If you hang around video gamers for a while, you’re bound to hear some of them bring up some awesome PC games they’ve purchased on Humble Bundle . If you’ve ever purchased DVD packs at half price, then you’ve felt the thrill of owning every episode ever made of your favourite TV series. Now imagine that instead of 50% off, you could just pay what you want for the boxed-set. The only catch is that you can’t go below a $1 dollar minimum. That, readers, is the wallet-friendly service that Humble Bundle provides for indie game lovers.
Indie game developer Jeff Rosen of Wolfire Games put the first bundle up for sale in May 2010. Some of the games included were Penumbra: Overture by Frictional Games , Gish by Cryptic Sea , and Lugaru HD by Wolfire Games . The three development studios mentioned also promised to release the source code for their games if the sale raised more than $1 million USD.
Naturally, gamers and tech geeks rose to the challenge. In the two weeks that it was available, the bundle succeeded in raising revenue of over $1,270,000 from over 116,000 consumers across Mac, PC and Linux platforms . Frictional Games, Cryptic Sea and Wolfire Games did as they promised and published the source code.
Money transactions on Humble Bundle are handled seamlessly. Customers can pay in a variety of ways, including Paypal, Amazon, Google Wallet, Bitcoins and the trusty debit card. In addition, the buyer gets to choose who their money goes to by dividing their preferred payments between game developers, Humble Bundle operators, and several charities.
While the site offers payment choices of $10, $25, $50 and $100, there is also an option to enter a custom amount. Initially, a game bundle consists of three to five games. Paying more than the average price of $5-8 dollars adds two or more games, soundtracks and other freebies to your bundle. All the games on offer are DRM-free, meaning that the downloadable game files are not encrypted and restricted to a particular user or account.
Those who have a free Steam account (a popular video game library manager on the PC) can also opt to pay only the $1 dollar minimum to receive game keys for the three games in the initial offer. These keys are redeemable only on Steam and are not DRM-free.
Since 2010, Humble Bundle Inc. have expanded in a variety of interesting ways. In 2012, they featured Mobile Bundle, which is predominantly made up of games for Android based mobile phones but sometimes include the OSX, Windows and Linux versions of the same games. Some of the more well-known games featured in the past eleven bundles include Machinarium, The Bard's Tale, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP , and Crayon Physics Deluxe . The mobile versions are, of course, linked to the account used on the device.
During that same year, Humble Bundle Inc. added a Books Bundle . The initial offer is usually made up of 6 books with the option of paying a little more to receive additional books as well as audiobooks. Past bundles have included A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk .
Some book bundles even feature series of graphic novels like The Walking Dead , Scott Pilgrim , and Star Wars . All books and comics are available in a variety of formats and are blessedly DRM-free, which means they are readable on a wide variety of devices.
In 2013, they debuted a new game bundle dubbed Weekly Bundle in addition to the existing, bi-weekly Indie Bundle. In July 2014, the Flash Bundle was introduced. Like its predecessors, the Flash Bundle offers a set of 3 to 5 games with extras for 24 hours only.
In October 2014, the site went a step further with their aptly named Humble Mozilla Bundle which allowed buyers to play the offered games from within their internet browsers regardless of which operating system is on their computers.
If bundled offers are not your thing however, the site also offers their very own Humble Store, launched in November 2013, where single games can be purchased at discounted prices. In addition, an annual summer sale also features a massive variety of games marked down to prices as low as 99 cents. It is reported that less than one year after its launch, the Humble Store alone, has raised over $1 million USD for the site's supported charities .
Humble Bundle Inc. has obviously come a long way since its inception. At least for indie video games, selling in DRM-free bundles with low prices has proved to be a better money making strategy than selling singular games off developer websites. Not only is the website itself raking in some good revenue, but game developers are also getting their due. And with donations being made to charity with every purchase on Humble, we can all feel like our obsessive gaming, reading and buying habits are at least contributing to a good cause.