Humble Indie Bundle Makes Bundle

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.

142 Comments

  1. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I don’t mind giving to charity.. but when you can get something I don’t want (mainly because I already have the games from the list I want) it becomes different. I’d rather just give money.

    When I buy a game I’m not considering charity and vice versa (unless, perhaps if I would opt to go for one of two (or more) games both of whom I want to play and one of which donates some to charity).

    Still, fantastic initiative.

  2. UsF says:

    Maybe the average is dragged down a bit by
    1. buying the game for nothing and testing it
    2. purchasing it again for real cash, if you like it
    Some pirates work that way, especially if there is no demo for a certain game.

    Anyway I am curious about the top donor list. Those sums seem a bit….weired.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    Enh. Already own WoG, and it’s not on the open-sourcing list (although being the last man standing on that might be pressure for them to change that—hell, they opened up their very base “get a window up and some sprite routines so you can get on with prototyping” tech long ago), and to be honest every other game there is badly lacklustre IMO.

    Although, it’s still good that this is a thing which is happening.

  4. malkav11 says:

    I don’t know if these games have been available for Mac or Linux previously, but even if they have, Steam wasn’t and thus the deals in which I got several of these games previously would not have been either. I think it’s entirely possible that Windows users just have more of these games on average. I’ve got 5 of the 6, so I didn’t feel the need to get the bundle at all.

  5. cheal says:

    F*ck you CAPTCHA! Lost a very lengthy post on piracy :(

  6. dingo says:

    Since this happened twice to me I always put the text in the clipboard before entering the captcha. :p

  7. MajorManiac says:

    Truly a ‘ray of light’ during a dark (DRM) time for PC gaming…

  8. FunkyLlama says:

    What’s so great about this? Those games were always available to get for free or to be paid for at will. If anything the pathetic average price paid just shows how decidedly not-amazing people are.

    • subedii says:

      Um, the games were offered for essentially free and people instead decided to pay, and in droves. Even divided between the SIX of them AND Child’s Play AND the EFF, the developers of those titles have managed to make far more money in the space of this one week than they ever could have hoped for in months of sales, if not years. To me it’s still incredible that people were offered the games for zero and they still paid in droves. It’s a measure that paid off.

      That’s what’s so great about this. The indie devs made a tonne of cash by being smart about how they marketed their products, and the market responded. It’s an illustration that lack of DRM doesn’t destroy sales, and that clever hype building can pay some impressive dividends. These guys didn’t PAY for marketing, everyone heard about it through word of mouth. Twitter, blogs, then games websites all picked up on it.

      I’d call that an all round win.

  9. Frosty says:

    This makes me happy, not due to anti-DRM sentiments. The fact that small time indie developers could make $100,000 just by adopting a different business model is a really pleasing thing. It’s always nice to see innovation working out, isn’t it?

  10. Dworgi says:

    I stand corrected. Thank you.

  11. Dworgi says:

    @RQH: I think you hit the nail on the head. The “oh but they only received $2 per copy instead of $5” argument is a mindset carried over from manufacturing industries where there is a definite cost related with each extra copy, and below that cost (and required profit to cover opportunity cost), it’s not worth producing any extra units of said product. That doesn’t apply to anything digital at all. It’s an outdated and irrelevant notion.

    What very few people seem to be understanding is that the Digital Economy is not about making people pay – it can’t be because there’s too many ways to bypass the legal avenues and get it for free. No, what the digital economy is about is convincing people that they should pay. The assumption has to be that the product is out there and available for free – the only question is whether you will receive any money for it.

    Any arguments to the contrary are either ignoring the profound effect of copying (NOT stealing) software – where distribution is effectively free. Any money that you earn from a product is a result of someone consciously deciding to pay to support you and ensure a continued supply of similar products.

    Indie games especially are about supporting the creators, not paying for the products – the products already exist and need no further input from the creators. The creators, however, will cease to produce more product unless they receive money. How does this not make sense?

  12. Dworgi says:

    The product’s always been on offer for free. That’s the natural mode of operation of the Internet. There is nothing on the Internet that is not (or will not be shortly) free. There is no change there. Individual copies are irrelevant because there is no cost involved with copying it.

    No, what happened here was that people were given the freedom to pay an amount they were comfortable with for something they enjoyed to support the creation of more such things, and they were given a chance to feel good about it as well. That’s a great deal and is far more in line with the realities of the Internet than anything the big players are doing, or will ever do.

  13. FunkyLlama says:

    @subedii
    People pay for things that they can get for free (ie piracy) in their droves all the time. This was just another instance of that. As for them making lots of money off it – shock as massive price drops spark more sales. *shrug*

  14. Kefren says:

    Despite already having Penumbra and World of Goo this package is so good, and everything is so user-friendly (no DRM, download again whenever you want, bonuses) I couldn’t resist. I paid £34.52 because, which was c. $45 I think, and well worth it to support somethign so good. Money which I’m sure I have saved by not being able to buy any of the recent games I wanted (all but three had online-activation which I refuse to buy). So instead of crappy DRM I have this bundle, Fuel, Necrovision and Cryostasis to look forward to. I’m excited!

  15. subedii says:

    It wasn’t a price drop. People were told to pay what they wanted. Most paid less, and some ended up paying more. The critical thing wasn’t the pricing, it was the sheer hype it generated across the net, and because of that it resulted in far more sales and far more raw profit than they could have ever hoped for. That’s good marketing on their part, and it was achieved with no paid advertising to boot.

    You said specifically that there wasn’t anything great about this. The fact that they each made more money in a week than they could have ordinarily expected in even a year or two is something I would say runs contrary to that.

  16. Kevbo says:

    Great news and more Aquaria mods would just be delicious :)
    Congrats to everyone who supported and most of all to the devs!!

  17. Kefren says:

    Thsi pack is great, I’ve promoted it (and indie games in general) at the end of my blog post about downloading games at link to crapcustserv.blogspot.com

  18. Kefren says:

    This pack is great, I’ve promoted it (and indie games in general) at the end of my blog post about downloading games at link to crapcustserv.blogspot.com