How to make a million dollars in pay-what-you-want — thoughts on the Humble Indie Bundle

Some thoughts1 on how the humble Indie Bundle managed to get more than 1.25 Million Dollars2 in one and a half weeks — more than one quarter of that from GNU/Linux users.

Let me repeat that: One quarter of the money came from GNU/Linux users. And the average GNU/Linux user paid almost twice as much for the game as the average Windows user.

How they did it? If I could give you a simple recipe which is certain to work for everyone, I might just hire up at Blizzard.

But I think a big part is that (from my view — and obviously from the view of others, too) they did everything right. And I mean everything:

  • The games are great.

  • The message the name “humble indie bundle” conveys is great.

  • You could pay whatever you want. From 1 cent to a million. The highest single contribution was 3,333.33$, with an average contribution of $9.17 over all platforms and $14.52 from the average GNU/Linux user3.

  • You could directly see how much money they made on the front page, along with an info about the average contribution, split by platform.

  • Normally each game would have cost 20$, so the average payment for all games also was a significant price drop.

  • They donated about one third to charitable organizations. The buyers could decide how much should go to whom.

  • Payment was easy via Paypal and others.

  • All games work on GNU/Linux, MacOSX and Windows out of the box.

  • Each game already had a community. The bundle bundled their impact so it went viral on Twitter,, facebook, etc.

  • They have clear and simple download links. Should I ever lose the games locally, I can just redownload them. If need be with wget.

  • They use no DRM or similar, so I can show the games to friends and won’t be troubled by use restrictions.

  • And on the last day they announced that for 4 of the 6 games the code would become free software if they would crack the 1 million dollar boundary. It took just over 16 more hours to raise additional 200,000$. And they followed up on their pledge with 2 games already freed and 2 more to follow as soon as the code is cleaned up.

To wrap it up: They did everything right, so almost everybody who saw it was delighted and there was nothing to break the viral network effects.

And I think that getting any one of these points wrong would have killed a major part of the network effect, because the naysayers are far stronger in the networking game than the fans.

Any foul trick would have cost them many fans, because someone would have been bound to find out and go viral with it.

  1. Originally written as comment to Why Games don't get ported to Linux...A game dev speaks

  2. Stats directly from the Website of the Humble Indie Bundle

  3. More exactly:

    • Total revenue: $1,273,593
    • Number of contributions: 138,812
    • Average contribution: $9.17
      • Windows: $8.05
      • MacOSX: $10.18
      • GNU/Linux: $14.52

Use Node:

⚙ Babcom is trying to load the comments ⚙

This textbox will disappear when the comments have been loaded.

If the box below shows an error-page, you need to install Freenet with the Sone-Plugin or set the node-path to your freenet node and click the Reload Comments button (or return).

If you see something like Invalid key: There is no @ in that URI! (Sone/search.html), you need to setup Sone and the Web of Trust

If you had Javascript enabled, you would see comments for this page instead of the Sone page of the sites author.

Note: To make a comment which isn’t a reply visible to others here, include a link to this site somewhere in the text of your comment. It will then show up here. To ensure that I get notified of your comment, also include my Sone-ID.

Link to this site and my Sone ID: sone://6~ZDYdvAgMoUfG6M5Kwi7SQqyS-gTcyFeaNN1Pf3FvY

This spam-resistant comment-field is made with babcom.

Inhalt abgleichen
Willkommen im Weltenwald!

Beliebte Inhalte

Draketo neu: Beiträge

Ein Würfel System news