The Humble Bundle has announced that it will change the operation of payment sliders in its store by removing the ability to donate all your consumption to charity and setting itself an average minimum cut of 15-30% (through Kotaku). The change will take effect “in mid-July.”
When you buy a bunch of games, e-books, or software in the Humble Bundle, you traditionally have the option to choose how much of your money goes to the Humble Bundle, the creator of the product you purchased, and to charity using the slider for everyone. These sliders stick around, but now they have a slightly smaller range.
The company justified the change in a blog post announcing their plans:
Why change after ten years? The PC store environment has changed significantly since we first launched the bundles in 2010, and we need to further develop it to stay on track. The upgrade will allow us to continue to provide great games, books and software at great prices while supporting important charitable initiatives with every purchase.
The humble Bundle committed first changing the operation of payments in April, stating that it would eliminate sliders altogether, limit donations to charity by 15 percent, and showcase a series of exchanges with “defined divisions that clearly show how much of your purchase supports Humble, publishers, and charity”. The users were critical idea of reducing donations while the Humble Bundle would be guaranteed to get a piece of every purchase, and the company eventually restored the planned changes and announced that it would explore other ways to improve payments. Thursday’s news is an option for the company.
The Humble Bundle became known for its flexible pay-what-you-want packages. The original shape of the sliders allowed the customer to kick more of their money into a developer or charity, including reducing the Humble Bundle cut to zero in favor of the other two. Humble said it would go after the planned change, with distributions varying according to bundles, but it expects to cut 15 to 30 per cent.
It makes sense that the cost of participating in game bundles would have increased some stores are like the Epic Games Store writing checks to give away the exclusive game for free, but it’s disappointing that the Humble Bundle has abandoned the somewhat more altruistic model it used to make its name.
Like someone who has used the Humble Bundle in the past to buy games, I wasn’t as attached to the sliders as the flexibility they represented – the idea that if I wanted to, I could know that all my money went to the people who might need it the most. Other stores like Itch.io allow you to send more money directly to developers, but the installation of the Humble Bundle was unique. Come mid-July, it’s just a little less flexible.