Friday, July 19, 2013

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Linden Lab's Desura Purchase Basically Bid To Compete With Steam for the UGC Market

Desura linden lab digital distribution

Gamasutra has a good interview with Linden Lab's Rod Humble, who goes into more detail about why he bought Desura, the digital distribution service. Basically, Iris pretty much called it last week, but it's nice to hear it coming straight from Humble's mouth:

"[We want] to make it the most open, developer- and user-friendly distribution service for all kinds of digital goods, starting out with games and mods and going from there," CEO Rod Humble tells Gamasutra. "For us it's a natural step... We're about user-to-user transactions and empowering people's creativity."

So basically, Linden Lab wants to Steam-ify all user-generated content. That is to say, make it possible for people to buy and sell UGC on an open digital distribution market. Steam is a great service if you're an established developer or a somewhat established indie developer, but kinda restrictive and hard to crack if you're a newbie. And yes, Desura's basically targeting the Steam market:

Of course, Steam supports plenty of user-gen options as well, such as through Steam Workshop -- but to hear Humble tell it, that's the whole point. "When the market is so narrow, competitors are a good thing. They will bring different people into the space," says Humble. He's speaking particularly of Second Life's lack of a real counterpart in the virtual world genre, but the subtext is quite clear. He continues pointedly, "The same with digital distribution... It's certainly not saturated, right, when you have one very significant player dominating a lot of it."

So like Iris said, and explained in detail, this is a big move. Gabe Newell probably has nothing to worry about anytime soon, but the space he innovated with Steam is about to get even more interesting than it already is.

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shirc desantis

ahem +1 to Rodvik :)

GoSpeed Racer

Now we know why the Second Life client never appeared in the Steam Store.

Hitomi Tiponi

The question still remains - did Steam say no to SL, or did Rod decide against Steam?

Ezra

Steam has some pretty steep quality standards. They've delisted games like WarZ for marketing things that didn't really exist, and delisted others like Darkspore for bugginess. Steam is pruned year around of bad apples.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Second Life didn't make the cut to be listed on the Steam. Those of us that use it daily are numb to bugs, crashes, lag, and the listed Minimum and Recommended System Requirements being pretty much meaningless. But Second Life would set some pretty bad precedent on Steam if it was deemed quality enough.

Aeonix Aeon

Not really a big deal like people are making it out to be. Essentially, it's Second Life likely being rejected from Steam for very obvious reasons, Linden Lab being butt-hurt about it and deciding to make their own UGC distribution system (or acquire one).

This is a lot like them deciding to make their own little social media system instead of making the effort to natively connect to existing social media that people actually use.

Just another in a long line of "We'll make our own and perpetuate the walled garden mentality some more"

I'm not impressed, and nobody else should be either.

Cyberserenity

"[We want] to make it the most open, developer- and user-friendly distribution service for all kinds of digital goods, starting out with games and mods and going from there,"

I think it is nice to see that Linden lab slowly got a clearer picture of what they are and where they are going. It helps any company.

Archangel Mortenwold

I thought LL's association with Steam was supposed to bring in a new wave of users. Oh well. I guess it's on to the Next Big Thing that will save LL from its own stupidity.

Kim Anubis

LL has done some things lately that have made me more optimistic about SL than I had been in recent years. Maybe this will be one of them -- hard to tell -- but these days I'd bet a few quatloos on Rodvik.

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