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Humble Grumbles / Bundle Of Joy

Reusing this picture means I don't have to type in all the names of the HB4 games again. I SO CLEVER.

Good news and less good news from the Humble Bundle camp today. The happier end of the bargain is that purchasers of the current Humble Bundle 4 now get the base contents of Humble Bundle 3 (i.e. VVVVVV, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Cogs, And Yet It Moves, and Hammerfight) added to their pack. That’s if they’ve bought HB4 already. If they haven’t, they’ll have to beat the average price to get the bonus goodies. The average price is currently $5.17 million.

Sorry, sorry, I meant $5.17. Bit of a blind spot for numbers, me. So yeah, $5.17 (or more) and you get 12 games plus their soundtracks. Not bad, that.

On the other side of the coin, the Humble chaps have decided that you need to spend a minimum of $1 if you want to also receive Steam keys with your Bundle purchase (though you’ll obviously still receive the games themselves if you spend less). Reason being that canny rotters have apparently been buying multiple copies of the bundle for 1c in order to add the games to multiple Steam accounts in the hope of winning stuff Valve’s current lottery.

“This is unfair to legitimate entrants and is definitely not what we wanted to encourage with Humble Indie Bundle 4. It’s a lose-lose situation for the indie developers, charities, Valve, and Humble Bundle,” say they. Which is absolutely fair enough, I think. Not least because this is an incredible package of games which deserves a respectable payment, not a piddling penny. Doesn’t surprise me that people were gaming the system though; I suspect there’ll be a constant cold war around that kind of thing as bundles increasingly grow in number and frequency.

Right, hopefully we’re all bundled out for 2011 now – but I do look forward to seeing what the new year brings, both in terms of the cool games in these packs and how the business models evolve as there’s increasingly competition. Here’s my tip: give away free kittens with every purchase. Whoever does that first is going to clean up. I’ll take fifty-three. No, wait, fifty-four: I think there’s still room to squeeze one more cat into the bottom of the airing cupboard.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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