Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Indie Spotlight: The Humble Bundle

I’m a sucker for digital distribution deals, indie games, and innovative sales models. I’m pleased to introduce to you a package that includes all these for an absolutely unbeatable price: Whatever you want. That’s right, over at there’s a week long deal on a five game bundle that you can get for a price of your choice. If you wanted to you could buy the whole shebang for $0.01, completely DRM free. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend that because supporting indie developers is a good thing. But hey, it’s all up to you. Oh yeah, a part of the money you spend this way goes to charity, and you can even choose how to split your spendings. Want to make a $20 donation to Child’s play? Just get the bundle and let 100% of your payments go to to them. Take that Blizzard and your overpriced “charity” monk pet.

Normally one would expect such a bundle to be made of crappy games that won’t sell otherwise, but I can tell you that at least World of Goo absolutely isn’t a crappy game at all.

Now, I haven’t played Gish, Aquaria, Lugaru, or Penumbra Overture but even if they all were unplayable crap there is no way you won’t get your money’s worth out of this bundle. I’m sure though that they aren’t all terrible, though they are surely not AAA quality.

I've mentioned World of Goo a couple of times on this blog. It is that good.

Aquaria seems to be a 2D sidescrolling action game placed in a lush underwater atmosphere (in which you can still shoot fireballs for some reason!), while Lugaru features the adventures of a biped hare well versed in martial arts.  Somewhat darker overtones can be found in Penumbra Overture, which, on first sight, looks like a classic adventure game in a somewhat modern 3D engine. There might be some action in there, I really don’t know yet. The videos available are… vague. Finally we have Gish, a 2D sidescroller featuring a ball of tar and a physics engine. From what I can see, the game is more of a puzzle-platformer than an action game, but I hear there are people who quite like those.

In summary, none of these games look as if they are as good as World of Goo, but they don’t look awful either and should be good for a couple of short gaming sessions. I see absolutely no reason not to buy this package, what with you being able to pick the price and all. Go check it out, even I’ll get it even though I already own World of Goo (and that was worth every single cent of the €20 I paid for it!)

But enough of the advertising (no, I’m in no way affiliated with any company involved) – let’s talk about this model of sales for a minute. At the time of this writing, 24214 people have bought the bundle and spent an average of $7.89 on it. On one hand, that is not a lot of money and these games sell for a lot more individually. When World of Goo had this type of sale, people paid $2.03 on average. World of Goo is now much older and still people were willing to pay almost 4 times the price for this bundle. While these numbers may seem very low, I think that most of the profits made here are money that wouldn’t have been made at all otherwise. Who buys obscure indie games for ~$20 a piece anyway?

Additionally, the games’ creators get some nice advertising this way, of course. People who like these games might buy the next releases by those companies at full price (or even the already existing sequels in the case of Penumbra) , or they might tell their friends about it who will buy the games after the sale ends. The charity aspect (along with the free split) only increases the value of advertising and is meant to increase the average amount spent, I suppose. Whether or not this worked I don’t know. I’m sure we will get detailed statistics on that once the sale ends, so I’m looking forward to that.

Now go support independent and DRM free games!

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