Just a day or so ago, I came across yet another indie bundle being sold on the interwebs. It seemed like just a week before I had spied another small bundle, and after sifting through my e-mail account, my suspicion was confirmed. It seems like the indie gaming community has gone a bit bundle crazy, which immediately raised the question “is it possible to have too many indie game bundles/sales?”. The answer, surprisingly, was “YES”.
Ages ago, back in the days when Steam didn’t feature Mac games and Love was still a new thing, the Humble Indie Bundle graced the warm light of Earth. Conjured by Wolfire Games and featuring five games for a pay-what-you-want price, the debut raised over one million USD, a large chunk of which went to charity. Since then, the Humble crew has unleashed two more bundles, raising almost two million more dollars in the process.
With the magic of pay-what-you-want and indie gaming bundles unleashed, everybody’s hitching their trailer to that wagon hoping to score a few sales. The Humble folks have kept it such, taking their time between bundles to let everyone’s wallets cool down. That’s not stopping other studios from organizing their own bundles, though. And, while indie games are great, discounts are even greater, and I want indie developers to succeed at what they do, there’s a certain magic to creating demand for a product, and flooding the web with bundles doesn’t exactly do that.
Before, when the Humble Bundle was new, I was delighted to see a new indie sale. Now, though, I see a bundle and I almost immediately avert my eyes. Interestingly, my negative association is attached to the word “bundle”, and only that word. Several games have gone pay-what-you-want since the success of the Humble Bundle and the World of Goo sale, and for those, I still feel a certain amount of glee. But when another bundle is announced, there is no fanfare, and I feel no impetus to tell my friends about it.
Note to indie developers: I love you guys. Seriously, every single one of you. But you’re starting to flood potential players with bundles and are killing the value of your games and of sales. Be a little more creative with your marketing tactics and all will be forgiven! Note to the Humble Bundle folks: keep doing exactly what you’re doing, because you’re exempt!