Recently, over at indieroyale.com, there was a new Indie Bundle released, containing five indie titles for those of you looking for something a little different in your games library.  For those of you that have not heard of the Humble Indie Bundle before, its essentially a way of showcasing the best indie titles in a recent time, and available for a much reduced price.  There is a minimum price, as well as a suggested price.
And that’s what I want to talk about this week.

 

Indie Games: A New Frontier for the Games Industry

With the Fall Bundle wrapping up, I decided to go ahead an grab the 5 titles myself. I’m a big fan of some of the indie games featured in sales like this one, including Bastion, Penumbra, and Braid in particular. Indie games have a lot of personality to them that other games can’t necessarily afford to have. Psychonauts is a wacky, insane game, which is exactly what drew me to it. At the same time, I am sure that some people are turned off by the pure madness of that game.

During this fall bundle, there were 5 games I have never heard of before; To The Moon, Oil Rush, Blackwell Deception, AVSEQ, and Reprisal.  Normally, each of these games would cost me anywhere from $5 to $20 dollars on the Steam Store, with the exception of Reprisal, which isn’t available there. So, leaving that game aside, were I to buy these games individually, I’d be spending $45. When a Triple A game is $60, this isn’t a bad price for four games. The Indie Bundle suggest a price of $15 dollars, which as even better price for four games that, if you tend to like indie titles, are sure to be worth hours of fun.

Why then is the current minimum price $5.30? (as of Saturday, the 20th at Noon)

Why are we, as a community paying so little for a product that is worth so much more, and, more importantly, part of an industry that relies so heavily on our input?

Well, there are 3 reasons I can think of right now that you’d pay less that something is worth, all valid and all understandable. First is because you don’t have to. Why pay more than you need to for these games? $5.30 is the minimum you need to pay, so why not just pay that? You save money, and they get money. Everyone’s happy right? Second Reason is that you couldn’t get these games otherwise. Maybe you are on a tight budget, or only have an small allowance to use with your gaming purchases. Finally, maybe you are saving your money. You see a big title on the horizon (Assassin’s Creed III anyone?) that you are saving your money for, and you still want those 5 Indie titles, so you pay less than the recommended price.

All of these are entirely valid reasons, but I am now going to try an convince you to pay more for your next indie bundle through the power of statistics.

Still more than the Suggested Price…

As I mentioned before, $15 is still a steal. You’d normally pay upwards of $40 dollars for these games, so getting them for more than 50% off is awesome. But that isn’t a good enough reason to not pay $8.

Most people seem to like Indie games, and the industry relies on this kind of community support. The more we give them, the more they are going to be able to produce. I think it’d be worthwhile If we looked at the statistics of past Indie Bundles to really get a feeling for where the prices fell way back then.

Where do the past bundles stand on the idea of pay? Wouldn’t it be great if we could look at a series of charts, all detailing how much different people paid for their Humble Bundle’s, or even looking at what the average pay was per platform? We could really dig into the numbers and talk about what they mean!

Lucky for us, this data exists, provided by humblebundle.com themselves. There have been 17 Bundles (18 counting the current Fall Bundle), over a variety of platforms, some focus on one one developer, and other more general. The most popular bundle seems to have been The Humble Indie Bundle V, bringing in over 5 million dollars in total sales (and including one of my favorite games of all time, Bastion). So, for the purposes of this article, let’s focus there first.

The average purchase for the Humble Indie Bundle V was $8.53, but what is really interesting is looking at the difference in payments between PC, Mac and Linux purchasers. PC players paid an average of $7.98 for their bundle, a good half dollar below the average. However, it should be noted that the VAST majority of purchasers were indeed PC users. About 75% of the payments made for the Humble Indie Bundle V were for Windows users. Of the remaining 25%, about 20% were Mac users and the final 5% were used on Linux.

YAY! Statistics…

But here is where things get interesting. The average Mac user spent $9.99 on the Bundle, and the average Linux user  spent $12.50. All these different prices for the same group of 5 games. So, why is it that Mac and Linux users paid more than the PC users?

While I could make all sorts of jokes and jibes at Mac users for this, I’m instead going to focus on the Linux users for this one (because it works better for the point I’m going to make…). Also, I use to own a Mac (note: use to.), so any joke I would make would be fairly hypocritical…

While Linux does tend to be a platform with a lot of free programs, it also has a far greater emphasis on community support and creation than Windows or Mac. Linux thrives on people helping each other out and speaking strange languages I don’t understand, or so the stereotype goes. The Linux community thrives when people help each other out and chip in, either through money or with time and effort.

And it is not as if this is an isolated incident. In every single one of the Humble Bundles, The average Linux price is the highest of all three,  the Mac price falls in the middle, and the PC price is always the lowest, but always the source of the most purchases.

Humble Bundle V = Truly Epic

(As an aside, check out the site and look at the Top Contributors. The fact that Notch is a consistent contributor makes me quite happy… as does the fact that the largest sum contributed was by @ HumbleBrony Bundle.  Of course the fact that there are people paying$ 10,000.00 for a bundle of 5 games throws of these statistics rather significantly, but the Humble Indie Bundle does represent something slightly more than simply five video games. )

So what is the bigger point of all this? Of course people are going to spend under the minimum on the future bundles that come out of Indie Royale’s insane ability to procure fantastic Indie titles for an adoring public. It is perhaps even safe to say that it is human nature to be thrifty. If that is the case, then consider this. If you are considering buying a humble Bundle in the future, or any sort of item being sold on a “Pay what you think it is worth” kind of scheme, consider raiding your sock drawer or searching under the car seats for a couple dollars more. Those are the kinds of dollars that really  matter in the Indie industry, and while someone on one of the three platforms will always be under the average (that is how averages work you know!), but maybe we can push that number a little bit higher.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.puresophistry.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Born in Maine, Educated in Canada, and forged on the Internet, Jacob is a proud gamer, unabashed nerd and writer. He received his degree in Classics from Mount Allison university and his love of stories and their meaning from countless hours reading Homer, playing old school RPG’s and studying Joseph Cambell. His one rule to live by? “Always dress as if you were going to give a speech.”[/author_info] [/author]