Humble Bundle

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Humble Bundle, Inc.
Motto Pay what you want, DRM Free, cross-platform, Helps charity.
Formation 2010; 4 years ago (2010)
Type Privately held Delaware corporation [1]
Headquarters San Francisco, CA
Website www.humblebundle.com
Former name
Humble Indie Bundles

The Humble Bundles (previously known as Humble Indie Bundles) are a series of collections ("bundles") of digital creations that are sold and distributed online at a price determined by the purchaser. The bundles are typically offered on a semi-regular basis during a two-week period; sales often include bonus games or media offered mid-week through the sale for those that have already purchased the bundle or otherwise pay more than the average. Early bundles featured independently developed, multi-platform games (including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms) provided without digital rights management (DRM). Later bundles have included those geared towards games from established developers, games for Android-based devices, bundles promoting game jams, and in three cases, a bundle consisting of mainstream titles from a major publisher. Sales of bundles are split between the developers/creators, the Humble Bundle operators, and one or more charities including Child's Play, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, charity: water, and the American Red Cross, with the buyer able to set the revenue split between these groups.

The first bundle was organized and managed by Wolfire Games. Beginning with the second bundle a separate company spin-off, Humble Bundle, Inc., was founded with financial investment with the sole purpose of organizing and managing the sale of these bundles. Several of the bundles have brought in over $1 million; as of August 23, 2013, the bundles have collectively earned more than $50 million, of which over $20 million has gone to charity.[2] Since its inception, the program has spun out to include regular weekly bundles, highlighted bundles featuring eBooks and music, and a persistent storefront, the Humble Store, where a portion of the sales also go to charity. The Humble Bundle approach has inspired a number of similar efforts to offer "pay what you want" bundles for smaller titles, including Indie Gala and Indie Royale.

Contents

Concept[edit]

Total purchases vs. time

The idea for the Bundle was from Jeff Rosen of Wolfire Games.[3] Rosen describes the inspiration coming to him through similar sales of bundle packages on the Steam platform.[3] Rosen had noted that such sales would have viral word-of-mouth spread across the Internet.[4] Influence also came from a previous "pay-what-you-want" sale for World of Goo upon the title's first anniversary;[3][5] over 57,000 copies of the game were purchased during this sale, generating over US$117,000 after considering PayPal handling fees.[6][7] Rosen by this point was well connected with other independent developers, for example his brother David is listed as being a game tester for the Penumbra series, and Penumbra's composer Mikko Tarmia is now contributing to Wolfire Games' upcoming game project Overgrowth. Wolfire had also recently teamed with Unknown Worlds Entertainment to offer a bundle based on their Natural Selection 2 game.[3] The porter of Lugaru to Linux was Ryan C. Gordon, who was also responsible for porting Aquaria to Linux. With his close ties to these independent developers, as well as Ron Carmel of 2D Boy, Rosen was able to assemble the package, taking advantage of merchant sales systems offered by PayPal, Amazon Payments, and Google Checkout to minimize the cost of transactions and distribution.[3] The site later added the option to pay via Bitcoin only through Coinbase.[8][9]

Though achieving word of mouth was a key element of the potential success of the bundle, Rosen also recognized that the process to purchase the Bundles had to be simple; including elements like user account registration or the use of a secondary download client would have potentially driven away sales.[4] Rosen also sought to include charities in the bundle, allowing the purchaser to choose how to distribute the funds between the developers and charities. Rosen believed Child's Play was a worthwhile cause that brought video games to hospitalized children and helped to fight the stigma of video games, while he selected the Electronic Frontier Foundation to support their anti-DRM stance.[3] The means of "pay-what-you-want" would allow purchasers to simply give the money to the charities, but Rosen felt this was not an issue and would "consider that a success" of the sale.[3] Rosen and Wolfire employee John Graham provided technical support during the sales, handling thousands of requests through a few all-night email and chat sessions.[4]

In April 2011, it was announced that Sequoia Capital had invested $4.7 million of venture capital into Humble Bundle.[10] A dedicated team of about ten employees created by this fund oversee the Humble Bundle; they work with developers to determine scheduling and availability of games, and make decisions about which games to include within the bundles, asking themselves "will this be exciting for gamers", according to Richard Esguerra, one of the current employees.[11] The full arrangements with developers to create the bundle typically conclude a month before the bundle goes live. The Humble Bundle group earns about 15% of the total funds raised, which goes back towards paying for bandwidth costs and to develop new features for the site.[11]

Humble Store[edit]

The Humble Store is an extension of the sales system developed for managing the Humble Bundles. It offers the capabilities of the payment and customer services that they had created for the various Bundles to independent developers as an alternate marketplace for these titles. According to Joshua Knoles of the Humble Bundle team, they "wanted to create something that would allow developers to easily sell their games through their own web site as well as provide a painless buying experience for purchasers".[12] Once developers have signed on with the Humble Store, they are given a widget that they can include on their web site which allows users to purchase the game (the Humble Store was usually inaccessible unless one directly searched for the widget for a particular game). In some cases, such as with FTL: Faster Than Light and Sportsfriends, the developers used the Humble Store to provide tier rewards during their crowd funding phase using sites like Kickstarter.[12] As with the Bundles, once purchased the buyer has access to all software titles from the store at any time. Ben Kuchera of "Penny Arcade Reports" compares the Humble Store as a potential competitor to virtual storefronts like Steam, offering a more personable level of service to developers and customers than these larger systems.[12]

A dedicated Humble Store was launched in November 2013, where single games instead of bundles were put on daily sales, with 10% of the revenues being given to charities including the EFF, American Red Cross, and Child's Play.[13] A new section for eBooks, audiobooks and digital comics will launch alongside the games store on May 15, 2014.[14] As of June 2014, the Humble Store has raised over one million dollars for the various charities it supports.[15]

Humble Weekly Sales[edit]

Following the conclusion of the Humble Android Bundle 5 in March 2013, the site announced new Weekly sales that feature the same pay-what-you-want for a single title, starting with the game Bastion. As with the regular bundles, each weekly sale has several tiered payment options. Aside from only lasting one week instead of two, running consecutively with main bundles, and being based on a singular theme (often a particular developer's games), the sales work exactly like the bundles.[16]

Humble Bundles[edit]

Since its inception, the Humble Indie Bundle offerings are typically a two-week period where between three to five games are offered at a pay-what-you-want model. Most bundles have featured added bonuses that are announced mid-way through the period as added incentive for purchasing the games; previous purchases automatically receive these bonuses (after Humble Indie Bundle 9, these midway bonuses were made exclusive to above-average buyers). More recent bundles have included a "beat-the-average" bonus should the purchaser contribute more than the current average price others have performed. Other bundles have featured game soundtracks as either part of the core bundle or as an extra reward. With the DRM-free nature of the offered games, the source code for several games has also been included as part of the bundle's offerings.

The purchaser is able to name any price for the bundle. The Humble Bundle website interface gives users the chance to determine how to distribute their contribution, defaulting to a specific split between the developers, the charities for that event and a "Humble tip" which is used to cover hosting and other costs of the bundle. The purchasers can choose to give all or none to any of these groups, or any combination of these. In later bundles, purchasers can also buy the bundle as a gift for others. Games are typically available as standalone clients for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux-based systems; in many cases, the bundles represent the debut of a game on the latter two platforms.

The purchaser can often also obtain redeemable codes for the games on services like Steam or, less often, Desura or Origin. To avoid abuse with these services, later bundles require a minimum purchase price of $1. Starting on October 31, 2013, Steam keys are automatically applied to the user's Steam account when redeemed, in an attempt to prevent the resale of keys.[17][18] Subsequently, due to feedback, individual product Steam keys from bundle sales were allowed to be giftable to other users, giving them a unique URL through which the receiver could then redeem the key through Steam.[19]

List of Humble Bundles[edit]

Further information: List of Humble Bundles

Main bundles[edit]

Humble Indie Bundle[edit]

The first Humble Indie Bundle went on sale from May 4 through May 11, 2010. It included World of Goo by 2D Boy, Aquaria by Bit Blot, Gish by Cryptic Sea, Penumbra: Overture by Frictional Games, and Lugaru HD by Wolfire Games.[20] Furthermore, three studios offered a further incentive for purchasers during the sale, in that if more than US$1 million was raised by the effort, the source code for Gish, Penumbra and Lugaru would then be offered.[21] Midway through the sale period, Wolfire Games was approached by Amanita Design studios, who wanted to help contribute to the cause in their own way, by donating their game Samorost 2 to the bundle, allowing those who already had purchased the bundle to further download that title.[21]

Humblebundlebycount.png
Humblebundlebydonation.png
Sales breakdown across systems of the first Humble Indie Bundle by the number of purchasers (top) and dollar value of the payments (bottom)

The promotion was met with what the organizers described as a strong success, achieving more than US$1 million in sales within the week from approximately 116,000 purchasers.[22][23] After the extension, the total amount of money raised by the effort was in excess of $1,270,000.[24] Based on the distribution set by users, the two charities received about 31% of the total money raised, while each of the five developers saw an average of US$166,000 in sales.[23][24] About half of the sales were to Windows platforms, while the Mac and Linux sales roughly equally split the rest. By tracking pricing, Wolfire Games found that Linux users were the most generous, paying about US$14 per bundle, followed by Mac users (US$10) and Windows users (US$7–8).[22][25][26] Rosen noted the presence of payments as large as $3333 and $1337 near the final hours of the sale, and believes social link-sharing sites like Reddit helped them to reach the $1 million milestone.[27] As a result of reaching the US$1 million goal, the source code for the game engines for Gish, Penumbra, Lugaru, and, due to the overwhelming success, Aquaria, was made available under the GNU General Public License; art, music, and other creative assets for these games were not included.[23] Wolfire also extended the offer on the sale for an additional four days.[23]

While many of the included games were available on Valve's Steam platform, the bundle was not initially integrated with Steam. On December 9, 2010, seven months after the bundle's release, a Steam product key was emailed to purchasers of the bundle that allowed most of the bundle to be downloaded from Steam.[28] This made downloading and playing the bundle more convenient for Steam users and also allowed Steam users to collect Steam achievements from the bundle games that implemented them. Samorost 2 was added to the Steam accounts of those who had redeemed their codes for the Humble Indie Bundle from June 1, 2011 and onwards.

Humble Indie Bundle 2[edit]

With the success of the first bundle, a second Humble Indie Bundle was launched on December 14, 2010. The bundle featured Braid by Jonathan Blow, Cortex Command by Data Realms, Machinarium by Amanita Design, Osmos by Hemisphere Games, and Revenge of the Titans by Puppy Games. Charitable donations continued to go towards Child's Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[29] The new bundle included the launch of new Linux ports for Braid and Cortex Command, while another game Revenge of the Titans was first made available for all three platforms as part of the bundle.[30] While Wolfire Studios is still hosting and managing the sale and post-sale downloads, they do not have any games in the bundle; instead, they have allowed for purchasers to tip Wolfire while paying for the games in the bundle.[31]

The second Bundle was able to break $500,000 in sales within one day.[32] Sales surpassed $1 million about 5 days into the sale, upon which purchasers were able to unlock the games on Steam and the Desura download service.[33][34] As a promotion for the second bundle the first bundle was added to all bundles that were purchased at that point and to all later purchases that contributed more than the average chosen price.[35] Since the sale exceeded $1.75M, Puppy Games has also released the source code for Revenge of the Titans[36] under a BSD-like license while reserving all rights to almost all game assets. The sale cleared $1.8 million in sales after ten days of sales.[37] Similar to the first bundle, around 50% of the total donations were from Mac and Linux users, which Rosen later identified as a strong market for indie game developers.[4]

Humble Indie Bundle 3[edit]

VVVVVV featured in Humble Indie Bundle 3.

The fourth Humble Bundle, but the third carrying the Indie title, was launched on July 26, 2011. The bundle featured Crayon Physics Deluxe by Kloonigames, Cogs by Lazy 8 Studios, VVVVVV by Terry Cavanagh, Hammerfight by Kranx Productions, and And Yet It Moves by Broken Rules. Charitable donations continued to go towards Child's Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In the case of VVVVVV, the game was not only updated to run on Linux machines, but featured a new completely rebuilt game engine in C++ instead of on the Adobe Flash platform, and included a level editor and several levels submitted by other indie developers. These changes were prompted by the opportunity for VVVVVV to be featured as part of the upcoming bundle.[38] On August 1, 2011 the game Steel Storm was added as a "Bonus Game" for all who purchase the bundle.[39] Midway through the sale, purchasers were given the opportunity to play Minecraft until August 14, 2011.[39] On August 3, 2011, the Humble Indie Bundle 2 was given to those who had bought Bundle 3 before that date. To obtain it after that date, users must pay over the current Average, at the time they decide to purchase Bundle 3. On August 5, 2011, Atom Zombie Smasher was added as a bonus game to anyone who purchased the Humble Indie Bundle 3.

Within 17 hours, the Bundle had broken $500,000 in total sales with over 107,000 bundles purchased, a significant improvement relative to the Frozenbyte bundle.[40] The sale broke $1 million less than a week from its onset.[38] Sales hit $2 million on August 8, finishing up with more than $2.1M in revenue.

Humble Indie Bundle 4[edit]

On December 13, 2011, the fourth main Humble Indie Bundle was released. The bundle included five games, Jamestown by Final Form Games, Bit.Trip Runner by Gaijin Games, Super Meat Boy by Team Meat, Shank by Klei Entertainment and NightSky by Nicalis. Paying more than the current average price grants the buyer two additional games: Cave Story+ by Nicalis and Gratuitous Space Battles by Positech Games. This is also the first bundle to benefit the American Red Cross. A vote by the developers of games included in the Bundle preferred the American Red Cross to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for this bundle.[41] Within a day, the Humble Indie Bundle 4 surpassed $1 million in revenue, faster than previous bundles.[42] Later in the sale, soundtracks for all the games were added as a free bonus to anyone who purchased the Bundle.[43]

A further addition to the sale was the inclusion of five original games from the 3rd Bundle along with their soundtracks; these were made available to anyone that had purchased the 4th Bundle before their addition and to anyone that purchases the Bundle at higher than the average price.[44][44]

The sale concluded with more than $2.37 million in revenue and over 435,000 bundles sold. The sale also saw the largest donations of $16,005.27 and $8,542 to the project from the "Humble Brony Bundle", a group made up of "brony" fans for the show My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and Markus "Notch" Persson, the developer of Minecraft, respectively, due to a friendly wager between the two.[11][45]

Humble Indie Bundle V[edit]

The Humble Indie Bundle V was launched on May 31, 2012. It included Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games, Limbo by Playdead, Psychonauts by Double Fine Productions, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP by Capybara Games, and their respective soundtracks. Paying more than the average also allowed purchase of Bastion by Supergiant Games and its soundtrack. Proceeds from the sales go to the EFF and Child's Play charities. The minimum price for Steam keys was reduced back from $5 to $1 with this bundle. While the bundle continued the tradition of having an associated video to announce the titles in the bundle, the video for the fifth bundled included the voicework of Logan Cunningham as the narrator from Bastion, and footage of Tim Schafer, the president of Double Fine Productions.[46] Similarly, while the Humble Bundle team would normally create their own artwork to promote the sale, Jen Zee of Supergiant Games and artist for Bastion provided a promo image in Bastion's style representing all the games in the Bundle.[47] This bundle also featured the first time that Ubuntu users could download and manage the games and supporting software libraries as software packages through the Ubuntu Software Center instead of having to collect and download all the components themselves or use a separate client such as Desura; this process was set up by Canonical Ltd. to make it easier for Linux users to obtain the games and help promote the Ubuntu Linux operating system as a viable gaming platform.[48]

This bundle was considered the best bundle to date by several outlets, noting that the respective games are generally considered as some of the best indie titles in the last few years.[49][50][51] Amnesia, Bastion, Limbo, and Superbrothers have won several Independent Games Festival awards, with Bastion and Limbo having also been nominated and won various industry-wide commendations. Psychonauts itself was considered one of the top games during its release in 2005, and remains an industry favorite. Some journalists questioned the "indie" nature of the bundle, as Bastion, Limbo, and Psychonauts were originally distributed through large publishers, but Esguerra stated that all the developers for the games in this bundle fully control the intellectual property rights for the titles, giving them independent control over those releases.[11] Over $1.8 million through more than 244,000 purchases were made within the first 15 hours of coming live, making it the fastest-selling bundle to date,[52] and subsequently surpassed the total sales of the Humble Indie Bundle 4 within 3 days of launch.[53]

On June 7, three more games were added to the bundle: Braid by Number None, Inc., Super Meat Boy by Team Meat and Lone Survivor by Superflat Games for those who had either previously purchased the bundle or bought it afterwards beating the current average price.[54] Total sales broke $4 million a little over a week into the sale, after these additions.[55] As with the previous main bundle, Markus Persson and the Humble Brony Bundle continued their spontaneous rivalry in one-upping each other in their donated amounts.[11] The sale completed with more than $5.1M in total sales with nearly 600,000 bundles sold.

Humble Indie Bundle 6[edit]

Dustforce was included for those who beat the average in the sixth bundle.

The sixth main bundle was launched on September 18, 2012, and included Torchlight by Runic Games, Rochard by Recoil Games, Shatter by Sidhe Interactive, S.P.A.Z. (Space Pirates and Zombies) by Minmax Games, and Vessel by Strange Loop Games; those that paid more than the current average also received Dustforce by Hitbox Team. Purchases included the soundtracks for all games excluding Vessel, which lacks a soundtrack. EFF and Child's Play remained as charities for this bundle. On September 25, four additional games and their respective soundtracks were added to the package for those that had already purchased the bundle, or paid more than the current average: Bit.Trip Runner by Gaijin Games, Gratuitous Space Battles by Positech Games, Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony by Final Form Games, and Wizorb by Tribute Games. Upon conclusion, the bundle had brought in more than $2 million with more than 316,000 total bundles sold.[56]

Humble Indie Bundle 7[edit]

Humble Indie Bundle 7 was launched on December 19, 2012, including The Binding of Isaac by Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl, Closure by Eyebrow Interactive, Shank 2 by Klei Entertainment, Snapshot by Retro Affect and Indie Game: The Movie by BlinkWorks; those that paid more than the current average also received Legend of Grimrock by Almost Human and Dungeon Defenders by Trendy Entertainment (Including all DLC). Purchases included the soundtracks for all games excluding The Binding of Isaac. EFF and Child's Play remained as charities for this bundle.[57] On December 27, 2012, three additional games were added to those that already paid for the bundle or those that beat the average: Edmund McMillen's The Basement Collection, Studio Pixel's Cave Story+, and KPULV's Offspring Fling, along with their associated soundtracks.[58]

Humble Indie Bundle 8[edit]

The eighth bundle was launched on May 28, 2013, and included the titles Dear Esther by thechineseroom, Thomas Was Alone by Mike Bithell, Capsized by Alientrap, Awesomenauts by Ronimo Games, and Little Inferno by the Tomorrow Corporation, along with the soundtracks for all five titles. Those paying more than the average also received Hotline Miami by Dennaton Games and Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga along with Proteus's soundtrack.[59] During the second week, Tiny & Big in Grandpa's Leftovers by Black Pants Studio, Intrusion 2 by VAP Games, English Country Tune by increpare, and Oil Rush by Unigine Corp and their respective soundtracks were added for those that had previously bought the bundle or subsequently paid more than the average.[60]

Humble Indie Bundle 9[edit]

The ninth bundle was launched on September 11, 2013, and included the titles Trine 2 by Frozenbyte, Mark of the Ninja and the beta for Eets Munchies by Klei Entertainment, and Brütal Legend by Double Fine Productions. Those paying above the average received FTL: Faster Than Light by Subset Games and Fez by Polytron Corporation. The games Limbo, Bastion, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken, and A Virus Named Tom, along with their respective soundtracks, were added in the second week. This was the first bundle where the games added during the second week would only be accessible to those who paid above the average. Proceeds from the sales went to the EFF, Watsi and Child's Play charities.

Humble Indie Bundle X[edit]

The tenth bundle was launched on January 7, 2014, and included the titles To the Moon by Freebird Games, Joe Danger 2: The Movie by Hello Games, Papo & Yo by Minority, and Runner2 by Gaijin Games. Those who beat the average received Reus by Abbey Games, and Surgeon Simulator 2013 by Bossa Studios. The first thousand purchases paying more than $9.99 also received Starbound by Chucklefish Games, which was sold out within the first minutes of the sale. Proceeds from the sales went to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play.

Humble Indie Bundle 11[edit]

The eleventh bundle was launched on February 18, 2014, and includes the titles Guacamelee! Gold Edition by Drinkbox Studios, Dust: An Elysian Tail by Humble Hearts, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams by Black Forest Games, and The Swapper by Facepalm Games. Those who beat the average receive Antichamber by Alexander Bruce, and Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine by Pocketwatch Games. The games Fez, Beatbuddy, and Starseed Pilgrim, along with their respective soundtracks, were added in the second week. Proceeds from the sales go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play.

Game or developer-specific bundles[edit]

Several game- or developer-specific bundles have run through the Humble Indie Bundle, featuring games solely from one publisher. In some cases, one or more third-parties games were added to the Bundle to extend the offering. In the case of the Humble Botanicula Debut featuring games by Amanita Design, the bundle including a download of an animated featured film created by one of Amanita's developers.

The origin of these bundles came from Frozenbyte. Frozenbyte had been considering raising money for its continued game development through a pay-what-you-want sale for quite some time, but was unsure how to implement such a payment and distribution system and were worried that if they attempted to do such a sale on their own it would not generate enough interest. Impressed by the previous bundles, they contacted John Graham and Jeffrey Rosen who agreed to the idea of making a bundle entirely composed of Frozenbyte titles.[61] Following the success of this bundle, other developers approached the Humble Bundle group to participate in a similar manner.

Humble Frozenbyte Bundle[edit]

Trine was part of the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle.

The third Humble Bundle sale started on April 12, 2011, and featured five games from the indie developer Frozenbyte, including Trine, Shadowgrounds, and Shadowgrounds: Survivor, for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It also contained an executable version along with source code for an unfinished game, Jack Claw, and a pre-order for their upcoming game, Splot.[62] Within three days of the launch of the sale, it had raised more than $550,000.[63] By April 22, 2011, the Bundle had surpassed $700,000, at which point Frozenbyte added the source code for both Shadowgrounds games, a level editor for Trine, Mac OS and Linux versions of Jack Claw (in addition to the Windows version), and a demo for Splot. The timeframe for purchasing this bundle ended at midnight on April 26, 2011.[64] Most of the money generated by the sale for Frozenbyte went to finishing the development of Trine 2.[65]

Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle[edit]

On September 28, 2011, the Humble Frozen Synapse Bundle was announced. Originally the bundle only included the game Frozen Synapse. On September 30, the game Trauma was added as a free bonus;[66] the game SpaceChem was added in a similar manner on October 5.[67] Paying more than the average price would also entitle the purchaser to the Humble Frozenbyte Bundle games. The bundle closed with more than $1.1 million in total revenue.[68]

Humble Voxatron Debut[edit]

On October 31, 2011, the Humble Voxatron Debut was released. One game, Voxatron by Lexaloffle Games, was initially included. The bundle ran for 14 days. At the time of the bundle's release, the game was labeled as Voxatron Alpha. The Binding of Isaac and Blocks That Matter were added on the following day.[69] On November 9, 2011, four more games were added to the bundle as a free bonus, three from the developers of Voxatron - Zen Puzzle Garden, Chocolate Castle and Jasper's Journeys, and one co-developed by one of The Binding of Isaac developers, Gish.[70] At closing, the debut raised $902,453.

Humble Introversion Bundle[edit]

On November 22, 2011, the Humble Introversion Bundle was released. The bundle included four games by Introversion Software: Darwinia, Multiwinia, DEFCON and Uplink. If the average price was beaten, two more games were given to the buyer: Aquaria by Bit Blot and Crayon Physics Deluxe by Kloonigames. Two technology demos by Introversion were also included, only for Windows, one including destructible Voxel buildings, the other showing the procedural generation of a city. On November 29, 2011, an additional game was added, Dungeons of Dredmor by Gaslamp Games. The source code of all the released Introversion games (excluding the technology demos) was also made available to the buyers.[71]

Humble Bundle Mojam[edit]

Mojang, the developers of the game Minecraft, announced the "Humble Bundle Mojam", an event starting on February 17, 2012, and lasting for 60 hours. During this time, Mojang crafted a brand-new game from scratch, called Catacomb Snatch. Using the results of a poll in which both the most and least voted for categories were mixed together, the game features a RTS-Shoot 'em up genre and Steampunk Ancient Egypt theme. The Humble Indie Bundle website featured live-stream footage of the development, and took donations; those who donated received access to the game not only once it was completed, but when the developers released stable builds during the event. The bundle also featured Fists of Resistance from Oxeye Game Studio and The Broadside Express from Wolfire Games. Oxeye Game Studio's game used the secondary options from the poll, creating a Dungeon crawler-Beat 'em up with a Post apocalyptic World War II theme, while Wolfire Games created a game with the same genre and theme as Mojang's Catacomb Snatch.[72]

The 60 hours ended with a total of over $440,000 sales, and over 79,000 bundles sold. However, the sale was temporarily extended, allowing for "last chance" purchases. The sale officially ended with 81,581 bundles distributed for a total of $458,329.98. All funds were distributed to four charities: Child's Play, Electronic Frontier Foundation, charity: water and the American Red Cross.[73]

Humble Botanicula Debut[edit]

The Humble Botanicula Debut launched on April 19, 2012, featuring titles from Amanita Design: Botanicula, Machinarium and Samorost 2, as well as their respective soundtracks. As named, the Bundle was coincident with the release of Botanicula. Those paying more than the average also received Windosill and a downloadable copy of the film Kooky, of which Amanita Design founder Jakub Dvorský provided art direction for. Proceeds from the sales go to the charity World Land Trust.[74] On April 26, 2012, the interactive music project Osada from Amanita Design was added to all purchases, as well as two albums from musicians that work with Amanita Design and behind-the-scenes bonuses for Botanicula and Kooky.[75]

The Amnesia Fortnight[edit]

The Amnesia Fortnight Bundle was based on previous Amnesia Fortnights that Tim Schafer, president of Double Fine Productions, employed semi-annually since 2007.

The Amnesia Fortnight bundle was launched on November 19, 2012, running alongside the Humble Bundle for Android 4, and was done differently from other bundles. The bundle was based on a yearly practice from Double Fine since 2007, where all the developers take a two-week sabbatical and split into groups to make games. These games, made in only that two-week period, are used to test new ideas and to determine new project managers. Several of Double Fine's games, such as Iron Brigade and Stacking, started out as tech demos from previous Amnesia Fortnights. After Double Fine's highly successful Kickstarter "Adventure" project in early 2012, Schafer saw the benefits of having a more open approach with game development, releasing information and media about games in development to get players more excited about the games early on instead of waiting for a large media push near the end of the development cycle.[76] This led to the idea of the Amnesia Fortnight bundle, where Schafer allowed any of his employees to pitch an idea and allowing the public to narrow down the selection to a number that they could reasonably pursue. A total of 23 game concepts were available for voting by the public.[76] Schafer opted to use the Humble Bundle approach as he considered the concept both profitable and charitable for all involved.[76]

The basic bundle consists of the prototypes of Costume Quest and Happy Song, both products of previous prototyping periods (Costume Quest inspired the game of the same name, while elements of Happy Song were used to develop Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster). Included as a beat-the-average incentive is Brazen, a prototype that combines aspects of Monster Hunter games with the atmosphere of Ray Harryhausen's fantasy movies. By donating a minimum of US$1.00, consumers not only obtain the Steam keys for said games, but also get to view and vote between the 23 possible prototype ideas of 2012. The Top 5 voted ideas will be made into prototypes which would be added to the bundle, with Double Fine streaming the entire game-making process and being documented by 2 Player Productions.[76]

On November 26, the voting for the Amnesia Fortnight ended. The five ideas that were made into prototypes are Hack n' Slash, a Zelda-esque adventure game where the protagonist uses legitimate hacking exploits to progress through the game; Spacebase DF-9, a simulation game akin to Dwarf Fortress and Startopia where the player builds a space colony; The White Birch, where a girl climbs an ominous tower to find a lone birch tree in the style of Ico or Journey; Autonomous, a game where the player builds self-directing robots to survive in a futuristic, 80s-inspired junkyard wasteland; and Black Lake, a game where a hunter's daughter travels through a fairly-tale forest, tracking animals and purging evil from their dreams. Of the five, Spacebase DF-9 is currently an early access title, while Hack n' Slash is set to launch in 2014.

The next Amnesia Fortnight began on February 7, 2014. The concept for this bundle remained mainly the same, with purchasers able to vote for three potential prototypes as well as a special bonus prototype headed by Pendleton Ward. Ultimately, the four prototypes that consumers voted for were:

  • Dear Leader, a game in the style of Papers, Please and Cart Life, where the player controls the new leader of a post-revolution republic, whose choices will ultimately affect the country's well-being.
  • Mnemonic, a first-person noir adventure in the style of Gone Home where the player character explores and rearranges memories to solve the murder of the woman he loved.
  • Steed, an adventure game where the player controls a horse-for-hire, saddling and protecting bumbling heroes as they complete their quests.
  • Pendleton Ward's Little Pink Best Buds, a game about mysterious little pink people who all want to be your best friend, with interaction based on Façade.

Humble THQ Bundle[edit]

On November 29, 2012, the Humble THQ Bundle was released. It featured the following games published by THQ: Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red Faction: Armageddon, Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, and Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor. Users that paid more than the average price also received Saints Row: The Third.[77] The American Red Cross and Child's Play were selected as charities for the bundle. On December 6 Titan Quest and Path to War DLC for Red Faction: Armageddon were added to the bundle for those that already purchased or otherwise paid more than the average; Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Game of the Year Edition was similarly added on December 10.

The THQ bundle was the first Humble Bundle primarily featuring games by a major publisher, as opposed to games by independent developers that were often self-published. In contrast to past Humble Bundles, the games in this bundle were only available as Steam keys for Windows users, instead of DRM-free multi-platform releases. The THQ Bundle brought in over $2.4 million in contributions within the first 24 hours, and concluded with over 885,000 sales and total revenues exceeding $5 million.[78][79]

THQ games would again be featured on the Humble Bundle site on March 26, 2013, as part of a Humble Weekly Sale, and as part of the Humble Deep Silver Bundle.

Humble Bundle Mojang 2[edit]

On February 20, 2013, Mojang, the developers of the game Minecraft, announced the "Humble Bundle Mojam 2". Much like the first Mojam, Mojang would take suggestions for potential game ideas and develop a game from them in 78 hours. During this Mojam, other developers including Oxeye Game Studio, Wolfire Games, Vlambeer, Grapefrukt Games, and Ludosity also are making games for the event. All Proceeds are donated to charities consisting of the The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Block By Block. Donations included a $100,000 donation by an anonymous donor.[80]

Humble Double Fine Bundle[edit]

The Humble Double Fine Bundle was launched on May 7, 2013, featuring Double Fine Productions titles for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems. The core bundle included Psychonauts (including two soundtracks), Costume Quest, and Stacking. Those paying more than the average would also receive Brütal Legend and its original soundtrack, along with the previously released "Amnesia Fortnight" bundle. The Bundle also added two flat price options that would include the above titles. At one level, the purchaser would become a "Slacker Backer" of Broken Age, the game being developed from the highly successful Kickstarter that occurred the year before, giving them the game and other early-access features. At a higher tier, the purchaser would also get a pair of t-shirts.[81]

Humble Origin Bundle[edit]

The Humble Origin Bundle launched on August 14, 2013, and featured games published by Electronic Arts (EA) that are redeemable on their Origin storefront. The bundle included Dead Space, Burnout Paradise, Mirror's Edge, Crysis 2, Dead Space 3, and Medal of Honor, with Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3 Starter Pack available for those that beat the average. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Uprising and Populous were added on August 22, 2013 for those who had or were to pay more than the average price. Dead Space, Burnout Paradise, Mirror's Edge, Crysis 2 and Command and Conquer include Steam keys, as EA and the Humble team wanted to find a way to make an EA/Origin-based bundle as open as possible to past customers, considering that EA would not offer the games without DRM.[82] The games included in the bundle are for Microsoft Windows only except for The Sims 3 which is for Mac OS X also. EA will donate all sales from the bundle sale to five charities: Human Rights Campaign, Watsi, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the American Red Cross, and the American Cancer Society.[82] The Origin bundle was one of the fastest-selling bundles, raising more than $3.5 million within a day of going live.[83] By the fifth day of being on sale, the bundle had surpassed $7M in revenue, making it the most successful Humble Bundle to date.[84]

Humble Warner Bros. Bundle[edit]

The Humble Warner Bros. Bundle was launched on November 5, 2013, featuring games from the publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The games included Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, F.E.A.R. 3, and Lord of the Rings: War in the North, along with Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition and Scribblenauts Unlimited for those that paid more than the average. The games were only available for Windows and required Steam to redeem and install. The Bundle's donations went to We Can Be Heroes, a charitable organization created by DC Entertainment to fight hunger in Africa.[85]

Android-based bundles[edit]

Like the above bundles, the Android-based bundles feature games that are available on both personal computer systems and Android-based mobile devices. The purchase of these bundles include the standalone clients for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, redeemable codes for Steam and other services, and similar codes to access the games through Android application stores.

Humble Bundle for Android[edit]

The Humble Bundle for Android sale started on January 31, 2012, featuring games that had both Android and Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux versions. Three games, Edge, Osmos, and Anomaly: Warzone Earth were part of the core bundle, with World of Goo given if the buyer paid over the average price. Charity funds would go towards to Child's Play and the EFF.[86] On February 9, Toki Tori was added to the bundle.[87] The bundle closed with over 150,000 sales and more than $920,000 in revenue.

Humble Bundle for Android 2[edit]

On March 19, 2012 the second Humble Bundle for Android was introduced. It contained the games Canabalt, Zen Bound 2, Cogs and Avadon: The Black Fortress as well as Swords & Soldiers for customers who paid more than the average. On March 26 another game was added to the bundle; "Snuggle Truck" made its first Android appearance. Soundtracks were included with all the Games, except Avadon: The Black Fortress. As with the previous Android Bundle, purchasers would receive copies of the games for both Android devices as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.[88]

Humble Bundle for Android 3[edit]

The third Bundle based on Android games launched on August 15, 2012, and included Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Android-based versions of Fieldrunners (debuting on Linux), Bit.Trip Beat (debuting on Linux and Android), SpaceChem, and Uplink (debuting on Android), and their respective soundtracks. Those who paid more than the current average received Spirits (debuting on Windows, Linux, and Android) and its soundtrack for free. On August 22, games from the original Humble Bundle for Android (Anomaly: Warzone Earth, Edge, Osmos, and World of Goo) were also added to the Bundle. Charitable funds went to the EFF and Child's Play foundations.

Humble Bundle for Android 4[edit]

A fourth Android bundle began on November 8, 2012. At launch it included Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Eufloria, Crayon Physics Deluxe, Splice, and Waking Mars, with Machinarium being available if the customer chooses to pay above the average bundle price. On November 15, all the original games from the Humble Bundle for Android 2 (Avadon: The Black Fortress, Canabalt, Cogs, Zen Bound 2, and Swords and Soldiers) were included to those who bought the bundle before they were included or who paid above the average.

Humble Bundle with Android 5[edit]

The fifth Android bundle began on March 5, 2013. Initially, the bundle included Beat Hazard Ultra, Dynamite Jack, Solar 2, and Nightsky HD, along with the Humble Bundle 7 version of Dungeon Defenders (that is, with all the DLC) and Super Hexagon for buyers who purchased above the average price. On March 12, 2013, Splice, Crayon Physics Deluxe, and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP were added to the bundle for purchasers who beat the average or bought the bundle before the addition of those three games.

Humble Mobile Bundle[edit]

The Humble Mobile bundle began on March 26, 2013. This bundle was named the Humble Mobile Bundle because it only featured Android versions of the games (Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X versions of the games were not included). The bundle initially included Anomaly Korea, Bladeslinger, Contre Jour, and Plants vs. Zombies, with Metal Slug 3 and The Room included for buyers that exceeded the average price. On April 2, 2013, Another World, Funky Smugglers, and Raiden Legacy were added to the bundle.

Humble Bundle with Android 6[edit]

The sixth Humble Bundle with Android support launched on June 18, 2013, and featured Aquaria, Organ Trail, Fractal, and Stealth Bastard Deluxe available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Android, along with their respective soundtracks. Pulse, an Android-only title, was also part of the bundle. Those who paid more than the average also received Frozen Synapse, and Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, and their respective soundtracks.

Humble Mobile Bundle 2[edit]

The Humble Mobile Bundle 2 began on September 25, 2013. As the first one, this bundle only featured Android versions of the games (Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X versions of the games were not included). The bundle initially included Star Command, Time Surfer, Punch Quest, and Bloons TD 5, with Ravensword: Shadowlands and Carmageddon included for buyers that exceeded the average price. On October 2, 2013, Karateka Classic, QWOP, and God of Blades were added to the Humble Mobile Bundle 2 for those who exceeded the average price.

Humble Bundle: PC and Android 7[edit]

Incredipede was one of the titles featured in the 7th Android-based bundle.

The seventh Android-based bundle was launched on October 15, 2013, and included Android, Windows, OS X, and Linux versions of Worms Reloaded, The Bard's Tale, Ticket To Ride, Greed Corp, Incredipede and Anodyne. October 22, 2013, saw the addition of Anomaly Korea, Broken Sword: Director's Cut and Organ Trail: Director's Cut.

Humble Bundle: PC and Android 8[edit]

The eighth Android-based bundle was launched on December 17, 2013. It includes Android, Windows, OS X and Linux versions of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, Gemini Rue, Jack Lumber and Little Inferno. If the average purchase price was exceeded, the following were also included: Solar 2, Bad Hotel, The Bard's Tale, Hero Academy and Anomaly 2.

Humble Bundle: PC and Android 9[edit]

The ninth PC/Android combined bundle was launched on April 9, 2014. It included Broken Sword 2, Bridge Constructor, Type:Rider, and Ravensword Shadowland. If the average purchase price was exceeded, additional 3 titles were available: The Shivah, Syder Arcade, Savant - Ascent, Kingdom Rush, Knights of Pen and Paper and their respective soundtracks.[89]

Humble Music Bundle[edit]

The first Humble Music Bundle was launched on July 26, 2012. Similar to the game bundles above, the Humble Music Bundle offered DRM-free versions, in either MP3 or FLAC formats, of five albums, Favoritism by MC Frontalot, Album Raises New and Troubling Questions by They Might Be Giants, Calling All Dawns by Christopher Tin, Best of the Valkyria Chronicles by Hitoshi Sakimoto, and Greatest Hit (Plus 13 Other Songs) by Jonathan Coulton. Paying more than the average also enabled users to obtain Twelve Remixes of Four Songs by OK Go. Selections from God of Love by Stereo Alchemy, the EP Front's Humble Remix Addendum by MC Frontalot, extras singles by OK Go and Jonathan Coulton, and the Valkyria 2 main theme music score for piano were added halfway before the bundle ended for those who pay more than the average, or already bought. Donations went to Child's Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[90]

Humble eBook and Audiobook Bundles[edit]

To date, there have been four Humble eBook Bundles and two audiobook bundle.

Humble Bundle's founders have expressed their satisfaction with sales from both eBook bundles and audiobook bundles, and expect to have more along with a separate page for eBook sales.[91]

Humble eBook Bundle[edit]

On October 9, 2012, the Humble eBook Bundle was introduced. Six books (eight if the buyer paid more than the average) were available in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB formats, DRM-free: Signal to Noise, Old Man's War, Pirate Cinema, Pump Six, Zoo City, Invasion, Stranger Things Happen, and Magic for Beginners. The payment could be sent to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Child's Play, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, or the authors, as well as to the site itself.

On October 16, five additional books were added to those that had previously bought the bundle or paid more than the average, the Penny Arcade anthologies Attack of the Bacon Robots and Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings; the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal anthologies Save Yourself, Mammal! and The Most Dangerous Game, and xkcd: volume 0.

Humble eBook Bundle 2[edit]

A second eBook bundle was released in July 2013. The full bundle was in the same DRM-free formats as before and contained Boneshaker by Cheries Priest, Just a Geek by Will Wheaton, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Machine of Death, Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black, Shards of Honor (Vorkosigan Saga #1) by Lois McMaster Bujold, Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (which appeared in the first bundle), Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, The Last Unicorn: Deluxe Edition by Peter Beagle, and xkcd: volume 0 by Randall Munroe (which also appeared in the first bundle).

Humble Audiobook Bundle featuring Recorded Books[edit]

January 2014 saw the release of the Humble Audiobook Bundle, containing audiobooks all from the confusingly-named publisher Recorded Books. The content was provided as DRM-free 160kb/s MP3 files and the audiobooks were A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, Abandon by Meg Cabot, Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Junky by William S. Burroughs, On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony, Stolen by Lucy Christopher, The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich, The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, True Grit by Charles Portis and Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper.

Humble eBook Bundle 3[edit]

The third eBook bundle was released in March/April 2014. Again, the same DRM-free formats, and it contained: Arcanum 101 by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill, Bleeding violet by Dia Reeves, Jumper by Steven Gould, The God Engines by John Scalzi, The Happiest Days of Our Lives by Wil Wheaton, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black, To Be or Not to Be by Ryan North and Zombies Vs. Unicorns: An Anthology edited by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier.[92]

The Zombies Vs. Unicorns short story collection contains The Highest Justice by Garth Nix, Love Will Tear Us Apart by Alaya Dawn Johnson, Purity Test by Naomi Novik, Bougainvillea by Carrie Ryan, A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan, The Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson, The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn by Diana Peterfreund, Inoculata by Scott Westenfeld, Princess Prettypants by Meg Cabot, Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare, The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey and Prom Night by Libba Bray.

People paying more than the average also received Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Mogworld by Yahtzee Chroshaw.[92]

People paying more than $15 additionally received the audiobook version of Homeland by Cory Doctorow and read by Wil Wheaton,[92] available in FLAC and MP3 formats.

Humble eBook Bundle 4[edit]

The fourth eBook bundle was launched in late May 2014 and ended on June 11th 2014.[93] A promotional email sent on June 4 gave the lineup as follows:

Pay what you want for The Sword & Sorcery Anthology with contributions by Charles R. Saunders, Glen Cook and George R. R. Martin, March: Book One by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, and Wizzywig: Portrait of a Serial Hacker by Ed Piskor.
Those who beat the average price will also receive From Hell by Alan Moore, The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi, The Executioness by Tobias Buckell, Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind, Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson, From Hell Companion by Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore, Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow and an audiobook novella of Lawful Interception written and narrated by Cory Doctorow.
Pay $10 or more and get everything plus Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw and Lovecraft’s Monsters with contributions by Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Joe R. Lansdale and edited by Ellen Datlow.

Humble Audiobook Bundle 2[edit]

June 11, 2014 saw the second Humble Audiobook Bundle, again presented by Recorded Books.[93]

Pay what you want for The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen, Red Rising by Pierce Brown and Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris.
People paying more than average also received How Music Works by David Byrne, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow and Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan .
A payment of more than $10 added Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.

Humble Comedy Bundle[edit]

A bundle featuring DRM-free video and audio recordings from various standup comedians was offered starting on August 28, 2013. The bundle included recordings from Louis C.K., Patrice O'Neal, Maria Bamford, Tig Notaro, Hannibal Buress, and Jim Norton.

Analysis[edit]

Success[edit]

Total raised vs. time

The first promotion was considered to be very successful. Rosen noted that they considered the million-dollar goal as a best-case scenario, but once the sale actually started, "it was immediately clear that we were on to something".[27] Rosen would later attribute part of the success to Ars Technica writer Mike Thomspon, stating that he "immediately saw the potential" of the Bundle in an article written for the website just prior to the Bundle's sale period.[94] Brandon Boyer of Boing Boing believed that it provided a model that "seems it could and should be repeated".[23] The move to offer games in a price and manner that consumers were willing to buy was contrasted to larger software publishers that place artificial limitations on their content; Mike Masnick of Techdirt believed the Humble Bundle promotion worked as it "focus[ed] on giving people real reasons to buy, rather than just feeling entitled to define the terms under which they buy and looking for ways to limit those who want to interact with you in a different manner".[95] The source for the promotion's website has been requested of Wolfire by several other groups, according to Rosen; Rosen continues to believe that many similar charitable sales can be seen in the future from the Humble Bundle's success.[27] For future Bundles, Rosen desires to include lesser-known titles in contrast to World of Goo and Braid, but has had to already reject some developers' requests to be included in a Bundle, claiming the games' quality may tarnish the Humble Indie Bundle branding. Instead, he believes smaller games with no wide profile and are "legitimately good" would be ideal for inclusion in future Bundles.[4]

As a result of the success of the bundle, other groups have started similar pay-what-you-want plans for other indie games, including "Indie Gala", "Indie Royale" and "Little Big Bunch".[42]

PC Gamer named the Wolfire team as founders of the Humble Indie Bundle as their 2011 community heroes for their support of the indie game development market.[96] Forbes listed John Graham in its 2013 "30 Under 30" leaders in the field of games for the success of the Humble Bundles.[97]

After the end of the Humble eBook Bundle, John Scalzi noted that various factors, such as brand name recognition, a lack of DRM, a focus on charity, the uniqueness of the bundle and its format, and the variety of included authors, all made the Humble eBook Bundle a success.[98] Scalzi notes that while people who participate in Humble Bundles will get less in net profit than they would have without the bundle (due to the variable percentages patrons can donate and publishers taking their cut of proceeds), but in return receive greater volume (the Humble Bundle sold 42,000 copies of eBooks in two weeks, almost as much as the average monthly bestseller). In conclusion, Scalzi lauds the idea of the Humble Bundle, and notes to future contributors that while the bundle is low-margin, it's also low-risk.[99] Novelist Cory Doctorow, who organized both eBook bundles, noted that while no publisher aside from Tor Books would participate in the bundle because of no-DRM stipulations, they still raised around $2 million for books whose circulations were earning their authors little to no money.[91]

Terence Lee of Hitbox Team also mentions that the Humble Bundle was a success for their game Dustforce, even after the bundle ended. When Humble Bundle first called the team and asked if they could port the game to Linux and bundle it, the game sold about ten copies on Steam daily. The day the Humble Indie Bundle 6 came out with Dustforce in it, sales through the Humble Bundle skyrocketed to over 50,000 copies per day. While Hitbox Team only received $178,000 out of the $2 million Humble Bundle made, the increased number of players caused daily sales of the game to jump from less than a dozen to around 50–60 copies per day.[100]

On the other hand, Binding of Isaac and Super Meat Boy developer Edmund McMillen noted in a tumblr post that the bundles are "not as successful as many would think." While the Humble Bundles are an excellent way for popular games to get a final boost in sales as well as to help lesser-known games get more attention, statistics have shown that sales dipped more in the years when Binding of Isaac and Super Meat Boy were in bundles than they were in following years. Ultimately, according to McMillen, Humble Bundles neither hurt nor help in the long run and now seem more of a tradition than anything else.[101]

Piracy[edit]

Despite the ability to get the games at nearly zero cost, Wolfire Games estimate that 25% of the traceable downloads for the first Bundle have come from software piracy by links provided in some forums that bypass the payment screen to access the games; Wolfire further surmises additional piracy occurred through BitTorrent-type peer-to-peer sharing services.[102] Rosen noted they purposely removed much of the DRM associated with games to appeal to those who would otherwise engage in software piracy, through both having the games ship without DRM and by having only limited copy protection on their website.[102] Rosen also stated that for about ten users that emailed Wolfire about being unable to pay for the software, he personally donated on their behalf.[102] Rosen comments that there may be legitimate reasons for those who appear to be pirating the game, including the inability to use the payment methods provided or that they had made a single large donation for multiple copies.[102] Rosen also considered that there are players that would simply forward the download links to "take pleasure in spreading the pirated links to their friends or anonymous buddies for fun".[102] Wolfire Games did take action to stop predatory sites, such as the closely named "wollfire.com", from selling illegal copies of the bundle.[103]

While aware of the presumed software piracy, Rosen says that Wolfire will take no steps to limit it, believing that "making the download experience worse for generous contributors in the name of punishing pirates doesn't really fit with the spirit of the bundle".[104] Rosen noted that by offering the source code of the games as an incentive, they would hope that "the community will help build them up with the same vigor that crackers tear DRM down".[27]

In preparing for the second Humble Indie Bundle sale, John Graham acknowledged that some may still download the game through illegal means, but also said that the organizers of the bundle gave their best effort to make the process of purchasing the games simple, and they also wished to create a social impact with the sales by including contributions to Child's Play and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[31] An anonymous survey conducted by Wolfire for those who felt it necessary to acquire the second Bundle from other illegitimate sources showed that some preferred the option of using peer-to-peer sharing services like BitTorrent to improve the speed and reliability of the download; as a result, Wolfire added the option to download the games through BitTorrent, hoping to entice more people to acquire the game legitimately.[105]

Software "counterfeits"[edit]

Several games in the Humble Indie Bundles have been released as open-source software as a result of the Bundles reaching certain sales levels. One such game was Wolfire's own Lugaru HD, where they released the engine under the GNU General Public License, and also included the various art assets, level designs, and other creative elements under a freely redistributable license for personal use.[106] Their intent was to allow programmers to experiment and improve the game's engine using the associated assets.[107] Wolfire later began selling the title Lugaru HD on the Mac App Store for $9.99. A company called iCoder, used the open-source resources to recreate the same game for the App Store, charging only $0.99 for their version of Lugaru. iCoder claims they have the right to recreate and charge for the game under the GNU license, but Jeffery Rosen notes that this did not apply to the art assets.[107][108][109] Also, the GPL license is not compatible with Apple's AppStore.[110] The iCoder version was taken down from the App Store after about a week since Wolfire notified Apple of the issue, though so far no explanation has been given by Apple.[111] As the iCoder version of the application was popular, being the 60th most downloaded game application prior to its removal, Wolfire offered those who purchased the iCoder version a free copy of their version and codes to unlock the game from within Steam.[112] Rosen notes that the incident may discourage developers from releasing their source in the future.[107]

Abuse[edit]

The Humble Indie Bundle 4 overlapped with a large holiday sale on the Steam software service, which offered numerous prizes by completing some achievements associated with the offered games in Steam, including entries into a raffle to win every game on the Steam service. During this overlap, Humble Bundle found that some users were abusing the system, paying the minimum amount ($0.01) for the Bundle, registering new Steam accounts, and using the newly purchased games to improve their chances for the Steam raffle. Humble Bundle considered this "unfair to legitimate entrants" in the Steam contest, and to stop it, the company altered the sale so that only those who paid more than $1.00 would receive Steam keys for the games.[113][114]

In November 2013, Humble Bundle, Inc. implemented a system on redemption of bundles that, for Steam games, would not give the user the alphanumeric key but instead automatically redeemed the key within Steam though Steam account linking as a means to avoid abuse of the key system.[17] Despite this, Ed Key, one of the developers from Proteus which was featured in Number Indie Bundle 8, has found by checking his game's key redemption logs that some third-party sites, like 7 Entertainment, have been offering keys to his and other games from other Humble Bundles for profit. The price these sites offer undercut the current price of such games on digital marketplaces and without reciprocating sales back to the developers or charity organizations. Such resales are against both Humble Bundle's and Steam's terms of service, and currently Humble Bundle, Inc. is working with affected developers to help stop this abuse.[115] 7 Entertainment has responded to these issues by changing its own terms of service to the marketplaces that use it to prevent and deal with these key sales.[116]

Criticism[edit]

Developer compensation[edit]

Alexander Zubov of Kot-in-Action Creative Artel who developed the Steel Storm games complained in an interview about the trouble he had getting his games accepted into the Bundles, originally trying to push their game's first episode as a free bonus for the second Bundle, and then trying to get their full game into the third. Zubov recalls that he had heard "nothing back" until they made a "last minute decision" to include Steel Storm: Burning Retribution in the Humble Indie Bundle 3. Even then, Zubov further described his dissatisfaction with how payment was handled, saying that they were "offered a tiny-tiny fraction of what HIB3 made, a very small (compare to the profits of HIB3) fixed amount of money" even though, according to Zubov, "when Steel Storm was released as a bonus, their sales jumped up significantly." He also mentioned that despite claims by the organizers that their sales would "sky rocket just because [they] were in the HIB3", their actual amount of sales remained relatively constant. Zubov noted that their inclusion in the third bundle "did get a lot of users who redeemed their copy of Steel Storm on Steam and Desura" and that they hoped this would help keep their "current user base, which we gained with HIB3, interested in our upcoming games". He concluded his comments about his experiences by saying that "only time will tell if HIB3 was [an] awesome deal or not. Maybe, maybe not. If it works out as a long term investment, it will be awesome indeed. If not, I will never ever participate in such capacity (as a bonus item for a small fixed payout) in the future HIB bundles. We all do have bills to pay and families to feed, don't we?"[117]

Prior to the THQ Bundle sale, THQ had issued public statements of internal financial difficulties; Ben Kuchera of Penny Arcade Reports noted that several of the games' developers at THQ have since been let go and would not see any money from the Humble Bundle sale.[118] Following the bundle, THQ's stock price increased by 30%.[119][120]

Sale timing[edit]

Prior to the Humble Botanicula Debut, Botanicula was offered for pre-order through other websites but at full price, leading designers Amanita Design to apologize for the pricing disparity, offering those who pre-ordered a soundtrack, art book, and a copy of Machinarium.[121]

Linux port[edit]

In the Humble Indie Bundle V, the game LIMBO was provided for Linux as CrossOver build. At the time, this was the first game in any Bundle to have a Wine based Linux version. As the quality and the nativeness of such Linux ports is controversial debated[122] the inclusion was criticized by some members of the Linux community. Also a petition was started to protest the inclusion of such as "non-native" described games in the Bundles.[123]

Games with DRM[edit]

Although Humble Bundle makes a point of offering games without DRM, the game Uplink in Humble Bundle for Android 3 was delivered with DRM copy-protection measures, both in the Android and the PC versions. A representative for Introversion stated on the forums that it was due to some leftover DRM code on the Android version.[124]

Kyle Orland of Ars Technica[125] and Ben Kuchera[118] were critical of the THQ Bundle's inclusion of titles limited to Windows and containing DRM. Humble Bundle co-founder John Graham replied to these complaints, stating that the THQ bundle is one of several other experiments for the Humble Bundle project in 2012, and that they are still committed to future bundles featuring smaller and indie games that run on multiple platforms without DRM.[125]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SEC filing: Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities". 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2013-11-18. 
  2. ^ Walker, John (2013-08-23). "Interview: Humble Bundle On Humble Bundles". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Thompson, Michael (2010-05-04). "Humble Bundle: greatest sale of indie games ever?". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Orland, Kyle (2011-02-28). "GDC 2011: Humble Indie Bundle Creators Talk Inspiration, Execution". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  5. ^ Thompson, Michael (2009-10-20). "2D Boy continuing "pay what you want" sale for World of Goo". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  6. ^ Breckon, Nick (2009-10-21). "Results of 2D Boy's 'Pay What You Want' World of Goo Sales Experiment Released". Shacknews. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  7. ^ Newman, Jared (2010-05-06). "Pay What You Like, Say Indie Game Makers". PC World. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  8. ^ Grubb, Jeffrey (9 May 2013). "Humble Bundle now accepts the Bitcoin digital currency". VentureBeat. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "Gamebundel accepteert bitcoins" (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Cifaldi, Frank; Graft, Kris (2011-04-22). "Humble Bundle Backed By $4.7 Million In Venture Capital". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Walker, John (2012-06-08). "A Humble Interview With The Humble Indie Bundle". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  12. ^ a b c Kuchera, Ben (2013-01-03). "How the Humble Store may challenge Steam: the business of helping indie devs sell games". Penny Arcade Reports. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
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External links[edit]