If you want to check out the indie game scene, there is perhaps no better way to do so than by seeing what the latest game bundles have to offer.
A game bundle is when multiple games are sold together at a discounted price. It’s a familiar concept: two-for-one sales are all over grocery stores, after all. But game bundles, specifically indie game bundles, tend to operate a little differently.
For instance, independent companies have been popping up across the internet to host bundles, which means they aren’t just giving you discounts in order to get you to come back for the bigger, more expensive product. Their main product is the bundle. Since they’re not so concerned about leveraging your wallet, these companies get to spend more time curating their collections and designing business models that are fair for both the customers and the game creators.
Fair how? Well, for example, the Humble Bundle, perhaps the most well-known indie bundle organization today, has a totally customizable sliding scale. The Humble Bundle lets you choose how much goes to the developers, how much goes to charity, and how much is “tipped” to Humble Bundle, Inc. so they can keep doing their thing. There’s no clear suggested asking price, but if you pay more than the average you get extra games thrown into the deal.
But wait. Pay what you want? How can anyone really benefit if gamers only need to pay $0.01 to get a whole handful of games?
It turns out that even if everyone isn’t overly generous, there are plenty of people who are, and they make up for the rest. You may remember in October of 2007 when the band Radiohead sold their album “In Rainbows” on a pay-what-you-want scale. At the time, it was ground-shaking for the music industry. There was an outcry that Radiohead was disenfranchising smaller artists and turning its back on the industry that had treated it so well.
Today, pay-what-you-want is not so weird. Radiohead knew that a big percentage of their fans were going to download the music illegally anyway, thanks to the Internet. It turned out that bypassing the record label and letting fans pay what they thought was a fair price made both the artist and the audience feel as if they had participated in a cleaner, more satisfying transaction. And Radiohead’s income didn’t suffer.
This method seems to be working for games, too. Game bundles make it easy for creators to disseminate their product. Small titles get some Internet recognition, game lovers connect with new artists and buy games for cheap, and bundle organizers turn a profit. If it’s a charity bundle, like Humble Bundle or Greenlight Bundle, the experience gets even better. Want some proof that customers don’t need a fixed price tag to be generous? Humble Bundle, Inc. recently announced that it had earned enough money to bring daily clean drinking water to more than 3,000 people in Ethiopia. Overall, it has raised more than $29 million for its associated charities. Good job, gamers.
Want to learn more? You can keep up to date on current game bundles by checking websites like Indie Game Bundles.com or the Game Bundle subreddit. Each bundle organization has its own policies and practices, so be sure to check out their about pages and see where your money is going. No matter where you go, you’ll probably be getting an amazing deal.