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Desura Digital Distribution

Play video games online with Desura

Desura is a digital content distribution platform which maintains a library of video game titles for use on personal computers and tablets. The Desura client consists of four separate components:

  • An online interface
  • A game installer
  • A game launching application
  • An automated update tool

One of the most attractive features of the Desura client is that its interface remains relatively consistent, no matter what operating system is used to access the service. Currently, Desura is compatible with the Linux, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems. It was the first such service to offer compatibility with all three of the world's most widely used computer operating systems.


Based in Australia, Desura was first launched in 2009 after spending two years in "stealth development." In other words, the client was developed without public beta testing and seemed to appear on the Internet out of nowhere when its creators deemed it ready. Desura won a large and loyal following of users fairly quickly, and grew to become one of the most popular independently focused digital game distribution clients on the Internet.

Acquisition by Linden Lab

In 2011, Desura was acquired by Linden Lab, as part of Linden Lab's strategy to acquire a diversified range of independent digital distribution companies. Following the acquisition, Linden Lab spokespeople confirmed that the company intended to continue running Desura as normal, and that it had no plans to merge the client with its other acquisitions or alter its interface, distribution platforms or community features. To date, Desura continues to operate as it originally did, except that it is now under different ownership.

The move vaulted Linden Lab into direct competition with some of the digital game distribution industry's heavyweights, including Valve's Steam distribution platform and Electronic Arts' Origin platform. At the time of the acquisition, Linden Lab noted that Desura was powered by a unique and talented pool of creative and technical personnel, and that its acquisition of Desura would enable the company to vastly improve its overall range of services. Linden Lab also noted that it intended to leverage Desura's unique development platform to its full potential.

Desura's Game Library

Desura offers two primary ways in which users can access games: through its subscription service, and through its freeware service. A much broader range of titles is available through the subscription-based service, though the client does maintain a healthy library of free games, in addition to a selection of gaming-related software products.

Some of the developers which have a distribution partnership with Desura include:

  • Basilisk Games
  • Fictional Games
  • Frozen Byte
  • Interplay Entertainment
  • Introversion Software
  • Linux Game Publishing
  • RuneSoft
  • Running with Scissors, Inc.
  • S2 Games

Desura is noted for its focus on smaller game studios and independent game producers. In addition to digital game distribution, users can access community forums and specialized resources to help game developers test beta versions of their games and receive feedback from players. Desura also offers digital distribution of images, videos, audio files, and allows users to sign up for its RSS feed.

Desura Mods

In addition to games, which are automatically patched onto the user's computer for easy launching, Desura also grants users access to "mods" (modules). Both mods and games are categorized by genre, with genre listings that include:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Driving
  • MMO
  • Puzzle
  • Simulation
  • Sport
  • Strategy

Desura Community Features

Desura is noted for its open, minimally-moderated community forum, in which users can openly post feedback on the site's games, content, and other related topics. Users are permitted to post comments, submit game and mod reviews, and put up screenshots of games for informational or promotional purposes.