By John Walker on May 12th, 2010 at 1:22 am.
Perhaps you need to hear some good news. Here’s some now. You might remember we told you about the Humble Indie Bundle. (We really did. Could people maybe stop emailing us about it now? Please?) You can get World of Goo, Aquaria, Lugaru, Gish and Penumbra Overture, DRM free, for whatever price you choose. It’s $80 worth, at the price of your choosing. And now it comes with Samorost 2 as well! You can choose what proportion of what you pay reaches the two charities the project is supporting, Child’s Play and The Electronic Frontiers Foundation. And that’s not the good news. The good news is they’ve so far, in one week, been voluntarily paid $1,066,880, with 31% of that reaching the charities. Even more, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, and Penumbra Overture have now pledged to become Free Software – i.e. their source code available for anyone to use in any way they wish, published under GNU licenses.
You might today be feeling a little sad for one reason or another. Perhaps you are feeling ill toward particular fellow humans. But please remember, when offered the chance to get these games for free, 117,421 have between them given over a million dollars, with $330,265 of it reaching worthy causes, the rest reaching worthy developers.
Let’s get political. This is how people behave when you don’t impose DRM upon them. This is how people responded to generosity shown to them. An average of around $10 being paid, by people who needn’t have paid anything. Of that, $165,000 (so far – it’s only been going for seven days) going to buy toys and games for sick children around the world, and $165,000 going to fight for the rights and freedoms of individuals.
On top of that, each developer involved (all small independent teams) have made $105,230 each. So far. That’s an awful lot of money.
Now Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, and Penumbra Overture are all open source, they will become resources for others wishing to get involved in independent development. This isn’t their becoming “free” – you presumably will still be able to choose to pay for them should you wish to. This is about their becoming Free – open, available source code which anyone may use for their own purposes, even for profit, so long as they allow others the same freedoms with whatever they may create. (The individual licenses aren’t yet known, so some may place other restrictions on this, but this will be the case if they embrace straight GNU software licensing.)
It’s interesting to note how the split of payments across platforms has fallen. Windows users, most used to existing within extreme DRM and restrictive licenses, have chosen to pay $7.97 on average. Those in the Proprietary Cult of Jobs have opted for $10.19. While the freedom-loving hippies of Linuxland throw down a dramatically higher $14.55. The more people experience software freedom, the more they seem to pay.
People are often amazing. You can give money for fantastic games here.