Picking Up Steam: Humble Launches Full Storefront

Well, this all feels a bit inevitable, doesn’t it? After oodles, kaboodles, and toaster strudels of bundles – not to mention “store” functionality utilized by many indie developers – Humble Bundle has finally launched a full-blown storefront, ala Steam or GOG. It’s not pay-what-you want, but ten percent of every sale goes straight to charity. Also, excellent deals are the order of the day, with the likes of Don’t Starve, Gunpoint, Natural Selection II, Prison Architect, Euro Truck Sim 2, and more undergoing ritualistic price tag severings in celebration.

Here’s what sets the new store apart from its allies/competitors:

“The Humble Store starts with a selection of our favorite games with new titles arriving daily. Ten percent of Humble Store proceeds go to select charities including the American Red Cross, Child’s Play, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”

“The Humble Store is a permanent addition to the website that will have many more games than could ever fit in a Humble Bundle. That means more opportunities for Humble customers to find great games at great prices while supporting charity.”

The Humble Store’s first round of games is made up of Don’t Starve, Prison Architect, Rogue Legacy, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Natural Selection II, The Swapper, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, Orcs Must Die! 2, and Gunpoint – all of which are on sale.

So yes, there’s now yet another mom ‘n’ pop (at least, compared to Steam) game shop on the virtual block. It’ll be interesting to see if Humble starts to edge away from being buddy-buddy with all the other stores in the game, but I highly doubt that’ll happen. Odds are, Humble will just have even more to offer (just in a fixed fashion on top of regular bundles), and things will continue as they always have. For now, though, there’s no telling. But there are fantastic games to be purchased. You should probably go do that.


  1. Viroso says:

    Natural Selection 2 is at an awesome price.

    • Stochastic says:

      Do check this game out. It’s far from perfect and definitely not for everyone, but the game is in massively better state now than it was at launch and is quite fun if you have the right attitude. I will say that you’ll want a pretty hefty CPU (3 GHz+, ideally Sandy Bridge or later Intel CPU) to get a decent framerate.

      • Apocalypse says:

        I am on a phenom 2 x4 955be most of the time, that is still working out fine with min-frames about 35 in the endgame and decent frame-rates.

        So FX8350s, any i7 and most likely any i5 should be more than enough CPU power to handle the game even on its highest settings.

    • spectone says:

      Must resist buying must resist.

  2. LTK says:

    Is this actually a full-blown storefront, or is it just going to remain a limited collection of titles that are on sale for a limited time?

    There is actually a way to browse every game that is being sold through Humble widgets on link to calvein.github.io. I clicked on this article expecting Humble to have added this functionality to their own site, but they’re not there yet.

  3. huldu says:

    If you buy a game like ets2 on that site, can you activate it on steam for achievements and what not or won’t that work?

    • LTK says:

      You can click on the games and get a description, including whether it gives a steam key.

    • bills6693 says:

      There is a little steam icon showing if you will get a steam key (in the same place it shows what platforms its on). Additionally it will say in the description.
      Normally, yes, but in a few cases no.

      • bruibrui1 says:

        It’s not completely clear what the Steam icon means.

        Optional Steam key?
        Steam required for the game to work?

        I would have bought a game in the store, but I fear it might not work without Steam. Especially since some games have a tiny “DRM-free” icon, and the game I wanted does not. But they NOWHERE explicitly say that it DOES have DRM either. Really confusing (and possibly not even legal in some legislations, e.g., EU).

        • biggergun says:

          I’d imagine it’s like all the direct dev sales that went through the Humble store when it was actually a key sender – you get a steam key and a direct link to a drm-free version.

        • LTK says:

          Of course, I should have noticed that some of those are Steam exclusives. I was way too optimistic to think that they were all going to be DRM-free. That is definitely something they should make more clear.

        • The Random One says:

          It would appear that the Steam symbol along with the DRM-free symbol means an optional Steam key, while the Steam symbol on its own means Steam-only. But it might be some other DRM (like what Puppygames use on their games) and the game’s page doesn’t seem to clarify it (or at least my test case, Euro Truck Simulator Mega Highway Vrooom 2014, didn’t).

          I appreciate that unlike Steam they’re very up and front about what games are DRM-free, though I still prefer GoG’s approach on the matter of course.

  4. bills6693 says:

    I am curious to see if things get colder between Humble & the other stores. In one way, it is a possibility, as the bundles were not really in direct competition and were more about bundling together games that had already been out for a while (usually) and were not getting many sales anyway.

    However this could be seen as direct competition, especially if they start adding brand new releases.

    Still, I think steam gets a small cut every time you redeem a key for one of their games that you bought elsewhere, although this could be totally wrong. I read it somewhere and it would make sense (they’re not just a free download and service platform, you would expect. And with the minimum bundle price to get steam keys possibly linked to this as well as the stated reason). So ultimately they could still be making a little money off this. Still, less than if they sold it themselves… so it will be interesting to see what happens, if anything.

    • LTK says:

      The reason there’s a $1 minimum for Steam keys is because people were buying bundles en masse for one cent and then went on to resell the Steam keys separately. This caused Humble to actually lose a lot of money on these sales because of transaction fees.

      I don’t know for sure but I’ve heard that developers can just ask Steam for batches of keys to sell through their own storefront, through Humble, or to give away, without any extra cost. Steam already benefits from the sales cut they take when someone buys the game through Steam, which is the majority of people. The amount of money they’re losing by giving away steam keys to indie developers is utterly insignificant.

      • Yglorba says:

        Also, I think that Steam views those free keys they give to devs as a bit of a loss-leader — the idea is that if someone buys a bunch of bundles and starts to see Steam itself as their main game platform, that gives Steam an intrinsic value to them that will make it easier to sell them things through Steam in the future.

        It’s not like the keys cost Steam very much (bandwidth is cheap nowadays.)

        • biggergun says:

          To further illustrate your point – I can buy straight from the devs and still get my steam key, but for a GOG key I have to rebuy. As a direct consequence I stay on Steam despite liking GOG a lot more.

          • The Random One says:

            I’d prefer to get them on GoG as well, but I’m used to using my Humble page. I think I’ve activated Steam keys for less than half the games I actually play that I’ve bought on Humble.

    • Greggh says:

      The developers and other distributors actually get SEVERAL Steam keys (licenses), as part of games being on Steam, to peruse as they will (i.e. selling in a bundle after a while).

      But don’t tell anyone I said that ;) I might be completely wrong

    • welverin says:

      I read an interview with Gabe a while back where he explicitly stated they do not get any money when keys are given out elsewhere and only when games are bought directly through steam and if you see the number of people who comment on liking to have all of their games in one place, you’ll understand how that benefits valve.

  5. Tei says:

    The fun thing is.. some people is going to buy his Steam games from here. Amusing. I think Gabe talked about other people using Steam as a service to sell games. Is this the future?

    • MichaelPalin says:

      Gabe has said in a talk that they are planning on creating a storefront widget to put it in any website, but not that the money of each sale would go to that website. I’m sure that they will partner with sites that get the most sales and give them a cut if they keep the sales high or something like that. The most terrifying part is that the example Gabe used was that of a game critic (Yahtzee’s Zero Punctiation). Since then, every time I see a link to a store in a game review I just cannot take look at it with the same eyes.

      Valve is full of people with an incredible intelligence for business and it is terrifying when you look at many of the things that they say and do from that point of view.

  6. NYMinuteMan says:

    I wonder if they’ll add the option to buy the special editions of games, e.g. Gunpoint & Don’t Starve. Otherwise it’ll be pointless to check the storefront for anything other than links to the proper (embedded) Humble Store pages with the respective options.

  7. almostDead says:

    Do you developers out there ever get used to seeing your hard work sold for next to nothing? So soon after those first day or week’s sales. Do I see it incorrectly?

    What a race to the bottom we all have been trained to accept now. Like disposable clothing from primark. People want the best but will not pay for it.

    Is it really worthwhile being in a bundle?

    • biggergun says:

      If I remember correctly, Gabe said that sales actually increase total revenue (a lot). Which makes sense – making a copy is virtually free, so they beneft more from larger volume than they would have from bigger margin.

    • Greggh says:

      Ignorance is bliss. Get educated in the market aspects of the video games industry, son…

      Here’s a down-to-earth example of indie perseverance:
      link to hitboxteam.com

      (after you read it in its entirety) Do you realize how BIG that kind of thing is to an indie developer in terms of sales and revenue? That is one particular case, of course, and results may vary(tm) but I doubt it’s an exception.

      • Llewyn says:

        Ignorance is bliss. Get educated in the market aspects of the video games industry, son…

        Is that what you think passes for adult social interaction?

      • Vinraith says:

        As an article by Jeff Vogel from the Sunday papers rightly pointed out, this kind of thing is going to get worse and worse as the market is more and more flooded with cheap indie games.

      • almostDead says:

        Well before I read that article and get educated, I asked a question. I knew that that is too much temerity to not get my head bitten off.

        My immediate thought was that there is a big difference between your initial day one price and a fraction of a humble bundle’s average price. Is that worth it? I suppose that the article in question goes some way to address that.

        • Mercykiller101 says:

          It’s easier to sell a $10 game if you initially price it at 20$ then put it on a 50% off sale. More people will buy it because they think they’re saving money.

    • Nate says:

      What I’ve read, several times, is that developers that sign on for things like Steam sales and Humble Bundles see returns much larger than they were imagining.

      Note that a large part of that has to do with the base that Steam/HB have built up. This isn’t the way that most indie games are sold. When dealing with very niche games, for example, you might be selling to an audience that is too small for serious revenue generation, but will always buy (as long as you don’t insult them). Big sales probably won’t do a lot for them.

      Low prices do seem insulting to at least some developers. Many people have criticized Vic Davis (Cryptic Comet) for his pricing policies, which are probably more driven by principle than by self-interest. Most developers, however, probably see price as a barrier that prevents people from enjoying their game. If they can feed their families and get more eyeballs at the same time, that’s a good thing to them.

    • GameCat says:

      Also don’t forget that you will get money from bundle sales even if someone who paid for that bundle already bought your game earlier.
      For example, I bought Proteus at day one at full price ($10 I think) and then got it again as part of some Humble Bundle, so devs got few bucks more from me for free.
      So yeah, bundles are good.

      • MichaelPalin says:

        You can actually not pay a cent to a given developer in the current Humble Bundle system. I’m not sure if people is doing this but, if I have already bought a game that is in a bundle I want, I give nothing to that particular developer.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      As others have already told you, money-wise it is worth it, but there is a deeper discussion to have here. There is more and more competition in the indie space now and there are more and more gamers buying more and more games that they may never play just because they were cheap. I think that there may be a bubble here somewhere and that, definitely, this system is not exactly making the better developers to be more rewarded than the worse ones.

      It’s a question of value in addition to price. A low price or a pay-what-you-want model gives access to games to more people, which is good in itself. However, if you are not communicating to that people that your game has value (if it does have value), your work is not going to be recognized. But I don’t know what the solution is. I think it would help a lot if journalists would talk as little as possible about sales and all that and dedicated more time to remind people what games are worth it and why.

  8. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Bollocks, I bought Rogue Legacy at full price not 24 hours ago.

    • DanMan says:

      HA ha! [/nelson]

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Which means you got a really good game and supported the developers in making more really good games.

      If that’s bollocks, I say: more bollocks! Bollocks for all!

    • SillyWizard says:

      Indeed. You must’ve known when making the purchase that if you waited until indefinite time X you would be able to get it for less. However, the game was worth to you what you paid for it at the time you bought it. You should be happy with your purchase!

  9. stele says:

    I picked up Euro Trick Simulator 2 for $7 so I could try out the Oculus support. Also, I like driving around European country-side.

  10. Cytrom says:

    This has the potential to make GoG obsolete (at least in the new-ish games segment), because the humble store sells drm free multi platform games AND the optional steam keys along with them.

    I like to keep my games for good, and drm free is the only sure way for that, but i also like the collect-all-the-games minigame of steam lol (even if at some point in the future valve will require a blood sacrifice from me every month in order to access my library, or just plain shut down the service. They have the full legal authority to do both according to their EULA which you must accept.)
    They also got stong sales in the bag, so this could be really big.

    ..Ehh nevermind, like half of the games are not available DRM-free.

    • The Random One says:

      Humble has been kicking GoG’s ass on that regard for quite a while, simply because they offer Steam keys and GoG doesn’t. I’m actually glad to see that some games have DRM (not quite half, although I’d bet the percentage will go up as more games join) since it means GoG still has something going for it.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, the got-it-forever-but-also-got-Steam’s-sugar-coating aspect made th Humble Store pretty appealing for quite a few purchases.

    • Jalan says:

      As long as GOG maintains competitive pricing strategy, I don’t see it being threatened a great deal by this. Even with the games that come with the likes of Steam keys.

      • Baines says:

        I don’t know. GOG lost one of its advantages over Steam when publishers realized they could just let GOG get their old games running on modern systems, and then just take that version and sell it on Steam. GOG also doesn’t offer the steep sales prices of Steam, Amazon, and others. Humble could potentially become the store of choice for new indies (at least the ones that can get on stores other than Desura.)

        GOG has a decent chance of seeing its perceived relevance slip further as time passes.

      • 2Ben says:

        I definitely did refrain from buying things from GoG because of no-steam-key, even though the price was good and I wanted the game. Yes I know I can just “Add external game” to Steam, but it’s not the same.
        For me, no steam key = no sale.
        Conversely, I buy most, if not all, HBs.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      I still prefer GOG for classic games. They always come with extras like soundtracks, concept art etc, something Steam does only rarely and when it does you have to pay extra and can’t download them directly from the store. And Humble only sells new games.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I totally understand stripping the pay-what-you-want for simplicity, but I am a little bummed I can’t choose a charity, since I frankly feel a lot of charities are more deserving than Child’s Play and prefer to put my charity dollars to better use (a feature I love about Humble Bundle).

    • tormos says:

      Wot you said. I generally split my charity bits between EFF (for self interest) and Red Cross (for well meaning, if ultimately inefficient charity)

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Yea, same here.

      I always split between EFF and whatever is not Child’s Play at any given moment.

    • Mctittles says:

      I am not really of the opinion that EFF is more deserving than giving sick kids something to entertain themselves with in hospitals. I assumed that was the priority for a lot of people, but I guess to each their own.

  12. Michael Fogg says:

    Sadly, I can’t use the Humble Store. Giving to charity is against my personal philosophy.

    • PikaBot says:

      You sound like a very pleasant person.

      • Lemming says:

        I don’t give to most charity. A poppy a year, a Child’s Play purchase for Xmas,and some money to the woodland trust. ie. all things I can quantify and know it has a direct result in the help I want to provide. Anyone from Children in Need, Comic Relief, Live-Aid or any door-knockers? I can’t despise them and tell them to f** off fast enough.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      That’s right, you should never give anything to anyone, this is a capitalist world and all you do is make them increasingly reliant on handouts. Homeless? Get a job! Got cancer? Figure out your own damn cure and then sell it! You’re a young child with a crippling disease, no computer games for you because your parents are poor. Maybe the richer kids who aren’t as sick as you will let you watch over their shoulder if you let them use your wheelchair for corridor racing. How can you even afford hospital anyway… what… charity…… no treatment for you, go home and die quietly please!


      • Michael Fogg says:

        Judgemental much? I’m roleplaying life as a Neutral Evil.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          So, you’re only pretending that “Giving to charity is against my (SIC) personal philosophy”? An attention seeker then.

          • apocraphyn says:

            Goddamn, Sheng-ji. You Lawful Good types really grate my nerves. So he’s Neutral Evil. So what? It’s not like he’s actively going around burning orphanages.

            Personally, I give quite a lot to charity. Then I burn down some orphanages. It’s all about the balance, you know?

        • Jalan says:

          The moment you wrote that, intending it facetiously or not, it was almost like painting a big bullseye on yourself. That only one of the “what kind of monster are you”/”Humble-anything does no wrong because CHARITY, CHEAP THINGS, blahblah” type(s) has taken time out to comment in response to it must mean either too many of the others were quick to click “block” or astoundingly got the joke.

    • zain3000 says:

      Good on you, sir. Brave of you to express such beliefs on RPS, a site notorious for its contingent of social justice flag-wavers. We alternatively-aligned individuals need to back each other up ;)

  13. Premium User Badge

    Gnarl says:

    Didn’t they used a bit a little more humble, little less advert-y? Maybe they should just go the we’re-not-Good-nor-Old-but-we-do-sell-Games route, and just be THS.

  14. goettel says:

    Bookmarked like it’s 2001.

  15. sophof says:

    What I notice is that I’ve been sufficiently sucked into steam that what matters to me most is the social aspect. I have a comprehensive friends-list where someone is always looking to play.
    I almost think that GoG and now for instance HumbleBundle should team up to make a similar, but open alternative. Then each storefront could use such an integrated friends-list structure and maybe challenge steam a little. Right now I have some games everywhere, but when prices are close, I will always choose steam, just because it is now my ‘main’ library. I will visit the GoG and Humble pages therefore only rarely and am not likely to buy more.

    I basically love that these exist and would hate for them to disappear, but at the same time I’m a lazy person only interested in my own convenience :P

    • MichaelPalin says:

      You, sir, are the quintessential gamer.

      And I like your idea of an open social client to be shared by gog and HB, I like it a lot.