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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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  • by Bamfarooni (147312) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:37PM (#32174434)

    I wonder how this compares to the total sales all 5 (now 6) games had prior to being included in the bundle?

    Oh, and awesome job, guys. Goo is a great game. Haven't had time to get to the rest yet.

  • Indie Gaming (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spqr0a1 (1504087) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:37PM (#32174450)

    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.

    • I doubt EA and ilk would bother to get out of bed for a mere million dollars.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      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 mad

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        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.

        It also demonstrated that the Linux users were willing to shell out double compared to Windows users for quality games.

        And yes, I bought it and they run great under Ubuntu 10.04 :D

        • It also demonstrated that the Linux users were willing to shell out double compared to Windows users for quality games.

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

    • by enderjsv (1128541)

      I don't know. While I agree the current business model of larger games companies is outdated, I'm not sure this is the solution. A million dollars is pretty impressive for games that don't cost too much to develop. It's not quite as impressive for a game like modern warfare 2.

      While this excites me for the smaller developers, realistically, I don't see this kind of business model really working for a larger developer like EA. I know a lot of you don't want to hear that, but I'm just trying to be realisti

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        I personally would rather have this then yet another modern warfare. Sure the kids love that crap, but I played Doom already and will continue to play real defining games like HL2 and portal. I do not need nor want War Game Generic 12.

      • I'm ok with hearing that, since I personally don't give a rat's ass what works for EA.

        Would you believe copyright law and the business model it was intended to create when it was originally conceived was NOT designed with a mind towards what was best for the publisher? At least not exclusively?

        It's true! Imagine that!

    • by eln (21727)
      Yes it can work, for very small values of "work". It may be a legitimate route for independent games that need a gimmick like this to generate lots of press and get people to try their games. Of course, if your business model is dependent on getting lots of press, you pretty much have to be one of the first ones to do it, since the 27th company to do this isn't going to generate nearly as much press as the first one, and therefore likely won't have nearly this kind of success.

      Basically, it's a way for
      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        That's one million dollars in the week these games were offered. They have been & still are for sale via Impuse, Steam, etc...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The tone of your post is a little condescending. World Of Goo originally sold for $20 a pop on it's own. Available on Steam etc. 2dboy were probably making more than "beer money" before they had even their first pay-what-you-want sale. So I'm not sure they needed a gimmick. That $1 million you're talking about was just made in a week. 2dboy got $145k from that, split between just the 2 of them presumably. $70k is not such a bad annual salary where I'm from, but maybe it's just beer money in San Francisco. I
    • It is a momentous slap in the face to the big boys like EA and ilk.

      A million dollars isn't a momentous slap in the face to anyone. EA can waste that much money in about 15 minutes. Hell, how many chuzzlewit "senior associate vice president in charge of blah" types got million dollar bonuses at EA last year? A million bucks? Hell, the the amount donated to child's play is probably the amount spent by a studio on a major title's launch party.

      Kudos to the indies, but a watershed moment this ain't.

      • Maybe a software publisher who doesn't give a shit about a million bucks, and who wastes that much in 15 minutes is not actually necessarily a good thing to have around, not necessarily a good thing to be designing laws to promote the creation and sustenance of?

        Just a thought.

  • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by chill (34294)

      Considering this was already the SECOND time this has happened recently...

      http://games.slashdot.org/story/09/10/28/030237/2D-Boy-Posts-Pay-What-You-Want-Final-Wrap-up [slashdot.org]

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alarindris (1253418) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:07PM (#32174914)
      Yeah, It just goes to show the impact that advertising has.

      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.

      Whether it's indie games or music, it's all about advertising. People can say fuck the middleman all they want, but that middleman (large label) has the money/connections to promote and advertise so you can make some money.

      Granted, if you're product is FANTASTIC it will go viral, but without the initial kick that advertising gets, you don't stand to make much money without a lot of footwork and effort.

      • Whether it's indie games or music, it's all about advertising. People can say fuck the middleman all they want, but that middleman (large label) has the money/connections to promote and advertise so you can make some money.

        Now, if only the middlemen would accept their role as facilitators instead of trying to be owners.
        They need to realize that their customers are not consumers, but the creators.
        Then they can start marketing their services appropriately and get out of the copyright game.

        • In the days of yore, where we still had to have physical media, it was much harder to survive without a record label. They had the cash, not only to produce your albums and advertise, but to get the media manufactured. With the rise online sales, you no longer need the middleman to get your records pressed; the cost to host an album is very low per customer. The middleman is starting to be cut out, and if he doesn't reinvent himself, he will fail. Personally, I think the way forward will see the artists kee
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tom (822)

      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

      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        World of Good

        Now that's a game I wouldn't mind playing. To hell with all the "we have the most realistic blood spatter" or "the most awesome beat-down" or "we have teh h00k3rz" games. This is what I want. (And I don't mean 'Ned Flanders' world either - I'm atheist. But more and better graphic violence doesn't do it for me. )

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      It shows it is possible. It shows reputation is the real money. I believe such a yearly/bi-yearly event could be held.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      To an extent you're right this isn't something that can be counted on in the long term. However, things like this do attract the attention of smaller developers. Knowing that there's that much interest in commercial software makes them more interested in porting software or making ways of using their software legally on other OSes more appealing.

      Remember there was a time when MS and EA would've jumped at the chance to get 1m in sales. And I'm sure there's an up and coming company out there that's in a si
  • by NiteMair (309303) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:38PM (#32174454)

    I'm ecstatic that they're going to open the source!

    Having just experienced the Alpha 2 release of Haiku, I'd love to see a few of these games ported to that platform as well.

    Now I'm glad I bought the Humble Indie Bundle, even though I haven't had time to play any of the games yet ;)

  • Aquaria also OSS (Score:5, Informative)

    by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:39PM (#32174472) Homepage Journal

    Along with Gish, Penumbra Overture, and Lugaru, Aquaria is also being open sourced. Lugaru's game engine was GPL'd but they're retaining the art assets, so I'm assuming the others will follow suit.

    Great week for indie devs, charities, and gamers all around.

  • That's pretty cool. I'm happy for the developers.

    Still, you have to admit the cost of developing these games was probably pretty small (full disclosure, I'm not familiar with all of them). While this business model could (and obviously does) work for cheaper-to-develop games like these, I really couldn't see it working for more expensive endeavors.

    Good news for smaller developers, though.

    • by xeoron (639412)
      I found this a major buying point: once you paid, you could download any or all version of the games for Linux, Mac OS, and MS Windows. I grabbed all versions for my different systems, so now I just need to get the saved game data synced across platforms once I start playing them during some down time.
  • The stats (Score:5, Informative)

    by butalearner (1235200) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:40PM (#32174490)

    They offer the following breakdown:

    Developers: $134k each

    Childsplay: $154k

    EFF: $148k

    Pretty amazing for seven days. I admit I kicked in a little extra once I heard they'd go open source if they hit $1M. Note that the open source bit doesn't mean free as in free beer: Lugaru for example is including enough assets in the release that the demo will build, but the assets are still proprietary. As another reward for breaking $1M they also extended the promotion another 7 days.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hansamurai (907719)

      The counter has been fixed to a four day extension, they mentioned that was what they intended on IRC.

    • Nice - this was my first monetary contribution to child's play and the eff. I kicked in more than average apparently, but I did so purely because of the charity angle, otherwise what I initially wanted to pay was much closer to the average.

    • Well in the case of Lugaru at least, if anything is interesting, it would be the source code. I don't know if you've looked at the game but it's assets are horrible. It is exceedingly low quality an amateurish in terms of graphics. However, that doesn't mean that the engine might not be interesting.

      • by rm999 (775449)

        Well, as they say, "the coding style is what you might expect from a self-taught high school student, so it could be a challenge to understand, but feel free to give it a shot!"

        This 12,000 line file really does remind me of something I would have written in high school (http://hg.icculus.org/icculus/lugaru/file/0b8beb014a87/Source/GameTick.cpp).

        Anyway, kudos to the developer for open sourcing it!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by OjM (1781592)
        And the maker of that game has now an awesome team, which is making a spiritual sequel, Overgrowth. It's got both graphics and gameplay that makes some "top" games be ashamed.
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        So where can we see the assets you made that are so wonderful?

    • That's pretty interesting. I guess it means a lot of people went with the default split? If you used the customized split it defaulted to split evenly 3 ways between Child's Play, the EFF, and the 5 devs, but that looks like a pretty even 7 way split.
  • Penumbra (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:43PM (#32174534) Homepage

    Penumbra is pants-wetting scary. Seriously, if you don't play any other game offered in this bundle, check it out. It ranks up there with Dead Space, Clock Tower, Undying, Fatal Frame, and the other big boys.

    In fact, if the circumstances and your attitude are right, I daresay it challenges the crown for scariest game series.

    • by dunezone (899268)
      Penumbra is just awesome. Walking around dark corridors with little eyes looking at you from the distant dark and once that happens its already too late.
    • I have played Dead Space (the beginning anyways), and it is not even comparable.

      Penumbra is so scary my heart was racing while I played parts of it.
      It was by far the scariest experience of my life.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        I have played Dead Space (the beginning anyways), and it is not even comparable.

        While I agree that Penumbra surpasses Dead Space's scare factor, you really should try going through the whole game. There are parts of Dead Space where I literally had to turn the game off.

        Dead Space + 42" flatscreen + mid-range surround sound = change of underwear. ESPECIALLY the portions where you have to solve (simple) puzzles while shit that you can't kill is never more than five seconds away from you.

        • Amen to that, brudda. Dead Space took me a long time to finish because I had to keep taking "scared poopless" breaks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      Penumbra is pants-wetting scary.

      I don't understand.

      I've seen little kids pee their pants pretty often, and never once have I been scared.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        I've seen little kids pee their pants pretty often, and never once have I been scared.

        I guess they weren't in your car, then.

        I need another game on this laptop... hmm, lugaru's small. This really was a stroke of genius, I don't know if I've ever even heard of this game, now I've bought it, for however trivial an amount.

    • by SharpFang (651121)

      And remember, Penumbra in the game comes with a coupon code reducing the price of the 3-part Penumbra bundle on the developer's site from $20 to $5. So $5 for both sequels.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      And according to the FAQ [wolfire.com], Frictional Games is offering the rest of the Penumbra series to Humble Bundle purchases for $5...

      Which means another 2 more games for $5.

    • I got it when they were selling the 3 games (2.5 really - the last is just a "we promised a trilogy, so here's some extra since we cleaned up the story in game 2) for $10. I'd toss down $30-$40 for the three games, no problem. I'm stingy on games, but the Penumbra series was awesome. First-person horror-puzzlers.

      It wasn't the most awesome engine, the graphics weren't fantastic, but it was a solid, god damn creepy game.

      Waking up after a horrific nightmare of an experience, somewhere you'd been before, an
  • Penumbra rocks (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I bought Penumbra Overture (and its sequel, Black Plague) a while back on Steam and I just have to plug them here in case you've missed them and since they're so awesome. They're basically 1st person horror adventures. The protagonist ends up stuck in a mine in Greenland and has to explore it in order to get out while unraveling the mystery of what's happened there. The games are very atmospheric and have an interesting, unfolding storyline with supernatural elements (Black Plague takes off where Overture e

  • DRM free games are selling, and now as a result being open sourced?

    I for one would just like to say, awesome.
    I will totally be dling the src code.
  • by alexandre (53) *

    Great job!

    Would there be a better solution next time not to give out 50k$+ to credit cards, paypal and others?

    • > Would there be a better solution next time not to give out 50k$+ to credit cards, paypal and others?

      Do they even take credit cards?

  • My price was $50, and I think I'd be getting my money's worth at twice that. I put most into the developers and child's play columns, since I have already donated to EFF separately (and encourage you to, also).

    There seem to be very few transactions these days that are a positive-sum. This is one of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Simetrical (1047518)

      There seem to be very few transactions these days that are a positive-sum. This is one of them.

      Any voluntary transaction between two parties with full knowledge (or close enough to full knowledge) is positive-sum. In particular, each party must be benefiting, because otherwise he wouldn't participate. You give money to a store owner in exchange for a product because you want the product more than the money, and he wants the money more than the product: you're both better off afterwards. This is why economic activity creates wealth, rather than just shifting it around.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:13PM (#32175004)
    The slashdot effect is being used as a force for good for a change, and it feels great to see that! I expect another surge in sales. I just kicked in $10 myself (which makes me a cheapskate compared to the average Linux user).
    • I already own most of them, but I'll probably toss $10 in, weighted towards the EFF.

      Aquaria is the one I still don't have.

  • I'm glad I woke up when I did. I saw the story and went to the wolffire web site and threw in $10 split three ways (close to the average Mac contribution). I probably won't play any of these games, but I still think it's good to support indie developers, and I like the fact that they bundled it with charities as well.
  • 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.
  • And I'm glad I did. Besides Goo (which was worth the price of admission) the rest of the games were lackluster at best. They were indie games but for stuff meant to run on lower end hardware I was pretty surprised by the hardware reqs for the games. I guess my old rig can't even do indie games at this point in time.
  • This is from their realtime stat:
    Win: $7.98
    OS/X: $10.19
    Linux: $14.5

    So somehow people who actually pay for their OS are being the cheapos here?

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