Humble Indie Bundle Makes Bundle

By John Walker on May 12th, 2010 at 1:22 am.

Happy face.

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.

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142 Comments »

  1. Daniel Klein says:

    This is so massively amazing. I only gave 20$ (already have World of Goo, and realized suddenly that I’ve been spending a lot of money on frivolous things), but I feel doubly good and warm inside about doing that now.

    • bookwormat says:

      This is so massively amazing. I only gave 20$ (already have World of Goo, and realized suddenly that I’ve been spending a lot of money on frivolous things), but I feel doubly good and warm inside about doing that now.

      +1

  2. wokjraslnfsa says:

    Read a report that 25% of downloads for these games were from pirates.
    I think it’s up on Kotaku. The message from the indie devs to the pirates were “If you don’t even want to pay 1 penny for the games, go download them from bit torrent, and quit using our bandwidth!”

    Glad that they were still successful. I paid 5$ :)
    Though, you would NEVER find me paying more than 10$ per game, so I get 6 for the price of one.

    • bbot says:

      Thanks for enforcing the unbreakable Indie Price Bracket of ten bux; much like how AAA games are always $50.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I bought the pack for myself and then thought my little brother who’s too young/ignorant to be fiddling around with paypal and who doesn’t live with me might like to play some of the games so I gave him my private link (telling him to guard it with his life of course)

      arguably I should have paid more because it was for a good cause, but really, I think it’s only the tyranical Activision’s of the world who would mind people sharing a game with their siblings.

      Although I expect that’s only a very small proportion of the people downloading, but still.

    • Jimbo says:

      If ‘what they want to pay’ is less than the CC fees, isn’t it actually better for the devs if they just pirate it instead?

  3. bbot says:

    When I bought it, last week, I spent $20, to nudge the Linux average up. Looks like it worked.

    Presumably the open sourcing will work like the Doom licensing, where the engine, netcode, etc were all GPLed; (the code) but the artwork, sound files, and levels remained proprietary. (the content)

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      “… to nudge the Linux average up.”

      That displaying of statistics relative to platform probably was a good idea. I think it’s likely that the Linux (and Mac) average would have been lower otherwise. (I did the same thing as you, and added a few extra dollars to nudge the Mac average up.) We want to show the world that it’s worth their while to develop for non-Windows platforms.

  4. Taverius says:

    Low low funds right now, and I already have Samorost 2 and World of Goo.

    Still managed to whip up 12.50, still feeling pretty warmish for a cold-hearted windows bast^H^H^H^Huser, and I still have spare cash for smokes. Life is gewd :)

  5. Kast says:

    Think I plumbed for £10 in the end (and felt rather cheap for paying that little, even if it was over average for a Windows gamer) and am absolutely getting my moneys worth. Penumbra in particular has me firmly by the balls. And because I already own World of Goo, I passed on the link to a friend of mine after extracting a promise from them only to download said gooey morsel.

    It’s amazing to think that this one deal has potentially meant that each of these companies can A) afford to LIVE for another year, and B) Make another beautiful game. All thanks to a virtual honesty box and a lot of word of mouth.

  6. Tom OBedlam says:

    I paid $30, £20 odd. I’d have given more but I’m stoney at the moment. I’m made up they’ve done so well out of this.

    I noticed those figures yesterday as I D/Ld Gish and came to a pretty similar conclusion. The same thing appears to be true for Bay 12, if you make people happy they’ll support you, simple maths.

  7. Misnomer says:

    While we are going with correlation, let’s consider the amount of money and games available on each operating system.

    Linux<OSX<Windows

    So you mean how much people paid might be a factor of supply and demand and not idealism? Say it ain't so Joe.

    • Misnomer says:

      (BTW by “money” I mean, if I have spent money on the piles of games available for Windows I have less available than someone who bought games made for Linux this year).

    • Karthik says:

      I don’t know a single person who uses only Linux 24/7. (And I’m at a university surrounded by geeks.)

      Everyone I know who uses Linux who also plays games usually buys and plays games on Windows. That is: Linux gamers and Windows gamers are not mutually exclusive. So I _don’t_ think it’s the supply and demand curve at work here.

      This argument is obviously anecdotal, so feel free to bash it.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Nah..not a particularly good analogy, IMO. I think linux users are users just like the rest of us – hassle-free gaming is best for ‘em. Now do tell me what’s better – having to boot to Windows every bloody time you want to play one of those games or simply making one of those magical commands with lots of hyphens, numbers and letters inside the system they are currently working on a code/managing servers/sending DDoS attacks M$’s way*?

      —–
      *okay, maybe not the last one…but boy, I’d wish.

    • Karthik says:

      I did not make an analogy. I stated a fact from personal observation and interaction with a couple dozen Linux users. Whatever their reasons might be, Linux users who are gamers play prefer to do their gaming on Windows. Maybe booting into Windows is the most hassle-free way of playing games; I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter.

  8. Vinraith says:

    So about that offer of getting the other Penumbra games for $5 after contributing to the Humble Bundle…. how does that work exactly? There was no code in my confirmation email.
    Oh, and kudos to Wolfire and everyone that was involved with this, I’m glad it turned out so well for them (and for us!).

    • Will Tomas says:

      The code is in the installation of Penumbra Overture. Yes, you can argue it is an annoying way of doing it, but the code isn’t complex. I won’t post it up because it’s not fair to spread it to those who haven’t donated, but install Penumbra Overture and you get the coupon code.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Will

      Ah, I hadn’t thought to look there. I can understand being careful about distributing the code, but they should tell us paying folks where to find it! Thanks for the assist, I’ll go have a look.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Will

      Found it, bought it, thanks again!

  9. Starky says:

    Yeah I was thinking the same thing Misnomer, the correlation of windows users paying less is simply due to competition, windows users get a LOT of good games at really cheap prices, so $10 might seem fair for a sale bundle of old-ish games.

    Windows users exist in the world of cheap digital sales, entire publisher catalogues of AAA games for £30, bundles of several AAA games for a tenner, and bundles of older, or indie games for a few quid.

    I’m a user of all 3 platforms (Win+Lin at home, Mac at work), though I’d rather stab myself with a rusty nail than buy a Mac for home use, not because they are bad, but because the price is a rip off.

  10. Will Tomas says:

    I loved this, and I love that people responded to it like this even more. Shine on you crazy indie diamonds.

  11. Jimbo says:

    The figures I saw put it at $140k per developer. That is an awful lot of money, considering. I would not be surprised if that is more than some of these games have earned before in total.

    I’d love to see comparisons to the sales figures from the week before, to get an idea of how much of this comes from selling games, and how much is from selling charity and a business model. Personally, I don’t think this bundle breaks $300k total without the charities, but who knows.

    Gamers choosing to donate $160k of their hard earned to Child’s Play is a result though, kudos to those guys.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      I’d be in your $300K as my small donation went straight to the developers in order to try out Gish and Penumbra (already have WoG and not interested in Lugaru & Aquaria).

  12. Bassism says:

    Man, this just makes me so happy, and proud of the world in general.

    Regardless of whether the correlation has to do with people’s morals, ideologies, or lack of choice in games, I think this paints a pretty clear message about the viability of developing for non-Microsoft platforms.

    I mean, ignoring an depth analysis of the numbers, this data suggests that a developer could potentially earn 100% more by releasing a multiplatform game. If devs choose to use proper cross-platform SDKs (ie, not DX) it certainly wouldn’t cost 100% in dev time to get the thing ported.

    Of course, real world numbers aren’t nearly so high, but the market is obviously there, if only more people would cater to it.

  13. Villian says:

    I paid a cent.

    /insert evil laugh

  14. mitthrawn says:

    I gave 20$, felt bad for not giving 45. Am pleased and surprised at my fellow humans. Remember DRM addicted publishers- you’re customers are humans who responded better to carrots than sticks.

  15. cjlr says:

    I already owned Gish and World of Goo (on Steam – boo! but they were on sale – woo!) but I have to admit I cheaped out and only paid $11.23.

    And let me be the first to give my insane props to the anonymous man who gave 3333.33. I only wish I had that kind of money.

  16. Dworgi says:

    I paid $10, because it’s all I had on my account at the time, and I already owned 3/5 games. =/

    I do feel somewhat vindicated, however, by being an incredibly vocal advocate for the bundle. I convinced a few friends to buy it, hopefully making up for my poorness.

    Also, the open source thing is incredibly good news and makes me all tingly inside. It’s a shame Gish didn’t go open source as well, because that would be a wonderful clean sweep of the entire bundle. Well done again to the Wolfire guys – making the indie world a better place every day.

    • laikapants says:

      @ Dworgi: Gish actually is going open source, the only two to not be slated to open up are World of Goo and Samorost 2.

  17. mejobloggs says:

    One reason why Windows users may have paid less is because they already had a few of the games

    I bought 2 of those games off Steam a while back, so only paid $5. But if you added up what I paid for the games it might be around $30 (can’t remember)

    • Jad says:

      That was exactly my issue. I paid $20 for World of Goo a year ago (and hyped it to everyone I know), and got the Penumbra pack from some Steam deal for $5-10 a while back (and still haven’t played any of them).

      I also have picked up a huge number of cheap games recently — Men of War for $2.50, Fuel for $3.75, P.B. WInterbottom for $5, Freespace 2 for $4.50, Civ III for $1.25 and more — that I wasn’t even going to go for this bundle at first, leery of adding any more to my enormous backlog. Then all the love and warmth that it seemed to be generating made me reconsider, and so I threw in $10. Slightly lifting the Windows stat, I guess, but not as much as those who don’t have any of these games, and fewer games in general, like Linux or Mac users.

    • LintMan says:

      I had already paid full price for World of Goo way back when, and none of the other games particularly interested me at all, but I like indie developers and I like the charity angle so I put in $15.

  18. Anthony says:

    I dropped $10 since I’m in the poorhouse generally, but would’ve given more if I had the opportunity. I might just re-buy them for more if finances look good in a week or so (if the deal is still on) and gift them to someone.

    Kudos to the $3333.33 donator, followed closely with slightly more geek cred to the $1337 and massive nerd points to donator “unsigned char” with $255.

    Congrats to the internet in general for being so relentlessly awesome. I doubt anyone thought it could get as big as it did in only a week. And big thanks to the developers for making titles I practically have to buy when faced with such a great value proposition.

  19. jarvoll says:

    How is everyone seeing individuals’ contributions?

    I put down $20 ($5 per game I don’t yet own) for the Linux cause. Seriously, this is just win/win/win/win scenario: win for the devs*, win for the charities, win for Linux’s profile, win for me. Thank you, Life (=Wolfire)! Please engineer more such scenarios in future.

    *Yes, they normally would have recieved more than what I contributed to them in this sale, but all four games I ‘payed for’ were ones I wasn’t ever intending to buy, outside of an exceptionally cheap christmas sale, so in my specific case they essenially get ‘free’ money.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @jarvoll
      In the “Real time statistics” square, you can click on the “top” label. It is a separate tab, though this is not immediately clear from the design.

  20. Vague-rant says:

    I bought it for $10, I’m a bit cheap, I know but, I already owned 3 of the 5 and I wasn’t particularly interested in lugaru…

    Penumbra going open source is really very interesting. I want to see what people can do with the tech outside of the horror genre as I found myself playing the game in spite of the dark atmosphere rather than because of it at some stages (Don’t get me wrong, I applaud, say, stalkers dark atmosphere but I just don’t really think it works for a puzzle game where you have to take your time to think about things.)

  21. irongamer says:

    Paid $33 bucks for mine.
    Paid $3 for 3 gifts I gave to friends. ($9 total)

    Jobless at the moment so I couldn’t give what I would have liked to give. =/

  22. Tei says:

    Epic. It probably probe that the 90% of the geeks are cool people.

  23. Snook says:

    Let’s get political. This is how people behave when you don’t impose DRM upon them.

    Or maybe they just behave in exactly the same way: http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Saving-a-penny—-pirating-the-Humble-Indie-Bundle

    • Gabe says:

      …and if they DO behave the same way…

      Then the difference to the paying customer = “No hassles” vs “DRM hassles”
      and the difference for the producer = “No extra cost” vs “Extra DRM cost”.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Pirates gonna pirate.

      But the devs (and charities!) are unquestionably making more from this sale than thepiratebay is making from its ad impressions to the people grabbing the torrent for this bundle.

      It is possible to compete with piracy (and indeed, most of these devs have been doing that successfully since day 1).

    • Tei says:

      The pirates networks serve two purposes:
      – Distribution method. For some people is easier to download everything from a single warez source.
      – Filtering/Discovering.. game journalist. These warez networks publish articles about new games. RPS have more than one “Evil Twin” that comment new games.

      So. why not? Is a alternate world.

    • John Walker says:

      That people are pirating it (always going to happen) does not in any way detract from how fantastic it is that over a million dollars has been paid so far. As Gabe says, the point is that the DRM makes no difference. People who choose to pay will choose to pay. Celebrate them.

    • Marar says:

      I still think that 25% number is flawed, just because some people downloaded multiple times or downloaded for multiple platforms makes them a pirate? I bet most people that got the linux version also downloaded the windows version.

    • Bhazor says:

      Reply to Alec

      Are you completely sure it makes no difference? Have you asked every single pirate whether they would have made a donation if they hadn’t got the game for free? Unless you have you really can not say it had no effect on revenue either way. I agree with Cliffski, if x = sales lost to piracy and y = sales lost to DRM boycotts then so long as x = y -1 companies will still use DRM. I doubt this will change anybodies mind.

      I would like to hear some of the justification of pirates. The multiple formats argument doesn’t apply as each individual purchase gains access to all three formats on their unique key.

    • bill says:

      As tei says, many people won’t even have heard of the bundle or seen the original website. they’ll just have seen a link pop up on a forum or tracker they frequent. They’ll have clicked it. They’ll have downloaded it. Most of them will probably never even play it. Most of them probably wouldn’t have paid for it.
      Considering this game’s piracy rate (25%) is way lower than games with DRM (85-90%) there doesn’t seem any benefit in the DRM to me.

  24. Heliosicle says:

    I like how it shows that linux users are the most generous, is that because they dont have to pay for most of their software?

    At any rate, Lugaru is good fun, Penumbra scared me shitless, Gish is good so is Aquaria and Samorost 2 is amazing, must get Machinarium.

  25. Magic H8 Ball says:

    I find the analysis of this extremely flawed.

    First of all, people who even heard about this in the first place are people interested in indie games, so most of them had at least one position on the list. So they had no invective to pay the “full price”.

    On the other hand, charity. When confronted with charity, people get, well, charitable. I would assume if there was no such thing involved profits would be much lower.

    So let’s say these two cancel each other out. $9.12 for five games is $1.82 per game. Well that’s something to write home about! I’m too lazy to look, but I think I can safely assume the original price of any of these games was no less than $5, which is well over twice as much as people paid. Incidentally, the site loads with $29.95 in the price box – almost $6 for game and over three times as much as people actually paid.

    “DRM-free” is a nonsense argument in this case, because no game in this bundle has any DRM to speak of(one that calls home, gets into Ring 0 or destroys your DVD drive), and I know for a fact World of Goo never had any copy protection in the first place.

    Finally, a hundred thousand – or even two hundred thousand, if we wait a year – is a laughable amount. If this was any kind of commercial product, it would be a complete failure.

    Now go be happy about something else.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Funny you say that. These *are* commercial products. Most (if not all) of these guys are making games as a business. Whether $100,000 is a significant amount of money or not is all relative to the budget you had making the game. And since most of these games are a couple of years old, I imagine that most of that $100,000 is straight profit, enough to fund the dev’s next game or two. Nothing to sneeze at at all.

    • Vague-rant says:

      “On the other hand, charity. When confronted with charity, people get, well, charitable. I would assume if there was no such thing involved profits would be much lower.”

      Wait, isn’t people’s charitable disposition a good thing?

      As for the prices paid? 66% is an average amount for a steam weekend deal, so not too much of a decrease there.

      Also, 140k per company is quite a bit given that firstly all of these games have been out for a while (presumably the original releases of said games were more profitable) and secondly that all these companies are a lot smaller than a huge developer so the returns scale down too.

      Your point on packages is fair enough, but thats true for all packages and at least the option to gift is available, if not encouraged. Also lack of DRM… Would you like them to put some in, then take it out?

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      Boo… hiss… etc…

    • Lambchops says:

      “On the other hand, charity. When confronted with charity, people get, well, charitable. I would assume if there was no such thing involved profits would be much lower.”

      It’s a fair point. On a personal level I only bought this bundle because I wanted another copy of Aquaria (the install files were on my now defunct old laptop and I was unable to redownload them). I’ve already got Gish and World of Goo and have no interest in Penumbra and Lugaru. If there hadn’t been the option to donate all the money to charity I’d never have bothered or in a pay what you want scheme would have paid nothing, what with already having paid for the games that I’m actually going to play.

      As for being happy about something else I’m quite glad to be happy that some money has gone to charity. As you’ve said, most of the people who are interested in these types of games have probably bought them already, so it’s hardly like the developers got anything to lose by being part of a bundle like this.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      On the charity note, I’d like to say that I had all my money go to the developers. It’s nice that people can opt to get games while giving 100% of the money to their favorite charity, but I’m primarily interested in supporting the developers. If the developers earn enough to sustain themselves and feel like giving some of what they earned to charity, that’s their busyness. If I myself wanted to give to charity, I’d go give to charity. This is about supporting indie game development. At least as far as I’m concerned.

    • John Walker says:

      All of these games are at least a year old. They’ve had their time for big sales. That they’re selling at all is remarkable. Let alone at these enormous figures.

      The charity thing doesn’t detract! It demonstrates that making donations to good causes is a good business model!

      As for your “DRM free” comment. It’s “nonsense” to say they’re DRM free because none of them have DRM? That’s one of the weirder arguments I’ve heard.

      $100k would be a laughable amount for a major title to make in a year. $100k for a one or two man team made in a week, for a game that came out two years ago? That’s pretty bloody incredible. Imagine if you’re 2D Boy, two people who made a game, and in the last week you became $50k richer. You’d call that “a complete failure”?

  26. sfury says:

    I already have World of Goo and Penumbra on Steam, but what the developers have done (and are continuing to do) with this humble bundle is PURE AWESOME and I couldn’t resist giving them at least $10 for warming my heart. Plus I bought both for pennies so I figured I owe them more than that (and I’ve been considering buying Aquaria for some time now, not for $20 though)

    Also a good way to stick it up to the Man and his DRM.

    /obscenities towards Ubisoft&Co follow

  27. Optimaximal says:

    I feel dirty for not contributing, but when I already own World of Goo and the Penumbra series, coupled with the impending open-sourcing of the rest, I can’t bring myself to pay a sum of money for my third copy of WoG!

    :*(

    • Shadowcat says:

      Optimaximal: The source code will be open-sourced. I highly doubt that the game data will be made free (although with the Humble Indie Bundle, it’s as close to free as you want it to be). People will be able to make source ports for other platforms (I’m thinking mobile Gish could be a hit, personally), but you need to own the game in order to make use of a source port.

      People could also use the code to make a new game with different data, and they might make that game available for free, but it would be a different game.

      The beauty of open-source is that these games can live forever, no matter how the underlying operating systems change (given that they are all cross-platform productions already, there should be a very high chance of success when it comes to updating them).

    • Vague-rant says:

      Um, Mobile gish exists, google it… Just it looks too fiddly for a phone.

      Now aquaria on a touch screen phone would be quite something.

  28. Quasar says:

    I already bought this for myself, but felt in a good mood after seeing this post, and grabbed a second copy for the missus.

    Things like this are the reason I love the internet.

  29. Magic H8 Ball says:

    VelvetFistIronGlove said:
    Funny you say that. These *are* commercial products. Most (if not all) of these guys are making games as a business. Whether $100,000 is a significant amount of money or not is all relative to the budget you had making the game.

    And relative to the amount of fun you can get out from it, which is a function of how good it is and how long it lasts.

    All relative, as you said.

  30. Dawngreeter says:

    Ye gods how I cheered last night when the million dollar milestone was broken. This is awesome stuff, I’m happy for the developers and hope hope hope this amazing success will lead them to new and better projects in the same vein. Also, it’s a monumental victory for the anti-copyright movement. Both because this is something the media can’t spin based on a ton of unknowns and assumptions (like the sales of a certain music album) and because it’s a solid basis for other developers to embrace a similar model.

    Revolutions are serious business.

    • cliffski says:

      “anti-copyright?”

      I think you will find that the developers still retain the copyright for their work, and still believe in copyright. Unless you have firm evidence to the contrary?

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I’m not saying the developers are anti-copyright, I’m saying it’s a boost to the anti-copyright movement. And besides, anti-copyright is pretty much about what the Bundle did, whatever their position on it might be.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      @cliffski I’ve not checked if any of the open-sourcing is happening under the GPL, but the GPL is a decidedly anti-copyright. It relies on copyright law to be enforceable, but it subverts copyright and turns it on its head, with a result not dissimilar to that if there was no copyright protection for software.

    • John Walker says:

      They appear to be planning to use the GNU GPL licenses, which would suggest they aren’t too worried about copyright.

    • Cooper says:

      Anti (or lack of) rights protection =/= Anti-Copyright

      Believing in the rights of artists to claim ownership of their work is entirely compatible with not bundling those works with forms of rights management.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Actually, anti-copyright is not about removing the creator’s rights to his work. Even in its most extreme form, anti-copyright idea always included attribution of the original creator. It’s about removing this silly idea of exclusive right to multiplication. Vast majority of anti-copyright proponents agree that anyone should be allowed to copy (that intellectual monopoly is called a “copy right” is farcical) but the creator should retain the right to sell. For a while or until death does them part; it’s an ongoing debate obviously.

    • Tei says:

      “but the GPL is a decidedly anti-copyright.”

      Thats sounds flamatory. A better description would be Copyleft. Not anti, but a different stance. And the GPL and such stuff need the Copyright laws to work. Is the framework where licenses like the GPL are built into.

    • cliffski says:

      Oh dear. So now the idea that people shouldnt eb able to copy PC games for personal use and never buy another one is a ‘silly idea’. And people are cheering a ‘revolution’.
      If anyone here seriously thinks the games industry would not completely implode without copyright you are dead wrong.
      This is a victory for direct-to-develoepr sales, indie gaming, and DRM-free gaming. Not the abolition of IP and copyright.

      If the copyright to those games was given up, there is absolutely nothing to prevent Zynga bundlign free copies of world of goo with farmville item purchases. Everyone happy about that?

    • Dawngreeter says:

      This is a victory for direct-to-develoepr sales, indie gaming, and DRM-free gaming. Not the abolition of IP and copyright.

      One leads to the other. Middle men are mostly vestigial at this point, when it comes to digital sales. They are crucial to the industry in the same way dinosaurs are crucial – they’ve been around long enough to become oil. We’re on our way to a post-scarcity global society, and I cheer for every step we make in that direction.

      Or you can, y’know, stay a dinosaur. Either works, really. I’ll visit you in the museum every couple of years and children can point and be amazed at how silly people used to be. There will probably be a holo t-shirt with a caricature saying something like “honest day’s work for a honest day’s pay”.

    • cliffski says:

      so price experiments automatically leads to the abolition of copyright?
      yeah… whatever.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Successful price experiments like this lead to a gift-based economy, actually. It does not necessarily imply abolition of anything, it just helps it along.

    • jalf says:

      For once, I’m with Cliffski. This doesn’t even make sense. This is remarkable for a lot of reasons, but being “anti-copyright” isn’t among them.

      Apart from this, could we clarify our definitions a bit? As far as I can see, “copyleft”, as exemplified by the GPL is not “anti-copyright”. It specifically wishes to retain copyright law, so that IP owners can choose who to give access to their IP and under which terms. They just want different terms than, say, Microsoft.

      Anti-copyright would be the elimination of copyright law, effectively making it free for all.

      That’s a very nice thing in some cases, but I don’t see it as particularly viable for the games industry.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      One: as far as I can tell, the developers are open-sourcing their games out of generosity, not out of any anti-copyright agenda on their part. The worth and validity of copyright law are not even in question; the open source release is the developers giving back a permanent asset (GPL’d code) to the community as a thank-you gift.

      Two: the GPL absolutely builds on and within copyright law, and in that sense is dependent on it. But it would be entirely redundant if there was no copyright law, and it aims to preserve the freedoms relating to software use and development that would naturally exist without copyright law: it is anti-copyright in that sense.

      Three: Cliffski highlights the main point nicely: “This is a victory for direct-to-develoepr sales, indie gaming, and DRM-free gaming. Not the abolition of IP and copyright.”

  31. Eff says:

    I come from one of the poorest countries in Europe, and have almost never paid for games, but I happily gave my 10 dollars for the bundle. I hope we’ll be seeing more of this kind of thing in the future.

  32. BeepBob says:

    Is RPS conveniently ignoring the whole piracy saga around the Humble Indie Bundle because it makes PC gamers look bad for simply being no good rotten thieves, no lame rationalizations can be applied to this scenario and loads of PC gamers decided to pirate the game pack instead.

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/05/humble-bundle-gives-pirates-what-they-want-gets-ripped-off.ars

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Quoting John Walker in a reply further up:

      “That people are pirating it (always going to happen) does not in any way detract from how fantastic it is that over a million dollars has been paid so far. As Gabe says, the point is that the DRM makes no difference. People who choose to pay will choose to pay. Celebrate them.”

    • Thermal Ions says:

      Exactly, the simple fact of what pirates are doing with this bundle completely nullifies their supposed ‘moral’ or ‘justified’ reasons for pirating games. Piracy is a mind set. One that I’m proud to say I’ve changed in myself since I was a kid growing up when I had dodgy 5.25″ Commodore 64 floppy discs coming out of my ears.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Then you must either have a lot more money than an average Internet user or play very few games. Either way, many of us are not you.

    • cliffski says:

      You can buy games on steam for less than the price of Coffee. Plus these games are avilable legit for $0.01. Anyone who preteneds they pirated this due to lack of money is just a crap liar.

    • mrmud says:

      @Cliffski
      Or they are not an adult.
      I pirated games all the time as a kid, because that was the only way I was able to play more than 1-2 games a year. For some people the price of a cup of coffe is more than they can spend on either coffe or a game.

      Nowdays, when I have a job, I wouldnt even dream of game piracy.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Most of the people I know in real life are unable to pay one cent. They have said one cent, they just have no means of paying with it. As far as I know, only two banks in Serbia offer a credit card that is able to facilitate Internet transactions, and both are Visa Virtuon. As in, they require an account exclusively for Internet transactions. I myself had to bug a friend to help me pay for the Bundle, even though I do have a Visa Virtuon of my own, because there was a hitch with my account and it is frozen for two weeks till they fix it. As you can see, even under the best of circumstances it’s not exactly easy to pay from here. For most people it’s a huge inconvenience, especially if they already have their main bank account with a bank that does not offer these services.

      Now there are also children who are not in possession of a credit cards. Or money, for that matter. They are time-rich, money-poor and they want to play games. The children are responsible for an overwhelming majority of pirated copies, as you know. And you can not in all honesty be against this without being an asshole.

      And then there are people who are ashamed to pay one cent. I would be. Had I lacked the money to pay at least five or ten dollars (and that’s not a small amount of money over here), I wouldn’t have payed at all. Fortunately, it’s within my means to part with $25. I would’ve been happier with paying a bit more, but at this point in time that’s the highest price I could reasonably cover. I will note that my salary is well above the national average of 300e per month, just to keep things in perspective.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “Then you must either have a lot more money than an average Internet user or play very few games. Either way, many of us are not you.”

      I can’t seriously believe you think this constitutes an argument.

      I refuse to believe it.

  33. Shadowcat says:

    Congratulations, Humble Indie Bundle people! One million dollars is brilliant. And if the charities helped (I hope the EFF did well), then all the better.

    I was very impressed with the nice interface that allowed you to split the donation between the different recipients however you wanted to. That was an awesome move. I kinda wished that I could have broken down the ‘developer’ pool — I was only buying it for Aquaria, having previously purchased the other games that I wanted, so I would have liked to send all my developer money to Bit Blot specifically — but all in all it’s probably better this way; after all, it would be a shame if some of the developers hadn’t gotten much out of this due to not being as well-known as the others.

    So. Very well done to all those involved, and Warm Fuzzies all around!

    So long as the DRM-free indies keep on rocking, I won’t miss Ubisoft and EA one little bit.

  34. Ysellian says:

    You’re right pc gamers are rotten thieves. I mean what were they thinking making a contribution of $1.000.000!? Of course it’s bad, but why do you have to focus on the negative side of things when everyone could also just have payed $0,01 and end up costing them money?

    No to forget that despite paying $30, I would also fall in the category of pirates because I sent the link to my little brother aswell. (which having thought about it wasn’t the perhaps the smartest thing to do, but it beats having to upload the files myself)

    • oceanclub says:

      “You’re right pc gamers are rotten thieves. I mean what were they thinking making a contribution of $1.000.000!? Of course it’s bad, but why do you have to focus on the negative side of things when everyone could also just have payed $0,01 and end up costing them money? ”

      +1

      Think of it as a experiment in morality. There was absolutely no reason for people to pay other than pure altruism (even in lab tests, the fact that you’re being observed skews the results.). After all, there’s no way to know if you did or not. And yet the vast majority still paid.

      P.

  35. Dawngreeter says:

    I just recalled what this open sourcing reminded me of. Been hacking at my brain since last night…

    The ransom model! Stolze used for his small casual tabletop RPG Meatbot Massacre. If people collectively gather enough money, the thing becomes free to everyone. The open source approach of the Humble Bundle did pretty much the same thing. I wonder if we’ll see more of this.

    It’d be a wonderful thing – a game can earn the developers money from sales for a couple years, and then off to free pastures it goes. Everyone wins.

    (and once more, here’s the link because I’ve had issues with hyperlinks not working properly in comments: http://www.collisiondetection.net/mt/archives/2005/06/the_ransom_mode.php )

  36. manveruppd says:

    I would very much like to see the statistical breakdown too, so I clicked through to their website, but for some reason their /stats/ page doesn’t work in any of the three browsers I tried it in! Do I need some kind of plugin or somethng?

  37. Satellite says:

    Curse you RPS … ! I actually bought World of Goo ages ago, haven’t played it much and wasn’t going to buy the games for the simple reason that I am fairly sure I am not going to play them – only really interested in WoG. I have quite a few AAA games still in my backlog and some I won’t ever finish :\

    I missed/skipped the initial deadline, but now reading here that they reached the 1 Million mark I figured it’s time for me to chip in, even though as I said I likely won’t play them more than a few minutes. I figure $10 is a fair amount with an extra dollar to Child’s Play after I tweaked the distribution slider.

    I might not play the games, but at least some kid can get a toy and a little small contribution to the devs and EFF :)

    *Got some dust in my eyes*

  38. James G says:

    One thing that does surprise me, is that the average charity contribution was 31%, suggesting a substantial shift from the 66% default. I’d be interested to see a histogram of the charity distribution in percentage terms. Before hand I would have expected a shift in the opposite direction, with greater contribution towards charity.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      While the charity angle provides a nice advertising hook, I’d suggest that the skew from default may be attributable to quite a lot of the purchasers / donors recognising the efforts of the developers and wanting to reward them for their work. I was in this boat and figured if they really felt individually that they got too much compared to the charities then they could divert some additional money themselves. I rarely cross my charities budget with my gaming budget.

    • LintMan says:

      “One thing that does surprise me, is that the average charity contribution was 31%, suggesting a substantial shift from the 66% default.”

      Are you saying the default was for 66% to go to charity? As far as I had understood, the money by default was to be split equally between each dev and charity. So with 2 charities and 5 devs, 2/7 of the money (28%) would go to charity be default. The actual figure of 31% to charity then implies a very slight shift away from the devs, on the whole.

  39. Magic H8 Ball says:

    John Walker said:
    As for your “DRM free” comment. It’s “nonsense” to say they’re DRM free because none of them have DRM? That’s one of the weirder arguments I’ve heard.

    I assumed you meant that the DRM was there but somehow removed for the bundle.

    $100k would be a laughable amount for a major title to make in a year. $100k for a one or two man team made in a week, for a game that came out two years ago? That’s pretty bloody incredible. Imagine if you’re 2D Boy, two people who made a game, and in the last week you became $50k richer. You’d call that “a complete failure”?

    I am operating under the impression that you’re presenting this as an acceptable business model. If it’s just “Yay! Charity!” well then… yay charity?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      h8: What John is saying is that it’s a highly workable business model if you’re a 2 person indie developer.

      KG

    • Lambchops says:

      Yup. After a title has been out for a while for a big dev and the sales have tailed I’d imagine they’d still be raking in a reasonable amount of money. For an indie dev it’s only going to be the odd ten quid here and there; so something like this actually seems quite savvy as it immediately generates a lot of interest. One of the few alternatives to this sort of charity offer is sticking it on Steam for a weekend deal to generate interest.

      If they’ve managed to generate more money by this type of offer than putting a weekend deal on Steam then it’s good business as they’re squeezing out as much money out of as they can. That’s not to say there aren’t other alternatives that could earn them more money (i’m not a businessman so it’s not my job to think of these things!) in which case this would be bad business; but would still leave the nice warm glow of charitable donation.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      It’s an acceptable business model in my book because of reasons others have stated PLUS while the charity angle is being used as an obvious advertising hook it’s transparent in that people can opt to donate all to charity, unlike the general commercial charity linkages where they “pay 5 cents of every dollar spent” – which is as much an abuse of the charities as a genuine desire to assist.

    • Tei says:

      There are things that bussines do for marketing, that cost money.
      This humble pack is very powerfull as marketing, and has cost the authors not money, made then about 100K$~200K$.

      The way I understand a “bussines model” this is not. Since this is not repeteable. Is more a oportunity shot, than something you can force.
      These games, WoG, Aquaria,… are SuperStars on the Indie world. Repeating something like this humble pack in the future will be hard, or will get a result not this good.

  40. dingo says:

    Here is my experience with the deal:

    I had all games but “Lugaru” already. I mainly wanted a DM free version of Aquaria that is sold for $17 on the dev’s website (my copy was Steam bound).
    I also wanted to take a stance against Ubi etc. and show support for the indies as I do a lot these days to put some counterweight against intrusive DRM.

    As a Windows user I was really confused by the “pay anything you want”.
    I’m so used to either pay an asked price or download it (legally) for free.
    I think that was the main issue for most Windows people so they dropped around $10.
    I knew Aquaria alone would have set me back $17 but tbh I wouldn’t have bought it for this price (50% off yeah since I alread had it on Steam). So how to value the rest of the devs + give something to charity.
    Money is not really a problem for me but I want to pay a fair price to not encourage indies getting lazy nor getting demotivated by me being a cheapsake.
    I saw the amount of $29.95 US in the trailer so I though they would be ok with that amount and donated $30.
    Finally when I had to decide how to split between devs and charity I again used the default setting (50/50) since I was unsure again.
    Why?
    I’m not used to giving that much to charity here since the social net in Germany is pretty tight + financed in part by my taxes which are way higher than in the US / other countries.
    That’s why the idea of charity is more valuable in the US where this net is not as tight / not existing.

    I hope the guys that organized this Bundle were aware of this / can learn from that for future deals.

  41. Okami says:

    The Proprietary Cult of Jobs

    *snicker*

  42. TotalBiscuit says:

    Nice job costing the developers and possibly charity’s money in transaction fees. Your mother must be so proud.

  43. Carra says:

    I bought it yesterday for $5. Already had Penumbra, Samorost 2, Aquaria and world of goo.

  44. RakeShark says:

    I gave $30, half going to the charities. I already had World of Goo from 2DBoy’s own preorder dealie. I think it’ll help with some of the guilt I felt by physically sharing World of Goo with my friends telling them what a beautiful gem of a game it was. I suppose I can only hope some of them bought the game on their own after I did my damnedest to sell ‘em on it.

  45. the wiseass says:

    “The more people experience software freedom, the more they seem to pay.”

    I never, EVER, would have thought that somebody would put “software freedom” in relation to Steve Jobs. Apple products do not need to implement DRM, because they essentially ARE DRM! Mr. Walker, get your facts straight please.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Sir beholden of a behind that ranks above the average rectum IQ, may I be so bold as to point out that said reference was, in fact, referring to Linux users. Apple users were deemed members of the “Proprietary Cult of Jobs”.

    • the wiseass says:

      You may. But then the final conclusion does not work as intended, you know, the one that I quoted.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      It still might, though. If it is true that the more people experience software freedom, the more they seem to pay, it does not necessarily follow that the more people pay, the more they experience software freedom. Nor that it is necessary to experience an increase in software freedom in order to increase payments.

      I like this argument.

    • the wiseass says:

      That may be very true, or it may not be, but that was not the point of my criticism. I just wanted to point out that the Humble Indie Bundle numbers are not conclusive concerning this matter an give no clear evidence for a correlation between generosity and software freedom.

  46. Radiant says:

    If AAA games cost me £10 I’d buy a hell of a lot more then I do and I’d take more chances then I do with the games that I buy.

  47. Magic H8 Ball says:

    @K.G.: Again, getting 1.8 dollar for a game you normally sell for 5 dollars is not a good business. You might argue the games were out two years ago, but people don’t buy them again cheaper; they only sell to those who don’t have them yet. So I would argue if same level of advertisement was achieved with fixed 5 dollar price, they’d earn over twice as much.

    Thermal Ions said:
    Exactly, the simple fact of what pirates are doing with this bundle completely nullifies their supposed ‘moral’ or ‘justified’ reasons for pirating games.

    Oh, there is still one left. The best one in fact.

    “I did not play any of these games before and I don’t know how good they are”.

    • AndrewC says:

      100′s of years of ‘sales’ culture in retail tells us otherwise. Figures released from Steam sales, indicating increases in revenue of 100′s of percent when the price is reduced, provide recent evidence.

      I have no idea what you are even trying to say with the piracy thing.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      h8: To lean towards hyperbole, your position is a little like “If only chickens could be made to lay golden eggs instead of normal ones, then you’d make a lot more money. Selling eggs is ludicrous”. They simply wouldn’t ever be able to get the same level of publicity if they had a set price and the audience they reached wouldn’t ever necessarily have bought at five dollars. And I’ll say that was especially true of some of the smaller games in the pack – they weren’t all World of Goo runaways. This has levered a relatively large cash-flow to them, very quickly. As such, it’s interesting.

      Remember in the early days of Braid ? An enormous success, everyone thought, but Blow was arguing that he was still not in profit because he hadn’t made $200K yet – which is basically how much he’d have earned in the years he spent making the game if he did proper work. 100K just landing in your lap in a week for old games is an enormous deal for indie developers.

      KG

    • Lilliput King says:

      @KG: It’s more like “I have a goose that lays a practically infinite number of eggs. The only factor limiting how many eggs can be sold is the number of people willing to buy eggs. I have decided the eggs are worth $5, therefore selling them for less will lose me money, regardless of the number of purchasers!”

      It has to be emphasised that software is a different kettle of fish to retail. As the product has almost no fees incurred by replication, all that’s important is the money you get at the end. The number of individual copies sold has pretty much no bearing on the situation.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “Blow was arguing that he was still not in profit because he hadn’t made $200K yet – which is basically how much he’d have earned in the years he spent making the game if he did proper work.”

      Now that is a bogus argument. That’s his ’opportunity cost’ for choosing to give up his previous job, which is hypothetical, and has no relation to the actual costs of developing Braid.

      This “what we would have got” nonsense is akin to the fallacious arguments used by the game publishers to highlight how much they’ve supposedly ‘lost’ due to piracy.

    • RQH says:

      @VelvetFirstIronGlove

      I hope Kieron will pardon my attempting to clarify his statement (and correct me if I’m wrong), but I don’t think is point there (or Blow’s, though I don’t remember the context exactly) was “look at how much money indie devs are losing to piracy; if it weren’t for piracy indie devs would be successful,” but “look at the relatively low bar for profit – even including opportunity cost – that indie developers have, and consider in this light whether $100k+ isn’t a fantastic amount of money to have made in a week’s time for years-old games.” Because that’s what we’re discussing here, right? Whether we can consider the Humble Indie Bundle a successful gamble for the developers involved?

      Piracy is unfortunate, but piracy is really only tangential to this. Let’s assume that like the poor, the pirates will always be with us (and that oftentimes there is an overlap between the two). There were plenty of people, like me, who weren’t buying these games (always intended to get Aquaria, for example, and always found a way of putting it off.) Ethical issues aside (again those are tangential to whether this bundle was successful), the devs were getting just as much “no money” from me as they were from pirates before this bundle. Now they have some money from me.

      Basically, I wonder which is better: selling ~120,000 copies of the bundle at an average of $10 per sale, or setting the price at $10 and selling… well how many people gave less than the average? subtract them from from the total sales, and also subtract the extra money from people who gave more, writing them in at $10 apiece. Sure, there may be *some* people who paid less than $10 just because they could, who would have paid $10 if that was the set price, but I think it’s safe to assume they’d be extremely rare (someone who wants something for less is always going to want it for less; they aren’t going to pay more simply because you demand it.) Similarly, there may be *some* who still choose to donate more than the asking price, but I suspect most of the shows of generosity are shows of support for the concept of the bundle as much as or more than for the games themselves. That bit of math, in addition to the added publicity that comes from such a bundle, as Kieron has pointed out.

  48. Curvespace says:

    Re: contributions from different platforms (sorry if this has already been mentioned, but I’m supposed to be working and don’t have time to read all the comments).

    Unless the demographics of the individuals buying the games are known and stated then you can’t extrapolate any sensible conclusion. For example, perhaps the windows users are younger, more likely to still be at school and not working. The Mac users are older, professional, blah blah blah. Linux users possibly spent the money that people otherwise would have spent on dates with girls.

    /\ JOKE /\
    (I use Linux at work…and I’ve erm………….ok, there may be a grain of truth in that statement.) ;)

    The example above is trite but at least illustrates that presumptions over the contributed amount cannot be linked to ideologies without a considerably higher number of statistics to play around with.

  49. Lukasz says:

    just spent 20 bucks.

    officially broke right now.

  50. rocketman71 says:

    Yeah, if you’re Spanish you’re feeling really ill today. And the day is just starting.

    Thanks to the Humble Bundle guys.

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