Let’s start with some perspective. In 2010, the two Humble Indie Bundles generated around $3 million dollars and were able to donate $1 million of that total to charity. With a little word of mouth, a favorable internet attitude and some luck, Jeffrey Rosen and John Graham of Wolfire Games were able to shake up traditional sales models and build upon the pay-what-you-want models with their new way of delivering games to the masses.
Geoff and I listened to a talk the team gave at PAX last September, but their latest breakdown of their sales prowess included the second bundle that went on sale in September and clocked in $1.8 million of the total sales between both projects.
Their second bundle proved that the first instance wasn’t just a flash in the pan or another event on which one could hang the label of “the perfect storm.” The first bundle, which took the press (even ourselves) a moment to catch on to, ended up selling 130,000 copies. The second bundle cracked 200 and landed on around 230,000 copies sold. The excitement surrounding the second bundle was enough to blast around $500,000 in sales in the first 24 hours.
While we’ve already been over some origins of the bundle, it’s notable to catch that Wolfire Games’ first attempt at such a project was their collaboration with Natural Selection 2 in which the two games bundled up to sell preorders. They pulled together over 1,600 people who paid $39.95 for the combo.
If you recall, the second Humble Indie Bundle didn’t include any games from Wolfire themselves. On this matter, they formed the company Humble Bundle, Inc. and accepted “tips” on behalf of their managing of the sale. Of all the funds diverted through the games in the second bundle, Wolfire Games earned around $133,000 for their work putting it all together.
Their swords were sharpened for the second bundle, because they knew the amount of traffic they may have to anticipate. On the second go-round, they had 70 instances of the Google App running so that nobody would crash the program or the servers while trying to nab their games. With a chat client that had them running 18 operators helping people through tech issues, this tiny team of independent developers achieved the kind of customer service that a major corporation could only dream of. These operators were faced with up to 30 chat sessions at a time seeing each and every problem through to its closure.
The bundles were unequivocally a success. That cannot be denied. And with the creation of the corporation Humble Bundle, Inc. we can foresee more bundles coming down the pipeline. Only time well tell which titles make it into the new package. The deal seems to be a success for the developers, the players and the organizers: the trifecta of good business.