The folks behind the Humble Indie Bundle, one of the great pay-what-you-want success stories of this year, are offering their second bundle of games today – 5 more DRM-free games, priced at what you want to pay with the option to donate some of that contribution to charity.
Pay-what-you-want has become an interesting alternative business model online, with bands like Radiohead demonstrating that it can be an even more successful than traditional pricing. Of course, not everyone can generate quite that buzz, and a recent study pointed to another option if you can’t command rockstar attention for your pay-as-you-want endeavor: combine it with a voluntary payment to charity.
Perhaps that’s what helped the first Humble Indie Bundle be such a success this spring. Almost 140,000 contributors shelled out nearly $1.3 million for the indie game developers, with $400,000 earmarked for charity. “We were blown away by the success of the first Humble Indie Bundle,” says co-founder John Graham, “so we decided it would be a shame if we didn’t try to do it again.”
This second bundle includes 5 different games – critically-rated puzzle game Braid, point-and-click adventure game Machinarium, puzzle game Osmos, action game Cortex Command and a new real-time strategy game (launching as part of the bundle) Revenge of the Titans. The games are DRM-free and work across platforms; there are Windows, Mac and Linux versions of all 5 games, with Braid and Cortex Command making their Linux debut in the bundle. (A good thing, as Linux users contributed twice as much as Windows users last time around.)
When you purchase the games, you can set your price, then allocate how much of that goes to the game developers, how much to charity, and how much is a “tip” for the Humble Bundle itself (as Humble Bundle doesn’t have one of its own games in this package).
The charities remain the same as they did the first time around: the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play. And if the study about charity donations improving a pay-as-you-want campaign is right, then that’s a boon to this second endeavor.
Humble Bundle, which has just been accepted into Y Combinator‘s incubator program, hopes to repeat its previous success. According to Graham, “It could be that we just got really lucky, but we think it might be something more substantial, that if you treat your customers well by not imposing onerous DRM on them and supporting Mac OS X and Linux (supporting Mac and Linux literally doubled our revenue last time) they will treat you well too.”
After all, it’s not terribly difficult to find BitTorrents of games and download them for free, no matter the price that game makers set. So with the Humble Bundle, you get to set your own price, download great games, and support both indie game developers and charities at the same time.