hot too. Since the Experience Tools disaster (See: Greifer Monday and Griefer Monday Postmortem) a bit over a year ago, June 6, 2012, the project went dark. At the time it seems it was decided the permissions system for SL was going to have to be redone. That work was started. For a time it was stalled as other infrastructure parts had to be changed. Things are too intertwined to know what was being changed. Also as it is involves system security we are unlikely to hear any explanation other than how the new Experience Permissions are to be used.
This Experience Tools delay could be the hold up for Valve. If you follow Loki, you know there are some real problems for those that choose to use SL to build a game. The Experience Tools will solve a number of those problems. As Valve is in many ways about building games, giving those users SL without the Tools might have been seen as a mistake, leaving them with a bad taste and SL with a black eye reputation with the Valve crowd. Could be, but we will likely never know.
If we see more discussion about Valve after the Tools are released, we could more easily make the assumption this has been the case.
With the acquisition of Desura one has to wonder of the Lab decided to compete with Valve. I sort of doubt that. But, I don’t use Valve enough, and have yet to try Desura, to know if they are competitive or complimentary.
Looking through the Steam/Valve forum I find the Valvites discussed Origin (Electronic Arts store), Desura and Steam/Valve. It seems in my inference that they are more competitive than complimentary. Desura has a reputation of being more open source like and less interested in DRM (Digital Rights Management).
Some compare Desura to GOG.com.
Several people in the conversation thought Desura was the best for distributing game mods. Othewise Steam is better all around and has good support services, like game forums and match making, for indie developers. Some were concerned as to whether Desura could survive and wondered what would happen to their games if Desura went down.
In general it appears that Desura and Steam/Valve are competitive services targeting different audiences. Steam/Valve targets the pro developers and corporate game makers. They provide services for game mod’ing and smaller developers. Desura appears to target the smaller and independent game makers. So, it is not really a head-to-head competition.
Time will tell how this works out. For now we’ll hear screams from Desura users, that always happens when there is change, and speculation from those of us that know the Lab and use their products.
I wonder if there is an update for my Patterns…