The Humble Indie Bundle began as a pay-what-you-can model of bringing independent games to new audiences for dirt cheap. Each collection or ‘bundle’ featured a few little-known games from small-time developers. You paid what you wanted for the set and got to play some very interesting games like Osmos, Braid, and Trine and they came only a couple of times a year.

Now, Humble Bundle features multiple collections of DRM-free video games, music, and ebooks that are distributed in that same pay-what-you-will fashion and are available cross-platform. They’ve released nearly 30 bundles since May 2010, ranging from PC and Android games to soundtracks and ebooks. They’ve also had success with developer-specific bundles that highlight great games from developers like THQ and Frozenbyte.

Beginning in March of this year, these promotions have come out weekly and always have something new in store. They have even helped some games cross into the mobile world where they’ve made a killing (I’m looking at you, World of Goo!).

Humble Store operates as an alternate marketplace allowing developers to share their games on their own website and easily distribute it to fans.

Bundles are usually only available for a set time, but Humble Bundle’s Humble Store operates as an alternate marketplace allowing developers to share their game on their own website and easily distribute it to fans. Once developers have signed up with the Humble Store, they are given a widget they can include on their website which allows users to buy the game. The Humble Store is usually inaccessible unless you search directly for the widget for a particular game, like the one for Flotilla (below) which can only be accessed using this link. You can find a list of games available through the Humble Store on PCGamingWiki.

humbleflotilla

Humble Bundle customers have given approximately $11.7 million to various charities, making it about a third of the total revenue.

Since its dawning, the company has donated much of its proceeds to a multitude of charities, including charity: water and American Red Cross. At checkout you can even decide how to split your payment so you know exactly what is going where and you never have to give to a charity you don’t like. As of April 2013, Humble Bundle customers have given approximately $11.7 million to various charities, making it about a third of the total revenue.

Events like the Humble Bundle Mojam of February 2012 really show the heart and roots of the company. Backed by Mojang, the developers behind Minecraft, the event lasted 60 hours. During that time, the developers created a brand new game from scratch – to become Catacomb Snatch – using results from a poll that combined the most and least favored categories into one game. The event was live-streamed directly to the Humble Bundle website where donations could be made. Donators received access to the game as developers released stable builds during the event and after it was completed. The bundle also included Fists of Resistance from Oxeye Game Studio and The Broadside Express from Wolfire Games, both created based off secondary options from the original poll.

The sale officially ended with 81,581 bundles distributed for a total of $458,329.98. All funds were distributed to Child’s PlayElectronic Frontier Foundationcharity: water and the American Red Cross.

During that time, the developers created a brand new game from scratch – to become Catacomb Snatch – using results from a poll that combined the most and least favored categories into one game.

The company recreated the event in February of this year, releasing 8 games that were completed in 78 hours by Mojam, Oxeye Game Studio, Wolfire Games, Vlambeer, Grapefrukt Games, and Ludosity. All proceeds were donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Block By Block and included a $100,000 donation by an anonymous donor.

The Humble Bundle certainly has humble beginnings, but it has succeeded by giving independent developers a real voice in the gaming community. All while making the world a little better. By bringing independent games to such large audiences, they have helped stimulate a more competitive market and expose people to games they would never have known about. They set the precedence for similar series’ of game bundles like IndieGala and IndieRoyale (which are equally awesome) and have helped shed some much-deserved light onto what was once a dark corner of gaming. They have helped keep the dream alive for gamers, for developers, for all of us.

2 Responses

  1. Barry Bragg

    This is actually one of the most informative articles I’ve had the pleasure to read as a follower of GhostVolta. I’ve previously done almost all of my PC game purchases through Steam, including for Indie Games, but now that I know more about how Humble Bundle works, especially the charitable aspect, I’ll try to use Humble Bundle. I certainly didn’t realize they’d branched into other media sales.

    • Erika Childers

      I’m glad you found it informative! While Steam does some stellar indie game promotions every once in a while and still hosts some on their Store, I think it’s nice to have something dedicated to the small players. Let me know what games you find and enjoy 🙂

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