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Open Source PC Games (Games) The Almighty Buck Games

Indie Pay-What-You-Want Bundle Reaches $1 Million 238

Posted by kdawson
from the doing-well-by-doing-good dept.
Spinnacre writes "The week-long Humble Indie Bundle, a pay-what-you-feel-adequate promotion, reached a million dollars in total contributions with just 50 minutes of sale time remaining. For a minimum price of a penny, gamers could get DRM-free downloads for World of Goo, Gish, Aquaria, Lugaru, Penumbra: Overture, and Samorost 2. The bundle gained great success immediately after being featured on sites such as Ars Technica and Slashdot for followup blog posts about game piracy and multi-platform gaming." According to this tweet from Steve Swink, the milestone means that several games will release their source code. In fact Wolfire is in the process of creating a public source code repository for Lugaru; Aquaria, Gish, and Penumbra: Overture are also due to be opened up within the next week.
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Indie Pay-What-You-Want Bundle Reaches $1 Million

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoupGuru (723634) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:38PM (#32174452)
    I don't think anyone else will be able to replicate it, though. I think you get the good press for being one of the first to try it and then it becomes old news when someone else tries.
  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nlawalker (804108) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:42PM (#32174518)

    Let's see... as of right now, the total contributed is $1,030,536, and the total number of contributions is 113,838, making the average contribution $9.05 for a bundle of four games (5 if the people who purchased the bundle before Penumbra was added still get it).

    An executive at EA just blew his nose on $1,030,536. They are not interested.

  • Re:Indie Gaming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:45PM (#32174566) Homepage Journal

    This shows that the giving freedom to your customers can work. It is a momentous slap in the face to the big boys like EA and ilk.

    This also shows that people won't pay very much for games if you let them decide how much they will pay, and EA is not interested in getting less money per game. They want to bang out the big number of big-budget titles that let them play up in the rarefied air where, presumably, they pay little taxes, where cities in fact will offer them deals to come to their town and employ their best and brightest.

    With that said, getting money is good, and this surely provided sales that wouldn't have otherwise been made. I was too lazy to even play the goo demo for example, and I bought the bundle and downloaded goo first. Shrug.

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:46PM (#32174572) Homepage

    You have to remember though, EA has FAR more cash with which it can reach non-hardcore gamers (i.e. people that enjoy playing games, but aren't an active part of the culture and don't pay attention to independent games).

    Honestly, do you think the average Gamestop-goer has even heard of all of these games, much less knew about the bundle? With some serious money behind a marketing campaign, something like this could have been far bigger.

  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intron (870560) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:07PM (#32174896)

    What it does show is that the average target price for a game seems to be 1.80$USD.

    I don't think people think that way - dividing the total by the number of games. I think that they averaged spending $9 and some would have done it for one game or three games. The fact that there were five in the bundle just meant that more people were willing to participate.

  • Re:Indie Gaming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m ail.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:11PM (#32174970)

    Scarcity means higher prices, perhaps? There aren't that many Linux games to begin with.

    I suspect a bigger effect is "I want more games on my platform, so I want to encourage this sort of thing." (Related, but different.)

  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:15PM (#32175026)

    An executive at EA just blew his nose on $1,030,536.

    And then tried to figure out how to best claim that indie game developers stole from EA.

    "Let's see, a million dollars. That would be three million dollars that would have been spent on an EA licensed version of world of goo. FOUR million if you count the last half of the game as downloadable content. 6 times 4 million... 24 million...

    Betty get in here! Immediate press release! Indie developers have just stolen 32 million dollars from the video game industry!"

  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by longacre (1090157) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:15PM (#32175032) Homepage
    Thing is, a lot of folks probably felt like they were donating to a good cause when they paid for this bundle, and upped their payments accordingly, whereas there would be no positive karma from giving more than a penny to EA.
  • by icebraining (1313345) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:17PM (#32175060) Homepage

    Which is *less* than games with heavy DRM (according to those companies like EA et all). So it does support the world view: DRM hurts sales.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:33PM (#32175296) Homepage Journal

    True, it was a big marketing stunt.

    But it was more than just that. It was cross-platform, which won them a lot of hearts from the Linux and Mac people. It's indie developers, which a lot of us feel closer to and more readily give them our money. It was DRM-free, which is one more reason to actually buy it. And it was a "choose your price", which takes away one of the most typical last-minute-resistance issues "hm, I kinda like it, but it's too expensive".

    All in all, it was a good deal, absolutely. And even though I already owned World of Good, I gave them something well above their reported averages. And you know what? I made a copy for my girlfriend because I figured that we could just the same have bought it twice for half the money each, so what's the problem? And with the "no DRM" approach, I could. And I'm pretty sure they don't mind. And that's how the software business ought to work.

    We all say "vote with your wallet" all the time. Apparently, a lot of us did.

  • by springbox (853816) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:39PM (#32175378)
    Maybe now I can play Penumbra without being freaked out by the spiders. That's what I liked about the Thief games; the editor let you delete the definitions for the spider objects.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:56PM (#32175576)

    No, you just want something for free. If you're too cheap to afford a single penny, then I'd question your ability to afford a computer. Even a homeless person could scrounge up the bare minimum necessary to show at least a little respect to the developers.

    Oh, I forgot - this is Slashdot, home of the Open Source zealots who believe that copyright only matters when it's protecting something covered under the GPL. Carry on...

  • Re:Finally (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @05:33PM (#32175978)

    Except they said they still don't feel like they got "ripped" off, whereas apparently Ubisoft feels ripped off if your net connection is spotty.

    Do some reading: http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Saving-a-penny----pirating-the-Humble-Indie-Bundle [wolfire.com]

    Seriously, they make over a million bucks, donate over 300k to charity, and are completely happy; but you want to make mountains out of molehills when they don't even feel that way!

  • I disagree. I've read a few of the other blog posts from Wolfire that have been posted on Slashdot in the past. It seems to me, their views (Wolfire) are very much aligned with the majority view held on Slashdot. That is, that DRM is an ineffective combatant against piracy and that it only hurts legitimate customers.

    If you read the link that you posted, more carefully, they point out that they are not taking action to stop piracy of their games. Their stance is that any kind of digital restriction imposed on their games could negatively affect a paying customer. He goes on to point out that the trade-off of hurting just one customer is a compromise they are not willing to make, just in order to combat the seemingly marginal effect of piracy on their sales.

    If you check out some of the other blog posts [wolfire.com] on their website, they talk about how piracy is overstated and has a marginal effect on actual sales. In other words, piracy is not creating a loss in sales, because the pirate would never have been a paying customer in the first place. The motivation for piracy may vary from the inability to pay, compulsion to download, or even the challenge of cracking digital imposed restrictions. However, the average pirate may not be downloading software, music, or movies simply to use it. That is simply an ignorant point of view taken by the likes of the BSA, MPAA, and RIAA to justify overstated loss projections. What is more likely, and realistic, is that consumers get no value out of the respective products and sales have declined with value proportionately. It may be true that some consumers have turned to piracy for media they expect to consume, but the actual loss effects on the bottom line have very little to do with the majority of pirates.

    So the question remains, how many paying customers do you have to piss off with digitally imposed restrictions before it has a real, and noticeable, effect on your bottom line?

  • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jyx (454866) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:05PM (#32177082)

    An executive at EA just blew his nose on $1,030,536. They are not interested.

    As someone else mentioned, a few *old* indie games have made over a million bucks in the span of a week. This is news worthy.

    If your having trouble in understanding why, your not thinking about it properly.

    This isn't about impressing or replacing the EA's of the world its about:

    1) Demonstrating that you don't need a multi million dollar empire to create fun games that people want to play.
    2) Small developers making a reasonable/good living by developing games.
    3) (potentially) open sourced works != no more income.

    Personally, I'm saddened that when ever there is a story about some open/gpl project making money, the highest modded posts all say "But [closed multi mega corp] makes 3 times that much during coffee break". What is this obsession with striking it rich? Why do we look down upon people making a "reasonable" amount from their efforts because other entities with questionable business ethics make more money?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:25PM (#32177294)

    I pirated it.

    Then mailed some cash to Child's Play.

    If I can't use their payment schemes or mail it to them directly, I'll just cut out the middleman

  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khellendros1984 (792761) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:04PM (#32177632) Journal
    I would pay...but not as much as I would for indie cross-platform games with a bundled charity donation. I paid a good deal above the average payment, but I think if I say a similar package from [major developer], I might pay something around the $10-ish average from this sale.
  • Re:Not at all (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dmneoblade (848781) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @08:44PM (#32177940)
    How, exactly, are they pirates? There was no minimum amount set. If I got a game on sale for $15 instead of the retail $60, does that make me a pirate? Last I checked, I still bought goods at a price they were willing to be sold at.
  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ElderKorean (49299) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @09:52PM (#32178398)

    Thing is, a lot of folks probably felt like they were donating to a good cause when they paid for this bundle, and upped their payments accordingly, whereas there would be no positive karma from giving more than a penny to EA.

    My thoughts too.

    I just purchased the bundle, though I've bought World of Goo previously.

    I paid more than the current average for these games. Though that amount is still more money then I have ever given to EA.

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