Since the first Humble Indie Bundle launched to much acclaim in 2010, users have been able to allocate up to 100 percent of a bundle’s pay-what-you-want purchase price to Humble’s partner charities. That option will be going away in mid-July as the company institutes a new 15 to 30 percent minimum cut that will go to the storefront itself.
If that new policy sounds familiar, it’s probably because of a test Humble Bundle in April that hid the charity sliders from some customers as a form of early user testing. In light of negative feedback, Humble Bundle apologized for not being “more proactive in communicating the test.” But at the time, the company also said it was planning to limit total charity donations to 15 percent of the user-set purchase price in the near future.
By May, though, Humble Bundle backtracked and said it was leaving the charity sliders intact and turning them back on for all customers “while we take more time to review feedback and consider sliders and the importance of customization for purchases on bundle pages in the long term.”
Today, that review seems to be over, and Humble Bundle has once again decided to set limits on the proportion of payments users can allocate to charity (though at a higher level than it publicly mulled back in April). In a blog post Thursday, the Humble Bundle team attributed the 15 to 30 percent minimum store cut (which will vary from bundle to bundle) to the fact that “the PC storefront landscape has changed significantly since we first launched bundles in 2010, and we have to continue to evolve with it to stay on mission.”
Humble Bundle says customers can still adjust their specific charitable giving within these new limits, and on-screen sliders will make any minimums clear. The team also argues that ensuring Humble Bundle itself makes some money from every bundle sale will “[let] us continue to invest in more exciting content so we can keep growing the Humble community, which will ultimately drive more donations for charitable causes.”
“… I would consider that a success”
When the Humble Indie Bundle launched back in 2010, bundle co-creator Jeffrey Rosen of Wolfire Games was clear that he considered the option for users to give all their payments to charity a feature, not a bug. “Even if no one donates to the developers and they give 100 percent to charity, I would consider that a success,” he told Ars Technica at the time.
In 2013, EA donated its entire share of the proceeds from the first Humble Origin Bundle to charity, using the offering as a PR promotion more than a direct money-maker. Humble Bundle says it will also continue to occasionally offer “100% charity” bundles, such as the recent Humble Heal COVID-19 Bundle. Humble Bundle says it has raised almost $200 million in charitable donations since it first launched.
While Humble Bundle initially launched as a true “pay-what-you-want” offering, most of the company’s bundles have long limited what’s included unless you pay a minimum price. The company has also expanded over the years to include direct, set-price game sales through the Humble Store, a Humble Choice subscription plan that offers a curated selection of games each month, and direct game publishing under the Humble Games label.
Humble Bundle was acquired by gaming and media conglomerate IGN in 2017.
Listing image by Humble Bundle