DRM Released With Bundle In A Box!

Sorry, sorry everyone. Just my gently trolling in the headline there, because the DRM I refer to is Rob Fearon’s Death Ray Manta. Bundle In a Box is, in fact, DRM-free. It’s a fresh bundle with a minimum price of $0.99. It also includes Armalyte, Dark Scavenger, Space Giraffe and The Wreckless. Then there are four more games for beating the average price, and a whole host of unlockable extras, which are detailed on the site. Go take a look.


  1. flang says:

    I’m curious as to what the devs participating in these smaller-visibility bundles think about the idea. A lot of them, like the Green Light Bundle (link to thegreenlightbundle.com), are only selling miniscule numbers of copies at god-knows-how-low an average price. Are these devs grateful for any exposure they can get? Or are they regretting the decision?

    • RobF says:

      I dunno if I’m the best person to ask because the last thing I need most of the time is exposure but no, don’t regret it at all and I knew precisely what I was getting myself into with BIAB from the off.

      There’s like two critical problems with any Bundle that isn’t Hundle. If it hasn’t got Steam keys, you miss the hoarders who hoard the Steam games. (Indie Royale has already set itself up as an alt. hoarding bundle but for Desura so same principle but to a much lesser degree) and of course, if you’re not Hundle, you’re not going to get the super big indies because the other bundles just don’t pay the rent. And without them, you don’t do super big numbers.

      I suspect that these are rather inescapable things now and now the novelty has worn off, it’s more of a trickle than a waterfall for anyone not a part of the big 2 unless lightning strikes.

      So, I know that. Can’t speak for anyone else, obviously, but when I went into BIAB (and more to the point writing something *especially* for BIAB) I did so knowing the landscape, knowing how much the last bundle sold and not knowing whether it’d be able to even reproduce that because things have changed since May when the last one ran. At least two of the other bundlers are driving things into the ground and I’d bet that without Steam keys to make that number bigger, they’d likely die off fairly fast and become redundant. They’re already clearly barrel scraping anyway.

      The value I get from BIAB is sorta tangential. I get to throw a game out there and try a new way of keeping purchases affordable, I get to support the dev grant which is something I believe is genuinely useful given it’s entirely no strings attached money to one smaller dev and I get to work with someone who I know is a genuinely good person who gives a shit and wants to make a difference.

      I appreciate this isn’t a universal thing and others may be mightily disappointed with the results but for me, things are playing out fairly as expected and I know that at the end of the fortnight, no matter what, someone walks away with a few hundred quid to help them make the game they want to make right now or get to have some teabags for the week. That’s enough for me.

      And obviously, I made a game that I’m super proud of also and that’ll have legs beyond the bundle no matter what may come. Could I have made more money launching separately? Maybe. Probably. Dunno. Maybe not! To be honest, I don’t really care either. Late nights and general making game stresses aside, it’s been a pleasure and a bit of a laugh so far.

      I’m not in the bundle for the riches, I’m certainly not in it for the fame, I get quite enough attention as it is.

      I’ve managed to get people to say they love DRM, screw the rest. That’s worth its weight in gold.

      • flang says:

        Thank you for the extensive feedback. I hope the results of Death Ray Manta end up meeting your expectations when all is said and done.

        Speaking personally, the novelty of pay-what-you-want bundles to me will never wear off, as long as they remain DRM-free. I would definitely qualify as one of the Steam “hoarders” you made mention of, but having a Steam copy does not dilute my desire for a separate DRM-free version at all, particularly since the most recent legal updates to the Steam service. And since the bundles are such good deals, getting second copies is a no-brainer.

        Actually, I’m sort of confused as to why even these smaller non-Steam bundles aren’t doing a lot better than they are. Even considering RPS’s readership by itself, there are several hundred thousand people who are aware of BIAB’s existence. With the minimum price at $1 and no DRM, I would think that damn near everyone who knew about it would take the deal.

        I suspect the reason they don’t is something like the guilt they would feel over paying too little for the package. I think I would feel pretty lousy if I acquired so many games without feeling that I had properly compensated the developers, so I would rather just skip the bundle entirely then pay the bare minimum. But if that is a widespread motivation for those that take a pass, it would actually end up hurting the developers more than if everyone who knew about the bundle went and paid $1 for it.

        • KillahMate says:

          Speaking as someone who is well aware of this bundle and isn’t planning on getting it:

          I’m just not interested. Apologies to RobF, but the Minter-esque shooter subgenre simply isn’t my thing. I don’t buy games just to have them, even if they’re very cheap, I buy games that I know I will want to play. If I were to buy this bundle, I can say with a high degree of certainty that I’d never download or try any of them. So why buy it then?

          I’m sure there are many other RPS readers who also don’t care for this particular kind of game, and see no reason to get this particular bundle.

          • RobF says:

            No apology needed.

            I think there’s also a problem in informing people on the fence why they might want to play games in the bundle. There’s a webpage, it’s a thing on the net. There’s somewhere where you pay money into but unless you’re already fully aware of who I am or who Jeff is, there’s nothing to suggest why you might want to take a look. Or like with Dark Scavenger, it’s this crazy batshit thing that’s well worth looking at and you’re not going to know that from a 100×100 icon really.

            A bit of selling and bigging up wouldn’t go amiss, I don’t think.

    • tobecooper says:

      Why would they regret the decision? How else are they gonna get the exposure? And how is 2000 miniscule? Are you comparing in to HiB? Or do you believe they normally sell tens of thousands of their games at the default price in a couple of weeks? Bundles offer a quick stream of cash and put the games into the hands of people who might in different circumstances not touch them at all. The only regret I can think they may have is ‘I should’ve gone to the Royale guys,’ because they constantly sell the 14k at a 4$-5$ minimum. But most probably the queue to that is long and the green light guys needed the exposure right now, because Greenlight just started.

      • flang says:

        Well, the most relevant concern some of these guys might have is that they’re selling very low-priced copies of their games to people who would’ve gladly paid more for them.

        For example, RobF’s DRM has a page up on Greenlight. I’m sure it’s got at least a couple of thousand Steam users who’ve come across it and thought “yeah, I’d buy this on Steam” for 5 or 10 bucks or whatever it would go on sale for. Plus there are at least a couple of hundred folks who are really looking forward to it and added it to their favorites.

        Particularly for that latter group, they almost certainly caught wind of the BIAB and immediately went over to purchase it. And once everything’s divided up among the other devs, the amount RobF gets for each copy sold to those eager DRM fans is much less than they would’ve paid if/when it comes out on Steam.

        That’s just a thought I had about this anyway. I hope that’s not the case and that the positive word-of-mouth outweighs any loss in potential revenue, because I hope all of these consumer-friendly bundles do well enough that they can continue.

        • tobecooper says:

          Ah, that I agree with. Debuting a game in a bundle can be certainly more problematic. I wouldn’t worry about Steam, because there are enough users, to still make it work, but those who waited and wanted to pay properly for a drm-free version might be some lost money.

          Though, I believe it will work out in the end.

          I, for one, am not really interest in any game in this bundle (I already have Dark Scavenger), but will later drop some money unto them, because I like the guys behind it.

        • RobF says:

          Yeah, totally, these are things everyone who’s not me (and ergo not a mental) should look out for. I knew what I was doing when I set the greenlight page up and I knew full well I’d be funnelling people into the bundle who would have paid me more and potentially cannibalising sales.

          As I say, it’s not a worry for me given what my intentions are with the game and why I’m in the bundle but yeah, entirely something anyone entering into a bundle should consider before signing on the dotted line. It is a potential problem. Outside of the big 2, there *isn’t* a mass of money there to be taken. The more they pack in the bundles, the thinner the spread.

          Bundle are ace tools to have in your arsenal and they’re, when not being used as a dumping ground for shit like some I won’t mention, can be great things even if they don’t pull the money in. New eyeballs, longer tail, all sorts of potential *still* even with how things are now. You’ve just got to be a bit smarter and sometimes being a bit smarter involves knowing that the money rabbit has left the bundle hat in certain cases but they still have their place.

          Also, yeah, totally, there’s always more people who haven’t seen your game and that’s dead easy to forget.

  2. Emeraude says:

    I just want to say that joke was evil.

    I cried inside for a second.

    Now I’ll go get some cookies.

  3. Malibu Stacey says:

    FWIW DRM is up on Steam’s Greenlight link to steamcommunity.com

  4. trjp says:

    I feel I need to highlight 2 comments from the Greenlight Page as they sum-up the difference between people who like Rob’s games and “the drones” as we’ll start calling everyone else

    I want to like this more. It looks nice, but that is one of the absolute worst trailers I’ve ever seen. That and having “Hail Satan!” appear regularly seem like surefire way to keep people from buying the game.

    I for one am head-over-heels in love with Satan and all his little wizards, so I’ll happily buy anything that praises my Infernal Master.
    It doesn’t hurt that it looks flat out fucking awesome either. mm/

    The latter is something I’d want printed on the box, myself…

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I’m assuming “Hail Satan!” is a South Park reference -> link to en.wikipedia.org

      Also there have always been and always will be people who harp on about graphics in games. Even in the 16-bit and 8-bit eras people would go on about the games with the best graphics while those of us who played games for the fun of them were more interested in those with some actual gameplay.

    • phlebas says:

      The ‘Hail Satan’ thing (South Park reference or no) is a big turnoff for me.
      But apart from that the game’s pretty wonderful, flashing lights and zooming for powerups and Hammer Horror level names and all.

  5. cloudnein says:

    Hints of an iOS and Android release contained in the Mac version. (Yay Mac version!)

    game.ios file plus an [Android] and [iOS] section in options.ini

    but dual-stick controls plz?

    Also nosing around you find the_drm_anthem.mp3 and the_drm_final.mp3, so if you don’t want to pay for the track…

  6. cloudnein says:

    Oh and hint of Apple App Store release also in said options.ini. Placeholders, all? Or a message from the future?!?!

    • RobF says:

      There won’t be dual stick controls, soz. It simply falls apart when you have them, it’s not designed for them so I’d have to write a different game to make them work. It’s all hinged around going head first into things. I have tried bodging them in also but it’s not that game.

      iOS/Android stuff a good possibility but not until next year. I need to get more familiar with doing Mac builds before I even attempt reconfiguring stuff for touch. I’ve made a few mistakes on this one and need to push another version up the pipe but I’m learning! And yes, Mac App Store version will be forthcoming sometime after the contract is up as will versions of all my previous stuff once I’ve got comfortable with what I’m doing.

  7. simoroth says:

    If anyone has bought or is planning be buy the bundle. Be sure to vote on the indie dev grant. Maia is in there and could really do with the grant for development!