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Humble subscription service is dumping Mac, Linux access in 18 days (arstechnica.com)
317 points by _hao 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 156 comments

Ever since they've been bought out by IGN, humble's strategy has been baffling.

They switched from Monthly to Choice but quickly had issues because they had to provide a lot more games (reducing the quality of each individual games), the price for new subscribers (20 usd) was too high and existing users who were grandfathered could easily skip a month (I'm pretty sure they still made money on those who forgot to skip a month).

Now, they're returning to a similar model as the Monthly, but long time subscribers end up paying more than new subscribers (due to currency exchange fees). They should have fixed the amount to something like 14 usd so that long time subscribers would stay to keep their discounted price.

And, to prevent skipping a month, they now reset the 20% discount on the humble store to 10% every time a month has been skipped and only increase it back to 20% after 12 consecutive unskipped months. It could be a good strategy if not for the fact that the humble store is not cheap, the 20% discount barely made it competitive with other online game stores. So, instead of incentivising people from not pausing months, they're just incentivising people to not buy from their store.

And then finally, I have no idea for the reasoning behind locking the games behind a launcher. Why couldn't they keep the DRM free games for platforms not covered by the launcher?

I don't understand their approach either but it hasn't helped them one bit that the market for 'subscription-like games for PC' became much more competitive and a lot of the competition is either a far better deal or 'free' - Microsoft's Game Pass, Amazon Prime Gaming, the Epic Store giveaways, etc.

They also want to move to the 'subscription-like' for Windows. That is what this move essentially boils down to. Simplify pricing, get rid of cheapest tier. Simplify offering, remove Linux and Mac miniscule part of market. Get your launcher with your titles to the gamers.

Not that their offerings are that great or partly already not included to others...

Removing Linux and Mac because "minuscule" is such a classic MBA-driven move. Linux and Mac is where you get the power users who sell you, by word of mouth, to their circle of friends and family on PC. You don't just lose goodwill, you lose sales even in your target market. But you can't see that on a spreadsheet, so...

This sort of thing smells of vicious downward spiral.

If they go Windows-only they're in direct competition with PC Game Pass which is cheaper and packed with AAA titles. I'm not optimistic about this move.


Not only packed with triple aaa titles but cheaper and subsidized by Microsoft. They've already commmited to everyone getting the next Elder Scrolls or Fallout as part of it.

Or EA Play for under half the price... Not great, but still decent library... The competition on that market is tough and their own publishing catalog is frankly pathetic...

I get that free with my PC Game Pass :D

Funny because for this developer [1] [2] it appears that small user base more than pulls its weight for submitting high quality bug reports. (That alone seems like great value that should encourage supporting alternative platforms like Linux that even a MBA-holder can understand).

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28978086

[2] https://old.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/qeqn3b/despite_hav...

That's only because he wants the product to be used, not only bought, a developer point of view. From an MBA point of view, the ideal product is shelfware i.e. something you buy and immediately forget about. Users who actually use what they bought are a regrettable cost of doing business.

They're also platforms without Game Pass i.e. with much less competition.

There is Arcade for macOS/iOS et al, but no AAA titles or anything like that

Yeah, Arcade's selection is very lackluster. I have it as part of my Apple One subscription and I personally enjoy it, but I'm not much of a gamer and I'm pretty sure most serious players would rather have Game Pass.

> But you can't see that on a spreadsheet, so...

If true, that just means that a small spreadsheet is dangerous. Not that going by numbers is bad by itself.

> who sell you, by word of mouth, to their circle of friends and family

The warcry of uberfans of this or that IP the world over. I don't buy it anymore. That group can help, but they're not necessary for an IP/service to move forward. Worse, they have higher demands and expectations and feel personally offended when you do wrong by them.

Whether it's Humble dropping Linux or Marvel not lampshading a character detail, I'm moving closer to the perspective that a sold ticket is a sold ticket. But a sold ticket that doesn't result in a swarm of complaint emails is worth its weight in gold.

Without the silly DRM launcher, they would have had no complaining emails or support tickets either.

> a sold ticket is a sold ticket

> But a sold ticket that doesn't result in a swarm of complaint emails is worth its weight in gold

What? Service sucks but we're not supposed to complain? We're supposed to just pay quietly and shut up?

It's comments like these that makes me glad piracy exists.

In this case, Humble is taking more of a "don't pay; go talk to someone else" approach. They don't care if you go pirate the IP.

I think it matters when a service or good is new, but not so much later. In the 90s when you had to convince people that video games were worth the time + most people didn't have a home PC? Yeah, in that case a person who plays games on their Linux machine is important to growing the community. Same for things like trying to convince people to watch anime back when you often had to buy fansubbed VHSes in the mail.

Now everybody and their mom knows what video games are + they're an accepted component of life and there's a huge gaming market, so uberfans aren't necessary for growth.

"In the 90s when you had to convince people that video games were worth the time + most people didn't have a home PC? Yeah, in that case a person who plays games on their Linux machine is important to growing the community."

There were no games available on Linux in the '90s.*

* Except for those specifically written there.

> There were no games available on Linux in the '90s.

Indeed. Before 1998 there wasn't even a proper full-blown desktop.

Now, I wouldn't go quite that far. (I've been a Linux user since 1992-ish 0.99pl12 or 14.) It was pretty competitive with other Unixes, particularly since it didn't cost a million, billion dollars.

I guess it depends on one's definition of "full-blown desktop" - KDE is from '98 and GNOME followed later, even Window Maker is from '97, but if one was happy with fvwm then he'd have been sorted since '93.

I wonder if these people also push to release the apps their companies make for Linux phones. After all those are the power users pushing the word of mouth of great apps they get on their Linux phones...

I actually doubt that. Looking at what I consider the best metric of market. That is Steam Hardware survey the Mac and Linux have combined market share of 3.8%...

The Windows power-gamers can do the marketing as well, by pointing where to get cheap games when there is great deal around.

I really think that Linux crowd is more vocal on forums than in reality.

You're doing the same mistake, looking at the issue through numbers.

Let's say I am a power user, and I have 10 friends. I rave about a service because it serves me so well, my friends follow my lead, and now the service sees 9% users on Mac an 91% on Windows. A Linux power-user does the same, and now the service has 4.5% users on Linux, 4.5% on Mac, and 91% on Windows. Our friends then "recruit" their friends, and so on and so forth until the numbers are overwhelmingly pro-Windows - but the chains didn't start there.

Scenario 2: a Windows friend tells me a service is great, he's seen it on this video and blablabla. I check and it's just for Windows. Not only will I not sign up, I will probably badmouth it whenever the subject comes up. So chances are that at least some of our common friends will follow my lead and not sign up, even just because "what if I buy a Mac tomorrow? Their laptops are so nice, I just can't afford it right now but once I get a new job..."

You can't see these stories in a spreadsheet, because virality and clout are undocumented, so to speak, but they are often the difference between a healthy growing business and a dying MBA-driven shell of a company.

Does the math here make zero sense? If you have 91% windows and 9% mac, and linux users suddenly surge, how do you end up at 4.5% mac, 4.5% linux, and 91% windows users still? The only way that makes sense is if the mac users converted to linux. Otherwise this would almost seem to be in favour of windows users since they're relative userbase increases enough to outset surges in linux power users onboarding? With the ten friends narrative 91 windows users, 9 mac users, into 91 windows users, 9 mac users, 9 linux users would not result in a pro-windows numbers. Also the notion that linux users "DEFINITELY" want to game on linux seems not entirely based in facts or references to anything. I've used Mac/Linux for the entirety of my highschool, college, and career time. Interacted with plenty. I've never felt if suddenly a store widely supported linux/mac there'd be a surge of new adoption. I've gamed on Linux for a long time (and many times games run under wine/proton work better than windows which is awesome!), but I also game on windows equally, as do my peers without issue or complaint.

Secondly that second point seems entirely vengeful and needless. If one of my linux using friends said as such to me I'd think they were being overly rude and spiteful, but worst of all I think such habits taints the view of developers and maintainers about the userbases. Why would developers want to support a userbase (if indeed the linux userbase all felt this way which I believe they do not) who would " badmouth it whenever the subject comes up" simply because they received a recommendation from their friend(?) that didn't support their preferred operating system? Also "maybe I'll buy a Mac tomorrow?" seems disconnected from reality by and large.

Finally virality and clout are absolutely documented. Is that not the premise of... every single social media platform these days? Every algorithmic recommendation engine is trying to represent virality and clout, since those terms directly tie in to user views, and thus profits!

> Does the math here make zero sense?

It does, if you read what I wrote. 1 mac + 10 win + 1 linux + 10 win = 1 mac + 1 linux + 20 windows = 4.5% mac + 4.5% linux + 91% windows.

> this would almost seem to be in favour of windows users since they're relative userbase increases enough to outset surges

If you read it as numbers, yes. But the point is that certain things cannot be expressed in numbers. Because the mac/linux userbase is composed disproportionately more of power-users, who have disproportionately more clout among their network of acquaintances when it comes to IT and games, their overall influence is much higher than the numbers convey. They start the chains.

Your statement on not feeling this or that, btw, is directly negated by the very history of HumbleBundle.

> Why would developers want to support a userbase

We are not talking about developers here, but distributors.

> Every algorithmic recommendation engine is trying to represent virality and clout

That doesn't mean they succeed, and regardless, we are not talking about social media here.

You seem to have gone off on a series of rants without actually reading what I wrote.

This scenario you present isn't exclusive to Linux or Mac though. I have seen this play out a number of times where a friend in my group finds a game and convinces us all to play it together; the difference is we are all on Windows. This is also exactly why companies target streamers so much, because it's just what you describe at a larger scale (and it's safe to say most streamers are running Windows).

this. its stupid how gaming companies cite the minscule 1-2% of linux market share as "not worth it" when these are the people who DEFINITELY want to play their games but because of either dev incompetence or some other issue, are not able to but they still try it. Plus, these 1-2% band together and do the work of the gaming companies by fixing bugs themselves instead of waiting and expecting them to fix it. yet developers are scared of "bug reports" as if that is some scary monster that can only be killed if they adopt inbox zero approach and having inbox zero in terms of bug reports and errors is good for managerial execs.

Of the let's be generous and say 2% of userbase uses Linux. How many of the users don't dual-boot or run Wine/Proton? And what is the realistic workload to keep releasing versions on different platforms? And fixing issues specific to those.

Some devs have even said that it's not worth it to release game on EGS and GOG due to overhead for keeping it up to date there...

i find that hilarious. as a linux person, the first place to get a bug fixed in steam+wine would be proton and not the company producing the game. the contributors will fix the game for everyone and the company will have people coming for more because of generosity of volunteers and yet they want to impose anti-cheat as the gospel

3.8% users are using Steam on Linux, with their shitty support for platforms? Astonishing. That millions of users. It's comparable with XBox market share.

IMHO, somebody should milk this market.

voice from the 90s - M$ft took "multimedia" sales titles that were both Mac and PC, and used the stats on those sales, only in the PC side of the graphs. The sales are now "overwhelmingly" windows.. later they were caught and it was even publicized.. didnt matter

exactly - like the sticker on the desk of the "CEO" of a (eventually-failed) product sales website. WINNER TAKE ALL with some WIntel reference.. f-f-f-f-f-u

IDK, in my experience hardcore gamers are on Windows and actively hostile to Mac users.

If you're trying to recruit hardcore gamers to proselytize, Windows is a great place to find them

Because there are no good subscription services available for the Windows market already. Oh wait I've got Xbox Game Pass and dozens of free games on that. And EA Play And the 1000+ games I own on Steam (Many bought from Humble) and the Epic Store.

I had Humble Choice for a year and loved it, then last Feb I skipped a month because there was nothing I wanted. I haven't paid since because the Choice options were getting less and less valuable to me. (As in interesting games, not price).

I almost purchased another year in their sale last month, but I'm glad I didn't I'd feel very ripped off now.

>> Simplify pricing

I wouldn't call moving from a single lump sum to a subscription model a simplification. What they are doing is replacing one-time payments with a slow trickle of multiple payments. With interests rates where they are, that slow trickle is worth more than the lump sums.

It was already a multi-tier subscription service.

With 12$ grandfathered tier offering the most. Then having crappy lite tier, that is access to some DRM-Free games and 10% discount. A 15$ tier which allowed you to choose 3 games of 9-12 with 20% and 20$ tier which at the beginning offered single game less than grandfathered classic tier. Later they moved giving all the games to 12 and 20 dollar tiers.

I would say going from 4 prices to one is simplification.

> Choice members will be able to access the titles in the Humble Games Collection by downloading the new Humble app for Windows PC. (Note that you’ll lose access to these games if you skip a month or cancel your membership.)

> In the new Humble app, you’ll also find more than 50 DRM-free indie games, experimental oddities, and other experiences inside the Vault, which you can download while you’re a member and keep playing even after your membership ends.

That's not DRM-free. DRM-free is that you buy it once, and then are able to use it forever.

That you can access downloading these games with a browser of your choice.

Its also odd to stop distributing binaries of previously released games. They still work perfectly fine, right? Very strange...

I currently got Classic, and it means I pay 12 USD (10 EUR) for about 10-12 games of which I play maybe one per month. Most games require Windows, might work in Steam/Proton though.

The 20% discount is nice, but I usually buy stuff when its discounted on Steam (my primary client anyway).

I can tell you this: altering the deal all the time doesn't give me confidence that I want to stay around. But perhaps they don't want me and want new people instead.

With regards to skipping: I never do this. I just give away keys to random people if I don't want them (already have for example).

I didn’t know IGN bought Humble. That really explains a lot.

It just introduces more questions. Namely, "Why did Ziff Davis (a mostly media and marketing company) feel the need to buy a gaming storefront?"

I imagine the sales pitch went something like: "Portfolio diversification and a committed customer base for cheap".

Synenergy is there. If you could push referrals from your media to your own store. As a whole it makes lot of sense. Not that I think it got implemented.

it sounds like the same reason why AOL + Time Warner merged, or whatever it is Yahoo has been doing in the last 20 years...

They also killed their android app, which as much as it was awful, having an app was very good for Android security because you could whitelist it in the OS as a source while still blocking apps from the browser.

Half the time when you download an Android app from their site, it doesn't even come down as an APK but a zip instead and you have to rename it to APK.

Yes, the android app was awful but it was better than nothing. I did enjoy having a huge library of games on android back when the app was maintained. But nowadays, a lot of games don't even work on modern android and aren't updated either.

It's baffling that the Android doesn't have a "Steam-like" game store app. Humble was close to that, but the company did not invest any resources into that realm. I can only assume there's some other factor that prevents publishers from building an Android store, because right now it seems like a clear market need.

"Free to play" works better from a $$$ point of view. There is a never-ending supply of kids who can't pay money up front but are willing to sit through 30-second ads for every 2 mins of gameplay.

What value would Steam provide over the Play Store? And also, I'm pretty sure Epic has some kind of store/launcher for Android, since they're butting heads with the mobile OS vendors about in-app-payment store-cut.

I have more trouble blaming them for that - many of these games are abandoned by their developers, and Android is a viciously moving target for development. I'm sure there are some cases where the Humble version is stale compared to the Play Store version, of course, but those are the exception to the rule.

Android itself is mostly to blame for this pain.

Yes, but I also remember more than a few games that were updated in the play store just not on humble's platform.

>(I'm pretty sure they still made money on those who forgot to skip a month)

It used to be opt in, not opt out to skip a month. IGN is basically trying to figure out how much they can extract from the good will they purchased.

Easy to explain: Some MBA who likes games has been given THE spreadsheet for the Humble company. He or she is now moving things around on the spreadsheet as a daily function of their job.

One other thing kindly taken from the Ars comments [1] and expanded upon a bit: if anyone else would like to bulk-export their steam keys from this, go to https://www.humblebundle.com/home/keys and open the developer console and paste in:

    $('.keyfield-value').toArray().forEach((x) => x.click())

After redeeming the keys you can use the following to get an array of them:

    var myKeys = $('.unredeemed-keys-table tr').toArray().slice(1).map((tr) => [tr.getElementsByTagName('h4')[0].innerHTML, tr.getElementsByClassName('keyfield-value')[0].innerHTML])
    var stringMe = ''; myKeys.forEach((element) => { stringMe=stringMe+(element[1])+","}); console.log(stringMe)
Once you've got that, this greasemonkey script might be of interest to bulk-activate them [2]

[1] https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2022/01/humble-subscription-s...

[2] https://github.com/Lutymane/Steam-Scripts/raw/master/Batch-K...

For some reason, the second block of code has stopped working for me as keyfield-value no longer has any visible innerHTML and it returns undefined. The following is a less elegant, but equally effective, way of doing the same thing:

    myString=''; myKeys=document.getElementsByClassName('keyfield-value'); for(ix=0; ix<myKeys.length; ix++){ myString = myString+ myKeys[ix].innerHTML)+"\n"; } console.log(myString)

I wouldn't use a batch activator, I'm sure Valve has some anti-bot measure that will either throttle activations or lock your account. Better to import them into a password manager (or just a spreadsheet) and activate a specific game when you want to download it.

I've canceled my Humble Monthly a while ago. It's just another online game store at this point, there's nothing of the original spirit left. The amount they give to charity is tiny these days, and there haven't been any games I'm interested in in a long time. I'll buy at GOG tyvm.

I remember subscribing to Humble Bundle back when they came out with the original humble bundle. Four or five games, pay what you want, works on Linux. As a kid in High School, having a source for good Linux games was amazing. I paid for a few Humble Bundles but I eventually moved away from gaming in general. Sad to see how far they have fallen.

"Own & play your games forever" = BS.

"Humble Bundle believes that accessibility is an ongoing effort, and we continually improve our web sites, services, and products in order to provide an optimal experience for all of our users and subscribers."

Unless they own a Mac.

"Award-winning indies, Humble Originals & classics all at your fingertips. Download from our 70+ DRM-free game library. New titles added every month!"

DRM-free? But I have to run your launcher software? If I quacks like a duck it is DRM.

"Your exclusive and sole remedy with respect to any Product that is not downloadable or able to be activated within a reasonable period will be either replacement of such Product, store credit or refund, as determined by Humble Bundle in its sole discretion."

Ok. Per your terms of service statement. I will be wanting all my money back the moment I can no longer download my purchased software.

"Accordingly, in the event that Humble Bundle changes any part of the Service or discontinues the Service, which Humble Bundle may do at its election, you acknowledge that you may no longer be able to use Products to the same extent as prior to such change or discontinuation, and that Humble Bundle shall have no liability to you in such case."

Ok. Goodbye. You will no longer get any money from me. I'm very sure I can get the same games elsewhere.

https://www.humblebundle.com/ https://www.humblebundle.com/accessibility https://www.humblebundle.com/subscription https://www.humblebundle.com/terms

Going Windows only for games nowadays seem short sighted, given the rise of SteamOS, incoming SteamDeck and the rumored Steam Console,

Basically with increased Proton compatibility and ease of use from SteamOS... installing Linux instead of Windows sounds like a viable option for gaming.

I don't even like Linux all that much myself, and am considering at least trying Steam OS on my PC once I get my SteamDeck.

On top of that, if it's really trying to get into the same market as Xbox Game Pass, and the Epic giveaways, wouldn't it make more sense to aim at supporting platforms that the xbox game pass/Prime Gaming/EGS giveaways aren't supporting?

They're choosing to dump the 2 other major platforms that they would have next to 0 competition in, and focusing on the one major platform where they not only are competing on level ground with the likes of the EGS and Prime Gaming, they're going up against the biggest "games library as a service" offerings in the industry but , that also just happens to be the OS manufacturer as well, Xbox Game Pass. The service that's becoming pre-installed with newer windows builds, that's integrated tightly into the Microsoft ecosystem, and has a better library of both AAA and indie titles than humble bundle ever will.

SteamDeck hasn't been released yet and it's coming to a limited number of countries, first. With the supply constraints, it's likely that it would take two or more years for SteamOS to have any noticeable market share. And, that is if SteamDeck is a success.

The market for the SteamDeck seems less around the 'Gaming PC' market - and more as a handheld pc. Essentially to bring the market accessibility of PC and 'desktop/laptop' games to a handheld factor. I don't dare take a laptop with me to work to play games on at lunch, but something the size of a Switch with my already existing library? Yes please!

It feels like this is a good way to market the device for potential future plans where Valve could build other niche hardware that would improve the viability of Linux for gaming devices on other hardware.

What is going on with this company?

First it was the Android madness (non-working pre-release versions were sold and never updated).

Then they changed slider defaults so very little money was sent to charities.

Then they started selling game assets instead of games.

Then they sued Steam.

And now this...

They launched as a cute side project created by a respected independent game developer that primarily generated revenue for charities through one-off bundle events. Their success with that model attracted blockbuster investment because of their high revenues… and then they tried to turn it into a business.

The outcome we are seeing now was inevitable, it’s doubtful Humble would have ever seen success if it had started out this way. I have sympathy for the founders, this wasn’t their vision, but it was the likeliest outcome once they took on investment to diverge from what made them successful. Expect to see many more years of frantic and sometimes radical attempts to become a meaningful profit source for their new owners.

The wonders of Capitalism.

If you have a better solution, then start your own company.

capitalism isn't a company level problem

Remember back when the first bundle made a million dollars, and they were like “we have made enough money, let’s open-source all the games” — can you imagine anyone saying “we have made enough money” today? :(

I would guess too much growth in costs and staff leading to need to sell anything to cover the costs.

Then everything else, but lowest competence falls on wayside...

Humble has a huge organisation.

Is it really needed for something that is supposed to be a charity-ish?

It really isn't that anymore, especially not after having been bought by a billion dollar media/tech holdings company.

$$, or the perception of it.

It seems a bit like an unforced error to be dumping Linux a few months before Steam's new Linux-based Steam Link is released.

Steam's Linux investment is as much to reduce Microsoft's power over it as for its actual users.

Valve has been investing in Linux gaming for nearly a decade now (to my knowledge), and it's looking like a really good decision. I've recently set up new Windows and Mac devices and it's just glaringly obvious how tightly they're clamping down on their respective platforms. My perspective is a that of a Linux sysadmin who hadn't done a fresh Windows install in over a decade, and took about 3 years off of using Apple products.

It's definitely an arms race, and the experience is getting worse and worse for customers (including software developers). I don't know if the average user notices these things or not. Valve is trying to not get caught in the crossfire here, and to have some recourse when inevitably MS wants 30% to allow steam to run natively in Windows. In the meantime they also have built a strong reputation among nerds like us, mostly as a byproduct.

Sounds like a win-win to me

That's almost the same thing.

Ah that is why XBox and Windows gamers are running in droves into Linux.

The grandparent is saying that Steam didn't want to have to run on Windows, so they're investing in Linux so they can use that as the base OS for gaming. Otherwise Microsoft could demand a cut.

Tongue-in-cheek, but after about 5 years of dual booting I am actually finally linux-only with Proton and steam

I think you mean Steam Deck, Steam Link is a remote play box for your TV that was released in 2015 and discontinued (in hardware form) in 2018. Steam Deck is expected to release at the end of next month.

Steam Link is a bit more general than that - it also includes the mechanism that Steam uses to stream games to NVIDIA Shield, mobile phones, and between computers.

But the parent did indeed mean the Deck.

Yes, I definitely mean that! I have one reserved myself, so I'm not sure why I misspoke.

Steam has been releasing Linux based hardware and driving generic Linux support since 2015, if it hasn't been worthwhile for the last 7 years it seems an error to bet on the next new thing catching on this time before it's even released.

Even assuming Steam Deck (which is what I think you really meant) is an absolutely roaring constant success then they still realistically have a couple of years before it'd really be a significant chunk anyways. That's ignoring the whole premise of their other development, Proton, which is about running the Windows games on such systems anyways.

Maybe there's some weird business logic, not necessarily well-founded, driven by that launch that makes them think it's a bad idea to support it.

They just lost a subscriber. It really does bring the fact you can't trust an online service is going to provide anything in the way of consistency.

I just canceled mine as well.

While I have my windows computer primarily for gaming, I have long wished I could move away to a custom built linux or just a single Mac.

I don't want to support some place that once was good about alternative platforms and then dropped it. Especially when they themselves are not the ones making the games and are just the platform for getting them.

Classic subscriber here, same.

- I never really liked the Humble Choice mechanism. More quantity, usually less quality - I certainly don’t need another crappy game launcher - Despite moving all my gaming to a windows box after macOS Catalina, I’m disappointed at the loss of macOS/Linux options

I’ll stick with Steam, GOG, and itch. And resentfully Origin and Ubisoft when I want to play Mass Effect: LE or an Ubi sandbox.

Humble's doing everything it can lately to make Itch more attractive.


I had a spreadsheet of the bundles I grabbed back when this was about donating to charities and getting DRM-free software. (I think I've bought at least the first 10 bundles.) The further HB moved from those two goals, the more I lost interest. I even tried the subscription for a while, but it felt like the focus has changed to generating revenue for profit and not to raising funds for charity or giving users DRM-free software. At this point, it is more efficient to donate to a charity directly.

[Edit: I guess it was always more efficient to donate to a charity directly, I meant now it is more efficient donate 95% to a charity and take the 5% or whatever to buy a DRM-free game and download it without a client at GOG, Itch, or other site.]

Well that sucks. Guess I'll be looking into how to bulk download my library this month, and no point in keeping my subscription after this if it no longer supports my platform.

Any idea what's the reason? I haven't been following Humble, but a long time ago they were a champion of non-windows gaming. Sad to see them leaving the battlefield.

Is it because they don't want to maintain a cross-platform launcher app?

Humble was bought by IGN in 2017. Some MBA guy there thinks they can net more by "streamlining" the service to just the dominant platform.

I assume the numbers back up the idea. If the Mac/linux users are bringing in $100,000 a year, but it costs $200,000 a year to maintain the cross platform launcher, it makes sense on paper to dump them.

The error there is the launcher. Not supporting a power-user platform will cost them more, in the long run, than whatever they hope to gain from a ugly and unloved single-platform launcher. But seeing that through Excel is hard.

Ironically, IIRC Mac and Linux users donated much more on average. (Yes, I realize the math may still not work out.)

I think the above poster's point is that "some MBA guy" can make a decision that looks good based on numbers but is still a bad decision.

Right. Humble wasn't originally about maximizing profit, it was about getting games from creators to people without any bullshit, and giving money to charity.

Yes, exactly.

What is their current launcher's stack?

I know we are hating on Electron on this forum, but I'd expect them to have a cross-platform node app that's relatively cheap to maintain. Rebuilding it as a native Windows app (especially by a team experienced in web frontends) sounds more expensive on first thought.

Someone got a hold of a spreadsheet. The numbers probably show that if they drop support for these platforms, the service will be more profitable.

What they never account for is that these things are like a Jenga tower; you can’t take out one piece without toppling the whole thing. This happens every time a good thing is sold to money-focused people. Immediately their question is “how do we make this even more profitable?” and the answer is usually “cut all the features that attracted people to it in the first place.” Then they are left scratching their heads when it comes crashing down.

Sounds like they don't want to maintain a cross-platform launcher app and they want to impose this launcher app and discontinue downloads from their website.

I think because they had a bit of a niche with more non-windows users, but have since tried to go after more money (i.e mainstream) that their Mac and Linux users are just a tiny portion not worth supporting now

See sibling comment about IGN buying out Humble. That seems like a clash of company cultures that could precipitate a change of core values.

Total shot in the dark, but with the good press around Unpacking and Unsighted, I can see Humble shifting its attention towards game publishing over the marketplace. If they can release their own software faster by exclusively supporting Windows, they may no longer see value in their previous "cross-platform" commitments.

Humble is not be a good word to describe a service which behaves like this.

They should change their brand to 'umble. That should at least evoke the proper image of a greedy character claiming to be “very 'umble”.

On humble, I don’t really care. It all goes to steam keys anyway. DRM free has never really been their thing.

If I want something truly DRM free I go to gog.com.

DRM-free was absolutely Humble Bundle's initial thing, along with pay-what-you want and a portion going to charity. Just look at the news coverage from back then: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/12/humble-bundle-2-is-li...

DRM-Free was definitely their thing, as were Linux releases. Many indie titles actually debuted on Linux via Humble Indie Bundles.

> DRM free has never really been their thing.

Do you not remember the videos they did for early bundles? "It's pay-what-you-want, DRM free, cross-platform and helps charity".

Probably not. I only subscribed like 6 years ago. Definitely didn’t feel DRM free to me from that point.

Oh man, the music's playing in my head now. That's some real nostalgia right there.

DRM free was one of their original selling points. They were quite proud of that.

Overall the last year+ has been mess for Humble Choice what they call their subscription service. Pricing has been full of coupons, introductionary offers and so on. It is not really great confidence if you first offer year for reasonable discount that is 8-9$ a month. And then just after that give people 3 months at 6$ and repeat this. Also users who usually pause often seem to get 2-4$ off from the price... And in the end last month they in the end sold to some people the bundle for 2$...

This really does not instil any type of loyalty... At least this change somewhat cleans up all that. But still it has been a mess.

This will be the end of Humble for me.

Same. I've been thinking about cancelling my subscription since September, as the quality of games seem to have decreased (or at least my interest in them) and I haven't really played any of them.

I've kept the subscription mostly out of FOMO, since I'm still in the old price tier, but I don't really need another launcher for games I won't play.

Also, I have quite the game backlog now, so I guess I'll just let the subscription expire and look for alternatives.

Lol, I’m there too, though the last two months have actually been kind of good, in the sense I got two games I already had on my wishlist.

Even with the decreased quality, $12 for 10 games is pretty good.

Humble died around 2017 when ign bought them. Ever since then they've been unable to figure out their identity. Their bundles have been pretty bad lately too. Mostly just old titles and assets.

They stuck when they launched. If they had only kept their business model and improved they're service they would still be doing great.

I didn't see the links in here, and couldn't easily find it on the site, but did find the link in my email:

Newsletter: https://blog.humblebundle.com/2022/01/11/humble-choice-is-le...

Link to their FAQ on the change:


Which games do I get to keep forever?


"All Humble Choice members receive a selection of hand-picked games redeemable via a key for select platforms, when available (Steam, Epic, Origin, GOG, etc.). You can find these games at the Humble Choice Hub after unlocking the current month of Choice. Games in the Humble app for Windows PC, including the Humble Games Collection, are only available to active Humble Choice members. New Humble Choice games are available on the first Tuesday of every month."

Which is good, because I have, ~20 pages of keys to redeem since I've been a long time humblebundler and usually only grabbed things as I was playing. I was worried I'd have to redeem them all before Feb, which doesn't sound like the case. So, business as usual for me? though it might be good to get most things I want redeemed over to steam fwiw.

It does sound (from reading this thread) that Linux/Mac users who want their DRM free d/ls will need to grab them before the switchover.

End of an era...

I'll have to see what happens though. The Humble Bundle goes out and finds some of the most unique experiences imo.

Assuming they still hand out Steam keys, I'll still be a customer. The day I can only download games via another launcher, I'm done.

Same - I run Linux exclusively and so far Steam Proton works great. If I have to use their launcher for games, I'm out.

It feels oddly hostile, as in their intentionally trying to lock out Linux users.

I imagine many of the bigger games, only run on Windows. But they should just communicate this, don't force people use a new application.

Humble has given me some of my favorite game experiences so I'm going to give them a few months to sort themselves out

OT: another site where you have until January 31, 2022 to download your purchases is Pottermore. They gave a lot more notice--the shutdown was announced in 2019.

I somehow missed that, but they sent an email at the start of this year reminding users of it. Go to https://bookshelf.pottermore.com/ and enter your email. They will mail you a link to your bookshelf.

Follow that link and you'll find all your books with download links to download DRM-free ePubs.

Since 2013, I've spent $1287.38 on bundles in Humble Bundle. This change doesn't seem to affect people like me, how primarily buy bundles, but my guard is up now.

As a person with Classic sub and first purchase of HiB 2. It really doesn't effect me in anyway. Apart that I can finally just outright cancel my classic and move to pick up the interesting monthly bundles.

I'm actually glad for new-subs that they get rid of horrible 20$ price point that no one sensible ended up using. Or should not have to with all the intro offers being shown all the time...

When people complain about Electron and similar cross-platform solutions, this is the alternative. I'll take a bad Electron app eating my RAM over nothing any day :)

If I understand, you would prefer a bad electron game launcher over just no game launcher as it today ?

Nobody is forcing Humble to develop an nth game launcher. Nobody really needs another launcher. Launchers and their associated DRMs are the reason I prefer buying a game on GOG even when they are more expensive.

I suppose he mean he prefer bad Electron cross-platform apps over an .msi file of whatever significance that crashes in WINE.

> When people complain about Electron and similar cross-platform solutions, this is the alternative.

I'm pretty sure the alternative was nothing; their local download center doesn't need to exist, let alone be portable. Just have a web page with downloads.

not really, I take good native app over bad electron one any day of the week.

I am linux user but i will not miss humble bundle.

I've never used their subscription service or their game store, but I did buy many bundles over the years. However, they made a UI change in the last year or so to remove the button that would register that you wanted to be reminded by email shortly before the bundle expires. Removing that button has reduced the amount of money I spend on HumbleBundles enormously.

Been a while since I've heard about them. Not sure if I redeemed all of these so they may still work https://www.humblebundle.com/downloads?key=b227qZU5huqV

That link is broken.

They've deleted it, been working for years that link. Someone there is reading this post.

It was working for me within an hour or so of you posting it here today.

I didn't claim anything from it, but if there started to be a diversity of accounts suddenly registering the keys it wouldn't surprise me if it raises flags somehow.

The keys are just keys, claimed on Origin/Steam etc so not sure what system they'd have in place for checking that.

Could be lots of different IPs loading the page but I still don't see why they'd worry about that.

This seems to be the Trove only, which is a collection of games available to subscribers. Hopefully all the non-trove titles people have purchased over the years won't be disappearing (if they are, they should probably tell the purchasers!)

At least the HiB 2 from over 10 years ago have still working download links.

Not that it isn't apparent that Linux software distribution wasn't a mess back then...

Just sent a request for account deletion (https://dsar.humblebundle.com/). Itch.io is much better when it comes to Linux DRM-free games.

I haven't shopped with them since they started sending extreme adult content to mailing lists they knew contained 13 year olds

Well, it was nice knowing you Humble.

I'm just learning now that they had a launcher.

What a strange saga.

what a stupid move..

the only way to go is to boycott

Another one joins Loki Software.

> Those subscribers have until January 31 to use the existing website interface to download DRM-free copies of any games' Mac or Linux versions.

This part makes the above seem pretty reasonable. They are making a business decision on which platforms to support or not, however, because the games are DRM-free, current Max and Linux subscribers can just download the games and cancel their subscription.

I'm learning of this with two weeks notice through the present post and probably have on the order of 400 games to download/backup/update, plus assets such as soundtracks, plus assorted book-like media. And I'm not even in very high numbers. It happens easily with the bundle based purchase model over a few years. All to be downloaded as individual files, in a script dependent homepage which will only expose the links after clicking the entry for a specific work and usually selecting the odd tab or dropdown menu in addition to that.

The way this is being handled, for people who weren't buying for the Windows version, I find it hard to see as anything but unilateral confiscation of all purchases to date, with extremely questionable notice.

There's an excellent python-based downloader (https://pypi.org/project/humblebundle-downloader/) that I linked to in the first Ars Technica comment.

The usage is very simple -- you login in a browser, find a cookie named _simpleauth_sess by the dev tools, copy it, and then paste it into single quotes (it includes double quotes!) in the below:

    hbd -s '"long_cookie_value_of_random_alpha_hash"' --library-path local_target_dir --progress
The net result is a long download, but it will get everything...

Exceedingly helpful. Thank you so much!

If I'm not complete misunderstanding the article the launcher-only downloads only apply to Humble Trove, which isn't explicitly purchased. It's still really bad, and doesn't make any sense as a business decision, but from what I can tell this would not affect your access to purchased games.

It would indeed be less outrageous (but still bad) if you're right, and I may have misinterpreted the extent, but to me following expression in the article seems reason for concern, even about access to purchased games:

an entirely new launcher app, which must be used to access and download Humble Choice, Humble Trove, and Humble Games Collection games going forward

The article appears to be wrong. Humble Choice is being revamped, but the core part of getting game keys every month for use on (primarily) Steam is still relatively unchanged: https://support.humblebundle.com/hc/en-us/articles/441309165...

What is the Humble app? The Humble app is the access point for the Humble Games Collection, a perk for Choice members launching February 1st, 2022.

What can I find in the Humble app? The Humble Games Collection: A growing number of Humble Games published titles are available with an active Choice membership through the Humble app.

The Vault: The Vault will include over 50 Humble Original Games. Once downloaded, these games can be kept forever regardless of Choice Membership status.

Also: https://support.humblebundle.com/hc/en-us/articles/441112762...

Which games do I get to keep forever?

All Humble Choice members receive a selection of hand-picked games redeemable via a key for select platforms, when available (Steam, Epic, Origin, GOG, etc.). You can find these games at the Humble Choice Hub after unlocking the current month of Choice. Games in the Humble app for Windows PC, including the Humble Games Collection, are only available to active Humble Choice members. New Humble Choice games are available on the first Tuesday of every month.

It also makes pretty reasonable the choice not to hop on this kind of subscription services.

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