The Humble Bundle: A Potted History

Since 2010, Humble Bundles have been sold online in their millions, offering a huge variety of games to players and raising huge amounts of money for thirteen different charities. The Bundles have offered a new way of buying games, creating a platform for smaller titles and giving PC gaming a much needed boost.

What is a Humble Bundle, then?

A Humble Bundle is most often (but not always) a collection of games offered on the Humble Bundle website. They can be lesser known games, AAA titles, or a mixture of the two. They are put up for sale for a limited period of time, and the customer decides how much they will pay for the collection. This can be as little as $0.01, but bonuses such as extra games are offered when a customer pays over a certain amount.

The original Humble Bundle featured games such as World of Goo and Aquaria, but later collections featured a wide array of games. Titles such as Saints Row 2 and Saint’s Row: The Third have appeared, as well as successful indie games such as Limbo and Bastion. The Bundles have branched out into other media too, such as ebooks with the Humble eBook Bundle, and stand up comedy with the Humble Comedy Bundle.

The charities the Bundle supports include Child’s Play, the charity set up by gamers to support children in hospital with toys, books and games, and the Human Rights Campaign, supporting LGBT rights. The amount raised by them for these charities, as of September 25th 2013, is a whopping $25 million!

The Humble Bundles have been a huge success right from the get go. Mike Masnick of Techdirt believed it was due to the fact that this model ‘focused on giving people real reasons to buy.’ The fact that the games are DRM free, a real sticking point in the gaming world, has also certainly helped. In fact, the system has been so successful that several similar systems have been set up, such as the Indie Gala.

However, there have been problems with the system. Despite the fact game bundles can be bought for as little as £0.01, there have still been problems with piracy. 25% of the traceable downloads for the first Bundle came from pirated copies that were downloaded by bypassing the payment screen on their website. There has also been criticism from some developers as to how games are accepted into bundles, and controversy when the THQ Bundle came out, as it was released when THQ announced financial difficulties.

Despite these problems, the Humble Bundle has continued to be a great platform for indie developers and games, as well as a fantastic fundraiser for worthy charities. Hopefully, we will see the Humble Bundle continue on into 2014 and raish much more cash and awareness.

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