Indie Bundles – small budget, big heart!

Written by Oltman on Wednesday 07 Dec 2011

In my PC Buyer’s Guide this year I gave a special mention to the Humble Indie Bundle, and with good reason. These guys have a brilliant solution to not only promote small indie developers with small budgets, but they also give aid to charities. Allow me to explain a little more.

The Humble Indie Bundle normally has a release window of only two or three weeks. During this time there will be a collection of indie games up for grabs at the wonderful price of…whatever you want. That’s right, you get to choose what you want to pay for the games. There is no minimum cost, and if you want to be totally inhumane you can spend 1c on the entire bundle. Ahem. Try such a low number and they give you a very cool picture begging for a little more.

You also decide who gets the money you are spending. You can assign a percentage to the Humble Bundle guys for all their effort, or a percentage can go to the actual developers of the games, and finally you can assign a percentage to charities like Child’s Play.

Child’s Play is a charity that focuses on children in hospitals and giving them toys and gifts. Often laughter is the best medicine and when you pay a visit to their site you will realize just how great this charity is. Nothing beats kids’ laughter to lighten up a room!

Often there are more rewards for those who buy the bundle in the first few days, or if you donate more than the current average. These include more games, soundtracks or even the source code for the games!

The games you purchased are then available either as a direct download, DRM free, or you can get a code for Steam or Desura to download the games there. All the games are normally multiplatform too allowing you to play them on Windows, Linux or Mac.

Since you can pay whatever you want, some donations have been in the thousands of dollars. Often a corporate will donate a big sum to gain a bit of added publicity since the top 10 donations are mentioned on the Humble Indie Bundle website. Looking at the stats it is also interesting to note that there are far more Windows donations than the other platforms, but their donation amount is quite a bit less than the Mac or Linux guys. I guess if your OS is free you have more money to spend on games!

With the huge success of the Humble Indie Bundles (the second bundle made more than $2 million!) it was inevitable for other bundles to pop up. And there have been at least two other successful bundles that I am aware of.

First up is the Indie Royale. These guys work on a similar principle where all the games are available on Steam or Desura, and if you buy early or above the average price you get bonus items. However, they have a little twist: the average price is the minimum price you have to pay. And if you pay more than the minimum price you knock the price down for the guys buying after you. This way your donation not only helps the developers and charities, but also your fellow gamers.

This bundle was not nearly as popular or successful as the Humble Bundles, but this is probably due to not enough press attention. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter as they have a Christmas and New Year’s bundle coming up very soon!

Then we also have a new bundle called the Indie Gala. They follow the Humble Bundle recipe almost to the letter, and in the few days that they have been active already sold over 23 thousand bundles.

The quality of the games included in these bundles varies. Some big name games like Braid have been included, and some totally obscure games that I have never even heard of have been included. As added bonuses the developers will often give you unreleased games or code to play around with, and these demo games often show you how much talent these guys have.

The idea of selling your hard work for any price, even if its as low as 1c, may seem silly. However, when you then take into account the sheer number of bundles sold and how quickly they sell, it becomes not only viable, but desirable to be included in these bundles.

If you are a gamer, and you would like to not only score great games for cheap, but also help a worthy charity and support those poor indie game developers coding day and night to bring you their games, then do not wait one moment longer. Subscribe to their newsletters and keep an eye out for their next games bundle. Then take the plunge and discover great little games that will entertain you for hours for only a few cents.

Be a gamer with a heart!

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