Humble Bundle has announced that it’s going to change how payment sliders will work in its storefront by removing the ability to donate all of what you spend to charity and setting an average minimum cut for Humble Bundle itself between 15 to 30 percent (via Kotaku). The change goes into effect in “mid-July.”
When you buy a bundle of games, ebooks, or software on Humble Bundle, you’re traditionally given the option to choose how much of your money goes to Humble Bundle, the creator of what you’re buying, and a charity via a slider for each. Those sliders are sticking around, but now they’ll have a bit less range.
The company justified the change in a blog post announcing its plans:
Why change after ten years? 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. The update will allow us to continue to offer great prices on amazing games, books and software all while supporting important charitable initiatives with every single purchase.
Humble Bundle first committed to changing how payments would work in April, announcing it would eliminate sliders completely, cap donations to charity at 15 percent, and introduce a series of toggles “with defined splits that clearly show what amount of your purchase will support Humble, publishers, and charity.” Users were critical of the idea of shrinking donations while Humble Bundle would have been guaranteed to get a piece of every purchase, and the company ultimately rolled back its planned changes and announced it would explore other ways to improve upon payments. Thursday’s news is the company’s alternative.
Humble Bundle became well-known for its flexible pay-what-you-want bundles. The original form of sliders allowed a customer to kick more of their money towards the developer or a charity, including reducing Humble Bundle’s cut to zero in favor of the other two. Humble said going forward after its planned change, splits will vary on bundles, but it expects to take a cut somewhere between 15 to 30 percent.
Sliders don’t matter, but flexibility does
It makes sense that the cost of getting games to participate in bundles would have gone up, with some storefront’s like the Epic Games Store writing checks to give away exclusive games for free, but it is disappointing that Humble Bundle has backed away somewhat from the more altruistic model it made its name on.
As someone who’s used Humble Bundle to buy games in the past, I wasn’t as attached to sliders as I was the flexibility they represented — the idea that if I wanted to, I could know all of my money was going to the people who might need it most. Other stores like Itch.io allow you to send more money to developers directly, but Humble Bundle’s setup was unique. Come mid-July, it’ll just be a little less flexible.