You may remember the Humble Indie Bundle from May, which was a sort of experiment in payment, trends, and distribution. It was extremely successful, raising quite a lot of money for the EFF, Child’s Play, and of course the developers themselves. Now, just in time for the holidays, a new bundle is being offered with similar terms, and it’s just as tempting.
One new wrinkle is that the sale is now being run by Humble Bundle, Inc., a Y Combinator startup. With downloadable games becoming an almost disturbingly large business, the company could have carved itself out quite a comfortable little niche. The independent games and apps scene is quite active and prolific, and projects like this one are an excellent way to reward developers who often create these things in their spare time.
The bundle itself is five games that have been around for some time, though two are still under development (as indie games tend to be). There’s the mind-bending and poignant Braid, combat and physics sandbox Cortex Command, the enigmatic Machinarium, hypnotic iPad hit Osmos, and one I haven’t heard of, Revenge of the Titans, which nevertheless looks pretty amazing. Braid and Cortex Command are also newly available on Linux as of their inclusion in the bundle, which means that all the games work on Mac, Windows, or Linux.
So it’s a solid line-up, and as before, you can choose how much you pay and how that money is divided:
New is the ability to directly “tip” the Humble administrators. The default amount for this is 5%, and with the last bundle pulling in well over a million dollars, that could be a substantial little payoff if people don’t fiddle with the knobs too much.
The “pay what you want” model is in the process of proving itself, but I think it’s an easy way to recoup potential losses to piracy, though of course the last bundle was also pirated many thousands of times. There are pirates, of course, who will pirate even if the cost is a penny. there are also people who feel justified in pirating because they don’t think a game is worth more than $10 (I don’t comment on the wisdom of this position, but it exists), and a pay what you want model will garner a lot of untapped revenue from this crowd.
As for the future of the Humble Bundle Inc. startup, I think we’ll see them branching out into similar but well-proven markets, perhaps selling apps or Kickstarter-type products. They’re not announcing anything yet, but I’m sure we’ll hear more from them soon.
At any rate, it should be available now (or very shortly), and now (or shortly after now) is a good time for giving.