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Introducing the Humble Store (humblebundle.com)
180 points by robin_reala on Nov 11, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 99 comments

I guess this is just me, but I feel humble bundle lost their way a long time ago, when they started selling games with DRM and that we're not multiplatform. I stopped buying from them after that, and this store seems a continuation of that trend. Even the name humble bundle seems self-righteous to me, considering they are just a store.

I adored the Humble Bundle for its idealism and for spearheading DRM-free and Linux gaming. It seems that idealism doesn't always pay the bills.

I feel like when hungry-VC-fueled massive growth is the goal, no good result ever pays the bills : /

It's sad for me to see companies just keep pushing and pushing when they could have stopped at something great and just got better at that.

GOG.com has the DRM-free angle fairly well covered, so there wasn't a lot of room left there unless they wanted to compete. I think the pivot towards a charitable focus was a reasonable move, even if not exactly in line with their initial goals.

GOG.com doesn't do Linux, while Humble Bundles largely became popular with that crowd first.

Funny that GOG.com does its first (I think) 100% charity run at this moment: http://www.gog.com/news/charity_promo_pick_3_games_donate_5_...

Don't forget to vote for Linux support on GOG if you didn't yet: https://secure.gog.com/wishlist/site/add_linux_versions_of_g...

There's a GoGOnLinux project


Thanks for the link, I was not aware of that. Seems like GOG doesn't like what they do too much, though...

Dang, then if Linux is the only thing Humble Bundle has to fall back on, they're really going to feel the squeeze from Steam.

It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out, maybe they'll find their niche.

Steam really needs more competition from DRM free distributors, but HB failed to remain DRM free. So GOG is the only one left.

I wish GOG.com would set up some US-based banking.

I've stopped buying things from them, even though I want to, because my bank freaks out every time, due to "the high levels of credit card fraud originating from Cyprus".

It freaked once for me, but after I confirmed it was OK, they don't do it anymore. May be GOG should start accepting bitcoins. Feel free to vote: https://secure.gog.com/wishlist/site/the_ability_to_purchase...

Humble Bundle accepts them already.

The last time I bought from GOG my bank started declining every purchase on my card thereafter until I called them. Apparently they called me, but had an old number.

In any case, I'm sure GOG is set up this way to avoid taxes so it's probably worth it for them, even if it's a hassle for some subset of their users.

I think you need a saner bank. As per my settings, I get an international transaction alert email, but that's it.

Not that long ago I think? The last one I paid attention to was still all about indie games and linux support. Just checked again and now they're selling FEAR and Batman for Windows only...

I'm pretty sure all of their _INDIE_ humble bundles were cross-platform and DRM free. The publisher-specific ones weren't.

I never really understood why publishers are supposed to be brain dead to use DRM, while independent studios are supposed to be smart not to use it.

I think it's not necessary because "one is smart and other is not."

Here are some of my thoughts on this:

1) It's probably not a decision of people who understands deep understanding of technology and implication in bigger publisher. It could be some "suit" type of people who don't even know how DRM works, or their legal department.

2) Publishers can actually afford DRM -- I will be honest that I don't know how much DRM solutions actually cost, but activation servers won't run for free. Simply, a lot of independent studios don't have enough resources to maintain DRMs. DRMs would probably increase support case as well (there will be more support inquiries coming in; people will be running out of activation count, or their computer can't talk to activation server) which a lot of smaller studios just don't want to deal with.

It often does more to inconvenience customers than stop pirates.

Not often - practically always.

Big-name games always get cracked and pirated, DRM or no. Indie not so much.

So, it means DRM has no relevance anyway. Then why is it used?

By the big publishers? Conservative, herd mentality, existing publishing agreements, misaligned incentives between publishers and distributors.

By indies? I didn't think any of them bothered, but apparently some do?

I was mostly asking about big publishers. For me it looks like big equals to having no common or even business sense in this case. Which is weird.

Keynes' comment about bankers applies. There's very little incentive for the people who run these big publishers to take risks.

But this is not about risks. It's about not being dumb punishing their own paying users with DRM which has zero effect on piracy. May be most DRM is driven by side ulterior motives which have nothing to do with piracy.

I'm with you, for different reasons. I thought the first couple bundles were fun, novel, and fresh, but when they started pumping out bundles like clockwork I was really turned off.

I think this is the nature of any "deals" service. It requires novelty, but that's short-lived. The same thing happened with Groupon and Woot.

I'm still rooting for HumbleBundle however, because I like that they give the spotlight to small game developers and raise money for good causes.

See, I think they transitioned (or I just didn't realize the truth at first). Initially it was a charity/publicity play, there wasn't even any talk of having a "Humble Bundle 2". But then someone somewhere decided to try to turn the model into a business.

The problem is that there's a limited amount of good, novel, fun games to choose from. I can't say there are always good indie games to play every single month. You are bound to hit the "less interesting games" sooner or later.

I can't say there are always good indie games to play every single month

Then they should have done it once every two months, or once a quarter, or... whatever timeframe worked.

When did that happen? I've bought most bundles, and not a single game had DRM or didn't work on Linux.

Not a single game didn't work on Linux? Check out the current bundle. As far as I know none of the games work on Linux? They used to mention platform prominently. Now there's absolutely no mention on the front page of Linux, nor do they have the platform money split...

Definitely not the first time recently either.

I thought it was the Humble Indie Bundles that run on win/linux/mac, and that's still true as far as I know.

Yep, and the "with/for Android" bundles too, for the most part. (Not the Mobile bundles, though.)

Huh, weird, I definitely didn't notice that. The last one I bought was two or three bundles ago, and I only use Linux, so pretty much all of them ran? I may just be mistaken.

Awesomenauts in Humble Indie Bundle 8 was not DRM-free. It is essentially a 3v3 arena action game, and DRM is required to play online.

I bought a number of early bundles, and there's quite a few games where the linux port was unavailable, broken, or very-buggy-but-never-updated.

Of the current bundle nothing runs on Linux and only one runs on Mac. Of the Origin bundle only Sims runs on Mac (and nothing on Linux)... Guess it's only the ones where they sell the 'big' games.

Did you see all the recent Steam only / Origin only bundles? Nothing DRM free about them, and they become more and more common, while the DRM free ones become a rarity.

We are comparing new, non DRMed, Indie games to DRMed, publisher backed games who have a massive back catalog. I buy the indie games when I can but I also recognize they simply aren't as deep. HB relies on a good amount of churn every month and I suspect they simply exhausted the supply of Indie games that can be bundled.

May be, but GOG managed to stay successful and profitable without resorting to selling DRM junk. Why HB can't then? GOG actually puts an effort to convince publishers to release their games DRM free. Even legacy ones like EA (at least for their older titles). And that's not easy, but it helps to overcome publishers' stupidity and inertia when they see that DRM free sales are not "dangerous". HB can do something similar, but it requires work.

Steam on Windows only is pretty common.

Have you found a use case for needing DRM-free games? I haven't so I'm not sure why that would be a turn-off except for principle.

I think the name works; cause they give to charity in every sale I've seen them do. Humble came from working with mostly indie game developers and they still do a lot with them. I personally like their model.

Humble also comes because it's a, mostly, pay what you want model. You can pay just a single dollar and get a handful of games, that's pretty humble.

Except it's now turned into "pay what you want as long as it's more than average"; to which I automatically responded by paying $0.01 more than average instead of my usual round $20...

No. It's still pay what you want (although I think there's a min req of 1 dollar for getting steam keys)

You have to pay more than the average to get the 'extra games'. I'm pretty sure they've had that since the beginning

Nope, the first ones were "pay what you want, get everything" (with the first bundle retroactively adding source code releases for everyone no matter how much they paid, and the next adding extra games half way through the week, again for everyone).

"Pay what you want, the more you pay the more you get" is still technically "pay what you want", but it's a slightly different meaning than the original.

ED> Also, with regards to the $1 minimum for Steam which seems to have become a permanent thing:

"The Humble Indie Bundle 4 overlapped with a large holiday sale on the Steam software service, which offered numerous prizes by completing some achievements associated with the offered games in Steam, including entries into a raffle to win every game on the Steam service. During this overlap, Humble Bundle found that some users were abusing the system, paying the minimum amount ($0.01) for the Bundle, registering new Steam accounts, and using the newly purchased games to improve their chances for the Steam raffle. Humble Bundle considered this "unfair to legitimate entrants" in the Steam contest, and to stop it, the company altered the sale so that only those who paid more than $1.00 would receive Steam keys for the games"

I wonder if they are going to start seeing some push-back from Steam now that they've adopted a continuous model vs. the previous pseudo-flash-sales model. I think most of these titles are available for a higher price on Steam, but I know for me one of HBs big selling points is the content distribution via Steam. For instance Orcs Must Die 2 is almost 20 bucks cheaper on the new store. Does anyone think Valve is going to view The Humble Bundle as more competitor than partner now?

This is exactly what I was concerned about when I first saw this.

I can't see how Valve is going to welcome this as a permanent purchase mechanism unless they're getting a cut.

On the other hand, perhaps their recent change to how Steam keys were distributed (i.e. they're not shown anymore, you have to link your Steam account) was part of some private agreement with Valve to allow this.

Valve seems fairly okay with other stores selling Steam keys without the flash sale model: off the top of my head, Amazon and Green Man Gaming both do it. There's even precedent for a flash-sale bundle seller also having a separate store (Indie Gala and the Gala Store).

Valve can squeeze all these stores out any time. Right now they're driving sales, distributing the game, and doing a large part of the work for zero profits on outside sales. This isn't going to work long term, and they're going to flip the tables. How? I have no idea, but here's an example.

Developers set the global price for their game. They can also set a unique price per store. All sales go through Steam, referral codes send a commission back to the store making the sale. For example, you're a developer with a game on Steam, $9.99, and you want to sell it on the Humble Store for a 24 hour sale, at $4.99. You set the Steam pricing coming from the Humble referral links at a 50% discount. Now, users browse the Humble Store, see the game at 50% off, click to buy, and get forwarded to Steam, or go through a Humble checkout that uses the Steam API. Valve takes the money, distributes a percent to the developer, and a commission to Humble. If Humble wants to send a part of their payment to charity, that's up to them.

Valve wants to encourage more user stores selling Steam games in the coming year. I imagine a new payment system will be announced in mid/late 2014 to accompany these changes.

Whitelabeling is the key to driving extended reach. I see no issue with with this. Valve is still the nervous system and the blood supply.

There are already a few online stores that have this model. Valve is getting a cut either way, no one is sure what percentage is but I would go as far as to say valve is still getting their 30% and the publisher is taking a hit somewhere.

Here is another store that has been doing this for some time: http://www.greenmangaming.com/

It is a way for Valve to drive their own platform adoption (a purchaser on Humble Bundle store is committing to opening Steam each time they play their game).

The question is how permanent the sale is. Is this is an intentionally low opening price, in order to attract customers, or a more permanent fixture?

For all we know the back end of this thing is Steam. Gaben has been talking about changing Steam so anyone can make a storefront, and Humble makes a lot of sense as a test lab: they're already competent at sales and running a website, plenty of traffic (vs. jacobquickscaveofturn-basedstrateg.ie), and because they have ongoing business with Valve anyway they probably share a lot of data.

Kinda jumped the shark I think. The original Humble Bundle concept, folks donate works that get sold for arbitrary money, which then gets donated to charity, was pretty cool. But it got weird. There was stuff which was sold as 'books' but were poorly mashed up web blog type sites.

I no longer know what these guys stand for.

At this point I'm not entirely certain what/how the Humble Store differentiates from Steam itself? Do they just have some sort of affiliate relationship with Steam to offer games at different prices and then control of the revenues so they can donate to charity?

From Humble Bundle's FAQ:

Q: How will the Humble Store be different from Steam and other game stores?

A: We think that every store is great for gaming. When we built the first Humble Bundle, we saw not only an opportunity to support gamers and game developers, we also wanted to make a difference to greater causes by supporting EFF and Child’s Play. We continue to see that many of our customers appreciate this unique business model. Charity will continue to be an important part of everything we bring to Humble customers.


The ability to choose how the money is distributed amongst charities, the developers, and the Humble Store may be the big differentiator in this case, just as GOG's is their DRM-free stance.

The Humble Store doesn't seem to let you tailor the distribution. Click on "What is the Humble Store?" and you'll see:

Get your games and contribute to awesome causes. Here’s where your Humble Store dollars go: 10% Charity, 75% Creator, 15% Humble Tip.

Ugh. Most of my buys would skew 75% charity. With 10% for charity and 15% for admin this is little more than "greenwashing".

Actually, I never give a penny for charity in my bundles. :-) Maybe that's because I'm non-us so I don't see and understand what they do.

Child's Play is frequently a charity that HB will include. The very general description is that they help donate games and gaming systems to kids in hospitals:

>Child’s Play works in two ways. With the help of hospital staff, we set up gift wish lists full of video games, toys, books, and other fun stuff for kids. By clicking on a hospital location on our map, you can view that hospital’s wish list and send a gift.

>Child’s Play also receives cash donations throughout the year. With those cash donations, we purchase new consoles, peripherals, games, and more for hospitals and therapy facilities. These donations allow for children to enjoy age-appropriate entertainment, interact with their peers, friends, and family, and can provide vital distraction from an otherwise generally unpleasant experience.

(from http://www.childsplaycharity.org/about)

edit: I am having a really hard time blockquoting this. Sorry. Working on fixing this :)

The US drives a lot of global internet policy - supporting the EFF helps there.

10% seems like a significant amount to me, considering the potential scale involved.

I'm sure the charities involved would take notice of the results.

I personally always put 100% into the charities, so I certainly won't be using the store at all. If they continue to do bundles I'll stick with that, but this makes it clear why the store came about.

Dang, missed that part. Still, that transparency may be a differentiator, as well as the charity.

> At this point I'm not entirely certain what/how the Humble Store differentiates from Steam itself?

They still sell DRM free games. I buy them from HB when they are available. But lately HB became more and more like a Steam proxy, selling Steam keys, which is useless for me, since I'm not using Steam. It's a good time for GOG to start supporting all these Linux DRM free titles, then I'll probably stop using HB.

I can personally recommend the following from this batch:

Don't Starve: a brilliant, brutal wilderness survival game. Great sound and art. Mine/craft cycles combined with a lot of world to explore and secrets to uncover, and permadeath.

Prison Architect: a prison designer and deep simulator of guards, prisoners, bottles, tunnels, and sundry.

Rogue Legacy: a roguish 2D action platformer where each life's dungeon crawl takes you further into a skill/stat progression

The Swapper: a 2D puzzle platformer with a cloning gun and something to say

Gunpoint: a 2D sneaky hacking game, where you break into buildings and rewire security systems to steal intel

I take it that they only sell Steam keys for the titles without the "DRM FREE" icon? This has confused me in the past.

As a Linux user, I'm a big fan of Humble because they actually pay for new game ports, so it is often the case that a Linux version debuts in a Humble Bundle.

But with Linux games getting mainstream and HB increasingly becoming a Steam reseller I would much rather see GOG.com introduce Linux as a platform (and also maybe hire some guys to look after Wine status of games).

It appears that bitcoin, a payment option for the bundles, is missing as a payment option for the store.

I like how they clearly display what platform the games are for and which games are DRM free.

You can't filter by DRM free though.

I appreciate the evolution of the Humble Bundle idea. The indie bundles seem to be obvious wins for the developers, the non-indies seem like sensible plays to make more money on older titles, and the promotion of worthwhile charities is legit. And you can always move your Humble Bundle tip to $0 if you don't think they deserve it - what's not to like?

Why does the Humble Store only have so few games on display? It's online (per Humble Widgets) for quite a while now and has dozens of games. Such as at the following link. Yet in the new store, it isn't found.


Games that sell through the Humble Widget get a 95/5 revenue split (as opposed to 75/15/10). For that reason among others, I think Humble needs permission from each developer to sell their game in the new Humble Store.

Meh...the bundles have been hitting fast and heavy recently. I guess this is the next logical step. Rather just wait for a steam sale to be honest. The reason the bundles were so appealing to me was the ridiculous price you could pay for a ton of games.

I would rather see the store have all the old bundles available at some price instead of individual titles that cost more than the bundles they're going to be in if we just wait.

I'm more interested in the fact that they are selling Arkam Asylum GOTY + Arkam City GOTY + F.E.A.R. 2 + F.E.A.R. 3 + two other games for (currently) under 5 bucks.

Those kinds of bundles are usually Hail Mary plays for more sales for the publisher (WB).

Case in point, THQ did the biggest Humble Bundle ever, because they went bankrupt and needed the money for liquidation.

EA topped that with the Origin bundle.

Ah right, forgot that Origin bundle was higher.

I'm actually curious how much EA netted with each sale, given the bandwidth costs for some of the huge 20GB games must not have been cheap.

EA donated 100% of their share to charity. They netted people actually bothering to install Origin.


Not to mention the tax write off that they'll get for donating such a large sum of money. It's definitely a win-win for EA since they were able to market their Origin platform in the deal.

Pretty ethical marketing too. Giving away a bunch of games to encourage donations to charity is better than pulling games from Steam and releasing games as Origin exclusive like they have done in the past.

All the money raised by the Humble Origin Bundle went to charity. EA kept none of it.

This is just a short list. Aren't many games already in the "store" (i.e. sold through HB widget for fixed price)? http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Humble_Store

Or they plan to add them gradually to the new site?

On the UI side - they should add a DRM free search filter. Otherwise it will be annoying to sift through various DRMed stuff which HB adds lately.

Well, so now Linux has enough traction to support multiple competing marketplaces maybe this means there should be some exclusives for the Stores, somehow .. think these parties can pull this off?

I only found out about Humble Bundle a few weeks ago. Wish I had known sooner. My Steam collection would be huge by now.

Luckily there are weekly deals and monthly deals.

P.s., the game Chivalry that is in the store now is awesome :)

It seems like a missed opportunity to not allow variable pricing like their normal the bundles.

Maybe that only works in a sale scenario.

itch.io has been doing something like this for a while. It's getting popular!

Does not render on IE 11!!!

IE? Who cares. You might as well complain the page doesn't render in Netscape!

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