Humble Offers Peeks At Upcoming Monthly Bundles

I’d not grumble if the Whisky of the Month Club gave me a whisky I’d already drank – though I wouldn’t be best pleased if it were the whisky I’d already drank. I’d be less thrilled with a video game subscription service sending me games I’d already bought, and have skipped over the Humble Monthly Bundle. But if you have been interested, here’s a thing: it’s become a touch less opaque. Each month, Humble will reveal one game from the upcoming mystery bundle, and let folks pay their $12 straight away to unlock that one game now then get the rest later. The first’s a doozy: Alien: Isolation.

Initially, new Monthly Bundle subscribers would receive one game from the previous month’s bag to tide them over until the next arrived. Under the new system, at the start of the month they’ll reveal one game from the next month’s bundle, then give it to new subscribers and current subscribers who choose to pay up early.

I still won’t subscribe myself, as I’ll end up with so many dupes and don’t even have time to finish most of the games I choose myself, but do find it more attractive now I can see some of what’s coming. I certainly wouldn’t have signed up at the straight, without any idea of what the bundles would bring. Now we can look back at those from November, December, and January to see what they’re like. They’re, yeah, okay? Mostly games I own? I suspect many folks who keep up with goings-on in games, and especially sales, may already own a game or two from each bundle.

Have any of y’all signed up for the Monthly Bundle? Happy with how it’s going?

I suspect mostly they’re for a similar audience to the Cheese of the Month Club: folks who like cheese but don’t really follow cheese news and cheese sales – people who might not read Roquefort, Paneer, Stilton.

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42 Comments

  1. mpk says:

    I believe they’ve done this since the start – I can remember Legend Of Grimlock 2 being offered for signing up to the first one, and Payday 2 for another.

    • mpk says:

      (Or possibly I’ve misread the article. Take it the edit button is gone forever?)

      • alphagator says:

        Indeed. They originally gave you something from the *last* bundle, rather than an upcoming one (confusingly). The structure in the first two was: one big AAA anchor game and then a sprinkling of high quality or at least interesting indy games. This month, there’s no anchor game–they’re treating Talos Principle as the hook. So that’s a weird side effect of this transition.

        In terms of whether this is a good deal, I’ve been subscribed since the start and have only had two dupes–Spelunky and Saints Row IV, both of which I’ve simply given to, and then played with, friends. It’s been a splendid deal for me, at least.

    • cyphercolt says:

      For the first monthly bundle they gave Grimrock since there were no previous monthly bundles, then the rest they were giving from the previous. I like the idea of seeing something from the next bundle instead of the previous.

      So far I’ve had at least 2 of the games already in each bundle, some of my friends are always expecting me to dish out a few free games every month now.

  2. Kido says:

    I’ve enjoyed the first two bundles, even though i’ve got a dupe or two each time. (Gifted them to friends. So at least someone’s happy).

    The third one was rather… disappointing. Also, i have no interest in alien isolation unless i want to crap my pants someday soon.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      I know exactly how you feel. Although for me the problem was not being terrified (mostly!) but getting stressed from the constant tension (curse its lack of quicksave!).

      I think Alien: Isolation is still worth playing with one of the mods that stop enemies from detecting you. At least, after I got too stressed out dying to humans with guns, I finished the game that way, and don’t regret it at all.

      This was before the developers added in the lowest difficulty mode—otherwise I’d have tried that first.

      • Unclepauly says:

        I refuse to play any stealth game at anything but the highest difficulty. If I die because of wonky game mechanics, then it’s just not a very good stealth game. Dropping the difficulty kind of defeats the purpose of playing a game like this imo, each to their own though.

  3. Luciferous says:

    I wish there was a better way of trading unneeded serial codes with others, it’d make doing things like this much easier to stomach knowing that any duplicates can be swapped with someone else for a game I want and a game they want… But Alien -Isolation for £8ish isn’t too bad at all and anything on top of that would be okay.

  4. trn says:

    I am struggling to understand who this service is for… unless there are people out there who don’t already have a backlog of 50+ games on their Steam account and are keen to catch up.

    Reminds me of the time I had a veg box. £8 a week and after two months I was eating nothing but carrot soup, carrot cake, carrot sticks and still had enough carrots to wrap an orange belt twice around the earth.

    • lglethal says:

      *spoken in a yorkshire accent*

      A backlog of only 50 games. Luxury!
      Back when we were kids, we had a backlog of 100 games per day and if we didnt finish all of them, our dad would beat us to death and dance about on our graves!

      ;)

      • Unclepauly says:

        At least your DAD gave you the sweet release of death! That man was a saint! My DAD would take me within an inch and hold it there, just so I could smell death and almost taste it! You lucky bastard!

        • Luciferous says:

          That sounds like something else you’re talking about… something child services should’ve heard about!

          (Obviously they should be informed about murderous dads as well)

    • -funkstar- says:

      Well, I do follow the games news (hello, RPS), am a slightly older gamer (meaning that out of time and money, the former is by far the limiting resource), and have a preference for stuff slightly out of the ordinary (again, hello, RPS). I have a huge backlog (and no intention of playing everything on it), generated mostly by Humble Bundle themselves. What I buy is also affected by gaming on a Mac laptop (Boot Camp’ed, but still).

      They’ve hit me rather well, so far. I signed up on the strength of Legend of Grimrock II, and I’ve been pretty happy with what I’ve seen. Without that content peek, I probably would not have signed up – changing (back) to the preview is probably a good idea.

      I’ve had no duplicates yet, and found January to be the best month so far. Having acquired a lot of my games through Humble bundles may help the duplicate count stay low, as I suspect they might be less inclined to include games that they have themselves bundled already.

      • abobo says:

        I’m pretty sure they said that games previously offered in bundles would not be included in the humble monthly, which is great for those of us who have amassed most of our backlog from them. I’m still hesitant to subscribe, but I’ve been impressed with what they’ve put out so far.

        • epeternally says:

          They have not said that, only that at least one game in each bundle won’t have been in their previous ones. Rather rubbish on their part, not using rebundles is something we should be able to take for granted if they’re pitching this as a premium product (which, with how much more it is than their regular bundles, they are).

  5. keefybabe says:

    I’ve subscribed. I have duplicates but the good thing it’s done for me is give me stuff I wouldn’t normally have got or at least ummmed and arred about and then I’ve tried them and they’ve been great.

    So it’s more like a whisky selection box per month, some of which you may have already drank and can therefore give to friends and some which you haven’t.

    And besides….. Charity.

    • Nereus says:

      Charity remains a somewhat weak incentive when only 5% of the purchase goes to charity. 60 U.S. cents isn’t going to be doing much when spread out over hundreds if not thousands of charities. I also suspect they aren’t selling the same kind of volume they would for the other bundles because a) it’s effectively the top paid tier in any of their usual offerings and b) you’re still mostly buying blind.

      • Premium User Badge

        Grizzly says:

        During last year’s Desert Bus for Hope fundraiser, it was mentioned that Child’s Play needs 7 dollars to fully equip a child with full access to consoles and tablets and that sorta thing. You can make a measurable effect with those 60 cents if a lot of people are subscribing.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          I am not sure what you mean by that other than that 5% is more than nothing. That is true enough, but still disappointing considering regular purchases through the Humble store give 10% to charity.

  6. Apocalypse says:

    It still does not solve the issue that the monthly humble bundle consist to over 75% of games that I already own.

    Which is imo the biggest deal breaker. A system that would allow me to pick 3 out of 12 and allows me to gift them to friends would be a better system for me.

    • keefybabe says:

      Guess it depends on how you look at it.

      Personally I see the subscription as almost gaming itself, it’s essentially a gamble. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

      It’s like I loved the pinatas that GOG did. I got loads until I got one of those disturbing anime visual novels (cartoon wank games) and was terrified to press it again in case I got Hunie Pop or something.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Cross says:

    I will probably never subscribe to this, as it’s essentially a preorder, and i am not willing to buy games on faith from the Humble Guys any more than i am from any developer.

    • Apocalypse says:

      The idea behind is not a pre-order but getting curated content for a small fee.

      You pay them basically to pick you interesting titles. If that works for you fine, if you have anyway lots of good games to buy in mind already than you are not really the target for those monthly bundles, because you know already what to play in the first place.

    • Obsidian War PJs says:

      wut? It’s not a pre-order. These games are released. Sure, you don’t know *which* games you’re getting, but that’s part of the fun. I see this more as a discovery service where part of my money goes to making the world suck less.

  8. minijedimaster says:

    I subscribe even though I end up owning like half or more of the games. I just save those as gifts to family and friends.

  9. Vesuvius says:

    They call it “offering a peek” or “advanced access” but really this is actually giving the consumer 1 fewer games for their dollar, it’s a worsening of the value proposition.

    You used to get your month’s bundle + 1, now you just get your month with a piece of that unlocking early.

    • Jalan says:

      Had the same thought.

      I’m also strongly wondering if they’ve bothered to factor in anyone already subscribed getting potentially double charged at the end of the month if they’ve taken the bait and paid early.

      Not to say that such a thing can’t easily be fixed once it becomes known (or even in advance of it actually occurring), but the way they’ve been operating lately has given the impression that whatever team is at the helm is a bit scatterbrained.

  10. Ronlaen says:

    If I had known about this earlier I might have payed the $12 for Alien Isolation as I had payed about $12.50 for it during the sale plus a few bucks for original Aliens dlc. The bundles I’ve seen already though are mostly games I already own so for the risk it doesn’t seem worth it unless you have at least some knowns.

  11. Donkeyfumbler says:

    So if you subscribe and then decide you want to cancel, you have to do so over a month in advance – is that right? Because presumably, as soon as you get the ‘early unlock’ game you are tied in to that month’s bundle? Or can I subscribe now, get Alien Isolation, then wait until February 1st when I will get the rest of Feb’s games and one from March and then cancel?

    • Lagran says:

      The way I read it is that if you pay now (instead of letting Humble automatically take the money out ~1 week before the bundle) you’ll get Alien: Isolation now and the rest of the bundle when it releases.

      To get the preview game for March’s bundle you’d need to lock in at $12 beforehand. Even if you cancelled, you’d still get March’s bundle.

      • Donkeyfumbler says:

        Thanks – that makes sense. I might pay for this month then but make sure it doesn’t automatically take for March as well, at least until I see the March early unlock. I’m willing to take a punt on a months bundle if I know I at least want the game they’ve already revealed (and I was leaning towards Alien once the price was right).

  12. kogonan says:

    I’ve very much enjoyed it, it may be because I’ve been out of the PC game loop for a while, but it kinda feels like being part of a monthly book club, there is something about getting unknown games…

  13. lglethal says:

    Bought it for last month, as my friends and i wanted to start playing Payday 2, and this was the cheapest way to get it. But i cancelled straight away after that as frankly I have such a huge backlog I do not need to add 6 games a month to that. Most of which i will never end up playing. Ever.

  14. bhauck says:

    Oh boy, I finally have a relevant place to share a theory I’ve had since the announcement of Humble Monthly Bundle: it indicates that Humble is trying to get sold because private equity guys love MRR more than they love their children. Stick it in a spreadsheet, make up a growth rate, “forecast”, present to bosses.

    • Obsidian War PJs says:

      You forgot “insert conspiracy theory here”. You have no evidence for this claim beyond a weak, entirely unsupported argument.

  15. Premium User Badge

    zapatapon says:

    I was unconvinced at first, then I took the bait for December after seeing that the first (November) offering was rather decent. I own about half of each bundle, but it’s still a bargain. It will just pile up in my backlog, but by now I’ve kind of accepted that I derive at least as most satisfaction in piling up games (*) as in playing them.

    What I would like to understand better here is the economic model. Why is it a good idea to hide the bundle’s content until it’s too late to buy it? Does the fear of missing out a bargain actually bring in more customers than for regular bundles?

    (*) I only get satisfied by piling up games denoting a perfectly good taste though, hence an avid reader of RPS.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    Roquefort, Paneer, Stilton

    Delightful

  17. Obsidian War PJs says:

    Teamed up with my disposable income, all the Steam sales mean I have almost all the games I want. I look at the Humble Monthly Bundle as a way to discover new games and get cheap gifts for friends, gifts I can wholeheartedly recommend and talk about. And if I can exchange a few items for the remaining items on my wishlist, that’s just a bonus.